Here at the Embroidery Legacy, we have a special relationship with free standing lace because it’s how our company began back in the 1950s. During that period in my great-grandparents’ embroidery factory, our free standing lace designs were manually crafted one stitch at a time by European Schiffli Masters.

Originally crafted for the wedding and bridal industry, our free standing lace designs are both elegant and soft to the touch. Today, we are one of the only companies that offers authentic vintage free standing lace designs that’ll run on your modern embroidery machine. They’re truly a piece of embroidery history 

Embroidery Legacy Free standing Lace Wedding Dress

Our free standing lace designs used to create a wedding dress by one of our amazing fans

Schiffli Master Embroidering Free Standing Lace Embroidery Designs

How our lace was crafted in the 1950s

Our 1950s Vintage Free Standing Lace Embroidery Designs

Our lace & heirloom designs were initially saved on paper drafts and stored deep in the walls of our family’s embroidery factories for almost 50 years. When commercial embroidery moved overseas in the early 1990s, we shut down our industrial factories and stumbled upon the original paper drafts. What a blessing!

We later re-digitized and converted these paper drafts into modern-day embroidery design formats to allow them to run on your home embroidery machine.

Click here to view our entire collection of free standing lace designs now.

Our Most Popular Free Standing Lace Embroidery Designs

We have 500 authentic vintage free standing lace designs, and unfortunately, we’re not making more of them. If you do want access to our entire collection of authentic free standing lace designs, plus close to 30,000 other embroidery designs, be sure to check out our Embroidery Legacy Design Club today.

Our Top Tips when Embroidering Free Standing Lace Designs

Freestanding Lace Design Sewing
Freestanding Lace Sew Out
  • Use a pre-wound bobbin to match the color of the thread you’re using.
  • Slow your machine speed down.
  • For a noticeably softer feel, be sure to use rayon embroidery thread as it is not a synthetic thread like polyester. Keep in mind, if the lace design was not digitized properly, this may cause numerous thread breaks as rayon is not as strong of a thread as polyester.
  • When running the lace through warm water to dissolve away the stabilizer, use a tiny bit of hair conditioner & gently massage it into the lace. The hair conditioner will give it an even softer feel.
  • If you’d like to learn how to embroider continuous free standing lace, click here

What is Free Standing Lace for Machine Embroidery?

If you’re new to machine embroidery, you may have heard the term free standing lace (sometimes cut down to “FSL” on social media).

Compared to regular lace, which must be sewn directly onto a garment or a piece of fabric, free standing lace is sewn on water-activated dissolve away stabilizer which you’ll later run under warm water & the stabilizer will vanish! Leaving nothing but a self-supported lace design made up & held together only by embroidery threads!

What Can I Use Free Standing Lace Embroidery Patterns For?

Historically speaking, free standing lace always carried a certain degree of sophistication with it. Due to its delicate nature, it has always been a perfect fit to complement the female figure on clothing. One of lace’s most famous uses, of course, is being sewn onto a wedding dress. However, lace doesn’t always have to appear in such a formal fashion. It also looks great on t-shirts, jeans, jackets, and tons of other wearable items.

Free standing lace patterns are also a great way to add some elegance to your home. Whether it be a tablecloth, clothes hanger, or even a pillow, free standing lace can add a touch of class to almost anything:

Within the past decade or so, “In-the-hoop projects” have become very popular. Because of this, lace designs today (although not always free standing) are used to create a variety of items such as free standing lace earrings, Christmas ornaments, 3D angels, and more. Click here to browse our library of in-the-hoop project designs.

Tutorial on How to Embroider Free Standing Lace Designs for Best Results

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you enjoyed that video for tons of other great embroidery how-to videos. Now if you prefer written instructions, we have those as well here for you:

1. Hoop a piece of water-soluble backing (i.e dissolve-away / wash-away stabilizer)

hooping water soluable backing

2. Embroider the free standing lace pattern onto the backing.

embroidery fsl on backing

3. Remove from hoop & cut as closely to lace as possible without cutting into stitching.

remove lace from hoop

4. Hold lace under warm water. The water stream should be gentle, rinse until all residue is removed.

rinse lace with water

5. Lay lace on a towel and gently pat dry. Let air dry or hasten the process by using a hairdryer on low setting.

pat lace dry

That’s it. Congratulations, you’ve just embroidered your first piece of free standing lace!

How Can I Create My Own Free Standing Lace Embroidery Designs?

Although digitizing lace seems like a challenge, it can be done with the right education and teacher!

You can experience an old-school digitizing lesson from one of the last Schiffli Masters, John Deer! John will take you by the hand and teach you how to manually digitize your own beautiful free standing lace patterns. This is the ultimate mapping exercise that will replicate the tools and thought process of how true free standing lace was mechanically digitized decades ago.

Click here to learn how to digitize free standing lace now.

Conclusion: Start Embroidering Free Standing Lace to Add Some Elegance to Your Projects

You now know what free standing lace is, where to use it, how to embroider it and where to find some of the best free standing designs in the world (keep in mind, I may be a bit biased).

If you’ve never tried our free standing lace before, click here to gain access and download one for free with our Free Embroidery Legacy Design Kit. Plus, if you haven’t already, be sure to checkout out Embroidery Legacy Design Club as well. It gives you access to our giant database of close to 30,000 embroidery designs (including our lace), custom project idea tutorials, new weekly releases, and more.

Happy stitching!