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How to assemble large Standalone Lace

Introduction

As you surely know, we're limited with hoop size, and can only embroider one relatively small design at a time. That's why we've developed two special types of Free-Standing Lace Designs that work like LEGO. This means that you can create large projects, by embroidering separate lace designs that fit each other, and can be easily assembled into huge and impressive laces. The first type of lace designs is with straight edges, like in our Dantela Lace for Table set. Here you may see a gorgeous placemat with those designs
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
Of course, the same technique will work with any other lace designs digitized in similar way, and we're adding more lace sets constantly.
Second, there's an even better technique that works with lace designs with "curved" connection edges.
This is a very interesting method because it allows making huge laces from multiple parts, in such a way that it's almost impossible to notice that it's LEGO, when looking at the finished project. To outside person such item looks like a singe design. It's almost impossible to notice the connection.
You may take a look at a lovely Irish style guest towel with lace border from Shamrock lace designs set, created using this method. The border artwork was too long for a normal 5x7 hoop, we've divided it into 2 parts and digitized them in a very special way.
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
Supplies & Suggestions:
Make sure you have the following items at your disposal:
1. Water-soluble backing.
We highly recommend fabric-type water-soluble stabilizer, because it "sits" better in hoop during the embroidery process, and practically doesn't stretch. As a result, lace designs come out much better than with film-type WSB.
2.Top quality polyester machine embroidery thread & polyester bobbin thread, in identical color.
With lace designs, using strong thread is very important; because laces are stitch intensive and breaking thread will drive you crazy in no time. Also, thread breaks can cause the laces to unravel later.
Your thread also mustn't be stretchy. Threads sold by a couple of certain well-known brands tend to stretch a lot. Be careful, because lace designs will loose their shape if you use stretchy thread. Test your thread on one design to make sure it's suitable for lace, before you embroider tens of lace pieces and "find it out".
Whenever possible, we use ThreaDelight Matching Bobbins & Top Polyester Thread for making lace designs. It works great. If your machine accepts L-size prewound bobbins - get yourself matching color thread kit right away, because it'll save you plenty of time and trouble, and your laces will look beautiful on both sides.
If you want to make especially soft and thin laces - you may use 60-wt bobbin threads on both top & bottom sides. We've tried this and the effect is awesome.
3. A piece of quality fabric that sews well. Make sure it's not stretchy, not slippery, and doesn't unravel easily. Cotton or linen-cotton blend may be a good choice.
4. Prepare a pair of sharp scissors, some sewing pins, textile pencil and of course, lace designs.
Warnings & Tips:
1. NEVER resize lace designs. Most chances are that you'll ruin them completely. They are very sensitive to precision. While regular design may resize ok, a resized lace design will most probably fall apart after you wash away the water-soluble backing.
2. If you have new supplies (thread, stabilizer) - try them out first on one small test design, to see if everything is ok. Stitch it, wash away the water soluble and dry - just to see that your backing and thread are working well together. Only then continue with your main project.
3. Sometimes, especially with dense lace designs, it may be difficult to sew them together using embroidery machine. If you see it's the case - just stitch them on manually.
Embroidering & Assembling Lace Elements with Plain Edges
In this tutorial you'll learn to make relatively complex lace projects that include multiple lace elements with straight edges, which must be assembled together.
As a result of reading through this article, you should be able to make any project similar to this lovely Dantela lace placemat:
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
If you take a very close look at the photo, you may notice that the lace frame around the placemat consists of several pieces. They have all been embroidered separately (due to hoop size limits). Then they've been assembled together and attached to fabric base. The same applies to oval lace decoration in the middle. It was embroidered and then sewn onto the fabric base.
Because the lace frame consists of corner and border elements, naturally you can make it larger or smaller by inserting more (or less) border elements. You decide about the size, and it's possible to make very large projects this way. Just be sure to start from something small, to practice before you continue with larger items.
This project was created using Dantela Lace designs in antique Italian style.
Detailed Instruction for Making The Placemat:
1. Embroider all lace designs that you will need for assembling the project, using 2-3 layers of water-soluble fabric, on lowest speed your machine allows.
The number of Water-Soluble Stabilizer layers depends on type of backing you use, and on design density; for Dantela lace designs we've always used 2 layers of fabric WSB
Attention: It may seem to you that one layer of strong WSB is enough. Yet, many machines start breaking thread terribly, when only one layer on WSB is used. We've noticed that often an extra layer of water-soluble just solves this problem. So avoid trying to save an extra layer, even if your WSB is very strong. And if you still see many thread breaks with 2 layers - try to add a third one.
It's best to embroider each section in separate hoop. For each design, try to pick up the smallest suitable hoop you can.
Make sure that hooped WSB can't move, even slightly. If your hoop is far from perfect, and holds fabric badly - consider purchasing a new hoop with special metal spins. This is quite a small expense that can take your embroidery to a totally new level. Most machine dealers now carry those wonderful new hoops with spins. As a temporary solution, you can wrap a paper towel around one hoop frame, to add friction and prevent your backing from moving.
After you've stitched all lace pieces, cut away large edges of water-soluble backing around each design, leaving about 1 inch from each side. Position the laces on plain surface in correct order, like this:
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
WHILE THE WSB STILL THERE, position all lace pieces PRECISELY like they should be on finished project, and attach them together, using sewing pins:
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
3. Sew all pieces together on your sewing machine (use zigzag stitch).
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
4. When all frame details are attached, wash away the water-soluble fabric.
Be sure to wash it away carefully, without stretching or deforming the lace. If you want the lace to be as soft as possible - you may even leave the item in warm water for half an hour or so, to make all water soluble substance go away.
Once the backing dissolves, position the lace symmetrically on plain surface covered by a towel, and straighten the lace with your fingers, to make sure it gets back to it's ideal shape. Any deformation will be especially noticeable on item that must be symmetric, so be thorough and careful when performing this step.
Let the lace dry. You may use iron & towel to speed up the process.
Attention: it's a good idea to wash away the backing at this early step ONLY in certain cases. For example, this placemat project is large and it is easier to continue working with it without the backing. In other cases, it may be better to sew the lace parts to fabric while WSB is still there, and wash away the backing only when the project is assembled completely.
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
5. Position the lace border over fabric base, mark the inside edges on fabric using disappearing textile pencil, and cut away the edges leaving about 1/2 inch allowance around the marks, and pin the lace to fabric base.
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
6. Sew the lace frame onto the fabric base, using regular running stitch. Use same thread color like on the design top. Use invisible thread ONLY if you have absolutely no choice.
We've also noticed that 60wt bobbin thread works much better for this purpose than regular 40wt embroidery thread. That's another reason to use prewound color bobbins in same color like your top thread. You can then use the bobbin on top, when sewing the lace to fabric base.
Repeat steps 4 to 6 with the lace medallion decoration.
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
7. Cut away the excess fabrics edges, and finish the edges on your sewing machine, using small and relatively dense zigzag stitch, in following manner:
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
8. Ready!
If you'd like to get Dantela Table Lace, stabilizer or thread used in this project - please visit these links:
Embroidering & Assembling Lace Elements with Curved Edges
In this tutorial you'll learn to connect lace designs that consist of 2 or more parts with curved edges. You'll also learn to attach the ready laces to garments.
As a result of reading through this article, you should be able to make any project similar to this Irish stile guest towel:
How to Assemble Large Standalone Lace
Even if you examine the photo very carefully, it's impossible to tell that this lace border consists of 2 pieces. Yet, it does. We've divided it into two parts because it's too long for regular 5x7 hoop. And it's designed in such a way that you can easily connect the parts after they're embroidered, and they will look like single design.
Below you'll learn to assemble this kind of "secret connect" laces.
This project was created using Shamrock Lace designs in Irish folk art style.