How to sew Free Standing Lace also known as FSL by There really is nothing hard about it once you know the basics and have the right equipment. The fsl lace design we will be sewing is an earring design from Talking about designs – make sure the design you use is a free standing lace design. If you use a lace design that is not specified as free standing lace the lace will fall apart when you dissolve the soluble stabiliser. Even some lace designs that are sold as free standing lace have not been digitised properly and are just awful when stitched out. So now you have your design we will go through the equipment. You obviously have an embroidery machine!! After that you will have to have the right needle or the thread will keep breaking and/or the stabiliser will tear. I have found the best needle to use is a 75/11. Make sure you put a NEW needle in the machine. Otherwise you can find the needle has a small burr (too small to be seen) that will create slight tears in the stabiliser leading to movement and gaps in your work. For this project I am using size 90/14 needles as they work better for metallic threads. 1 Depending on what FSL you are sewing it is usually best to use a matching coloured thread in the bobbin. You don’t have to do this if the other side of your embroidery won’t be seen but if your tension is not perfect the bobbin thread can show through. Also if the lace design is fine it is more likely the bobbin thread will be seen. If you really want to use the basic white or black you could do a small test piece first. 2 Now you need to hoop some soluble stabiliser in the hoop. I’m afraid when using soluble stabiliser for FSL there is no escaping quality. I have tried to use the cheaper versions without any success at all. I have even tried to use three sheets of the stuff and it still tears and moves. 3 After you have purchased your soluble stabiliser it is time to hoop it up. The idea is to get it as taught as possible. Then tighten the screw on your hoop as tight as you can. This will stop the stabiliser moving and ruining your FSL. That’s really it for any special equipment needed. I told you it was easy didn’t I!! Now just select your design, load the design to your machine and stitch away. FSL can take a while to stitch depending on the size of the piece as there are a lot of stitches in lace designs. I’m sure you can think of some other things to do while it is stitching. 4 This is the first stage where the foundation for the FSL is laid down. This is the important part of the digitising I told you about that holds the lace together. 5 Now the rest of the design is being stitched. You will need to change threads when the colour changes. 6 After the design has finished stitching remove the embroidery and stabiliser from the hoop. Trim away any excess stabiliser and rinse the lace under warm water. At this stage you can determine how stiff the lace will be when it dries. When the stabiliser looks like it has dissolved some can still remain in the lace which, when dry, makes the lace stiff. This can be a feature you want – say when you are making ornaments, baskets, earrings etc. 7 If you want softer lace you will need to rinse the FSL item for longer to ensure all the stabiliser is gone. You can usually tell if there is some remaining stabiliser by blotting the FSL on a towel and if the lace feels tacky if will dry stiff. 8 I find the best way to dry the lace is to place it flat on a towel or washer and put something flat on top of it. After it is dry you probably will have to trim a lot of threads if you sew more than one piece at a time. Use a small sharp pair of scissors. You are now finished your Free Standing Lace!!
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