How to Machine-Embroider Freestanding Lace Napkin Ringscomments (6) November 1st, 2008
Here's an easy way to add some elegance to your table setting without a major overhaul. Lace napkin rings are quick and easy—just import the design into your embroidery machine and push a button. You don't have to baby-sit the machine because these snowflakes stitch out in one color on a double layer of wash-away stabilizer.
What you'll need:
- Freestanding lace embroidery design (I downloaded my snowflake from Criswell Embroidery and Design)
- Wash-away stabilizer such as Aqua Mesh from OESD
- Embroidery thread of your choice
- Metallica needle size 12
- Hand-sewing needle
- Embroidery machine and the smallest hoop your design will fit in
- Embroidery software if you own it—you can easily customize your design on the computer and then transfer it to your machine
There is one challenge when you are embroidering freestanding lace—that's finding a design that's truly freestanding. If you get your designs from a company that has a reputation for digitizing good-quality freestanding lace designs, it's easy. I think one of the best is Criswell Embroidery and Design. Their K-Lace designs always hold together after the stabilizer is washed away. The snowflake design I used for my napkin rings was a free download!
If you find a lace design elsewhere, it may be excellent...or it may fall apart when you rinse the stabililizer away. The problem is that it's hard tell by just looking at it. I purchased a beautiful mesh lace edging design from embroideryonline.com. It looked like freestanding lace, but it fell apart when I soaked out the stabilizer.
If you fall in love with a lace design and it doesn't hold its shape when it's stitched on wash-away stabililzer, you always have the option to embroider on netting or organza. Both of these can be trimmed away so that they give the appearance of freestanding lace.
To make these napkin rings, I had to put together a few snowflakes to make a row that I could form into a ring. I imported the snowflake design into my embroidery software—you can also arrange individual motifs into a row on the screen of your embroidery machine.
Then I used the copy/paste features to link together the individual snowflakes to create a long enough rectangle to form a napkin ring. I ended up linking three snowflakes together. If you are using a different design or if you would like to find a rectangle all ready to go, it should be approximately 7 to 7-1/2 inches long.
Thread your machine and wind a bobbin with the same embroidery thread. Use a size 12 metallica needle. Hoop two layers of wash-away stabilizer such as Aqua Mesh. Position the hoop on your machine. I was able to fit two napkin rings side by side in the hoop. Embroider the designs.
Trim away as much stabilizer as you can...neatly around the edges of your embroidery without snipping the stitches.
Fill a large bowl with room-temperature water. Hot water will dissolve the stabilizer faster, but you run the risk of shrinking the thread and distorting your design. Stick your trimmed embroideries into the bowl.
Take the snowflakes out of the water and allow them to dry on a clean, dry towel.
When the thread is almost dry, press them with a hot iron, using a press cloth. Pin the ends of the snowflakes together to form a ring. Hand-stitch the ends together using a short piece of embroidery thread to form a ring.
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