|Free-standing embroidery designs are
designs that can stand alone without
a foundation fabric. They are made on disappearing stabilizers, most
water-soluble ones. Usually FSL designs have dense underlay stitches,
support the embroidery. The crochet-style FSL designs are made to
crochet and do not have dense underlay stitches.
|Stabilizers: We strongly
recommend to use water-soluble mesh,
such as Vilene. Vilene D0102 is a non woven dissolvable stabilizer
is imported into the US, is sold in large rolls and is sometimes
under different brand names.
Some of these brand names are Fabri-Solvy by Sulky, Avalon Plus by
Madeira, Wash-Away, and Aqua Magic.
Film-like water soluble stabilizers, such as
Solvy by Sulky, Avalon
by Madeira, Badge Master, are not suitable for Free-Standing
The drawbacks of Vilene are that it leaves
lint, so clean the bobbin
case with a soft brush after every project. Also, dissolve it only in
water; in hot water, the chemicals in the mesh can cause the color of
thread to fade.
|Threads: We tested
crochet-style FSL designs using 40-weight
rayon and filament polyester from both Madeira and Isacord; 50-weight
and 60-weight spun polyester from Brother; 40- and 50-weight quilting
threads and 60-weight embroidery cotton threads of different
We personally liked the results we got with
embroidery cotton threads and 40-weight Signature machine quilting
|On the picture: Sample 1
is made using Isacord polyester: the
design deforms, stretches and does not keep its shape, some stitches
loose; we got the same result with all filament polyester threads. We
NOT recommend using filament polyester for crochet.
Sample 2 is made using Madeira's rayon: this looks better, but still
streches and some stitches are loose;
Sample 3 is made using "Country Yarn", the 60-weight Brother spun
with matte finish: the sample keeps its shape well and looks like real
crochet. Sorry to say, this product is discontinued by the
But if you still have its supply you can use it for crochet.
We liked most the samples we made
using 60-weight mercerised cotton.
We used different brands, Mettler and Clark & Coats, among
100% cotton machine quilting threads also give good results. We liked
most of all.
If you like, you can try different cotton
threads yourself and choose
which you like best. Our free sample can be downloaded at the end of
This sample is of 60-weight Mettler cotton embroidery thread.
|It's very important to
use the SAME thread for the needle
thread and bobbin thread when embroidering crochet-style FSL.
|Needles: We use size
80/12 embroidery needles and 80/12 metallic
needles. Our experience shows that cotton thread used with metallic
gives less lint. The needles should be sharp, so it's advisable to
them after every project.
|Hooping: We use 1 layer
of water-soluble Vilene with our crochet-style
FSL designs. It's very important to hoop the stabilizer very tightly,
a drum skin. If your hoop does not hold the thin layer of
well, we recommend to wrap muslin strips around the long sides of your
hoop's upper frame.
|Impotant Note: It's very
important to use as small a hoop as
E.g. if your design is for a small hoop, use the small hoop, not the
one; if your design is for a large hoop, use large, not mega. The
the hoop, the more stable it is.
DO NOT try to embroider several FSL designs
in one hoop. Water-soluble
stabilizers have a tendency to stretch and in a larger hoop it will
more than in a smaller one. This can lead to misplaced stitches and the
design might fall apart after the stabilizer is dissolved. It's always
better to embroider one part at a time.
Freestanding lace designs look best when the
needle and bobbin threads meet halfway. Stitch a sample, and adjust the
tension if needed. Consult your machine's manual and/or dealer on how
|On the photo below you can see samples with
In the first sample the tension of the threads is incorrect.
In the second sample the different threads were used in the needle
and in the bobbin.
|Most Importantly: ALWAYS
make a test stitch-out of the design.
This helps you to select the threads, needles, stabilizers and settings
of your machine correctly.
|Step One: Download the
design, and unzip the file.
Size: 80.2mm x 80.9mm
|Step Two: Upload the
design into your machine. DO NOT re-size
the design, it will lead to deformation of the design.
|Step Three: Thread the
needle and the bobbin. Use the SAME threads
for the needle and for the bobbin.
|Step Four: Hoop a layer
of water-soluble Vilene and insert the
hoop into your machine. Stitch out the design. This is a test
|Step Five: Take the
sample out of the hoop, cut away the excess
stabilizer and rinse the remaining stabilizer away with warm water. Lay
flat, spread and leave to air dry. Press with steam. If you're
with the sample, you can now embroider your project.
When you embroider designs for a project, DO
NOT dissolve the stabilizer.
Leave all the designs with the stabilizer until after you assemble the
Note: Do not rinse the
stabilizer with hot water! The hotter
the water, the faster the stabilizer dissolves, BUT hot water may
in unwanted side effects such as shrinkage of the fabric and cotton
or running of the dyes.
Read also Assembling
crochet-style FSL Designs into a Project
to Tutorials Page