Embroidering Free Standing Lace, plus FREE Dramatic Heart FSL Design

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Learn from two amazing embroiderers

Decorative and versatile Free Standing Lace is very popular among home embroiderers. You can create a nice piece of jewelry, decorative pieces for your home, apparel decorations and much more – there are many options.

What is Free Standing Lace?

Free Standing Lace designs are not stitched on fabric, but on water soluble stabilizer and when the stabilizer dissolves, all that is left is the thread. Beware however, not all embroidery designs are intended to be FSL, they have to be designed in a specific way.

FSL designs are usually denser than regular designs and are often held up using some form of underlay stitching, which acts as a type of stabilizer once the actual stabilizer is removed. Those underlay stitches prevent movement and distortion and are integral to free standing lace.

Caroline Critchfield's FSL Wall Art Project

Watch Caroline create a pretty FSL design using one of the fonts that are included with Hatch Embroidery Digitizer.

Read the complete blog article with step-by-step instructions on how she used this design to create a gorgeous wall art project. 

Needle and Thread

The type of needle and thread can vary. For most designs it is best to use a size 11 sharp needle to prevent unnecessary distress on your stabilizer and your lace. One of the standard threads such as rayon, cotton and polyester will do fine. The recommended weight is 40 for polyester and rayon and 30 for cotton. They are sturdy and will mesh aesthetically well with the lace patterns. Make sure that you use the same thread for your bobbin and needle. 


It is important that you use a proper stabilizer to create freestanding lace, as there is no base fabric for the lace to adhere to. We recommend 2 layers of mesh type water soluble stabilizer that is made of cornstarch. When the stabilizer dissolves it leaves a slight starchy residue behind that will hold up your lace nice and firm.

Embroidery Hoops

As usual, the type of machine embroidery hoop you use should reflect the size of the design you intend to work with. The rule of thumb is to go with the smallest sized hoop you can get away with. However, your design should still fit comfortably inside the hoop. Before you start embroidering, make sure you tighten the screws on your hoop to ensure your stabilizer does not move.

Stitching the Design

Once all your preparations are complete, you can move on to stitching out your design. Free standing lace designs do take a little bit longer because of the level of detail involved. For the most part, this will not be too difficult a process, however, make sure you do keep an eye on your design to prevent puckering or gathering of stitches.

Finishing Touches

Creating free standing lace takes a few more steps than usual as there are a couple of extra steps that are required.

After you are done with the embroidery portion and you removed your stabilizer, it is time to add the finishing touches. First, ensure that some of your stabilizer or stabilizer residue is left on your design. This will ensure your design is pliable but rigid enough to dry down to the right shape. 

How to Stitch Out Free Standing Lace with Sonia Showalter

Sonia is the master of FSL. Her designs are delicate, perfectly digitized and always stitch out beautifully. We are so proud that Sonia uses Hatch Embroidery Digitizer to create her gorgeous free standing lace designs.

In this video Sonia will show you tips on how to stitch out FSL designs and how to turn her Dramatic Heart free design into a one of a kind statement piece of jewelry.

Read the full article on Sonia.


Access the FREE Dramatic Heart FSL design by clicking the button below.

Please note: You will need to sign in or register a free account to be able to download the free design.

Once you registered an account, you will have unlimited access to ALL the free designs that are currently on the Hatch Embroidery website and future ones two. You will also automatically receive our newsletter about free projects and designs. You will NOT be requested to download the software. Having an account does not come with any obligations to you at all.

Did you find this article helpful or interesting? Please leave a comment below. We would love to hear your feedback!

Hatch Embroidery software products are in popular use in over 100 countries. It is time to join the global trend and give Hatch Embroidery a try! The 30-day Free Trial grants you unlimited use of all the amazing features and the 30-day Money Back Guarantee ensures that there is absolutely no risk involved.

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