These are instructions on how to embroider and assemble the Freestanding Battenberg Lace Christmas Ball Ornaments. The designs can be used as Christmas tree or room ornaments. They can also be used as inserts or shades on LED lamps.
The finished size of the first ornament is about 6" in diameter, while the second one is about 5".
Stabilizers: We recommend to use water-soluble mesh, such as Vilene. Vilene D0102 is a non-woven dissolvable stabilizer which is imported into the US, is sold in large rolls and is sometimes packaged 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 and Badge Master are not suitable for Free-Standing Lace embroidery.
Threads: The thinner the thread, the finer the final product will be. That is why for this project, we recommend machine quilting cotton thread, which gives bulk to the lace and makes it look hand-made.
Embroidery polyester thread will make very fine web-like lace.
Embroidery rayon thread is too soft, it does not keep its shape and often its color will fade under the influence of chemicals from the water-soluble mesh.
You can use 40-, 50- or even 60-weight cotton, and you can use it both in the bobbin and in the needle. If you use 40-weight cotton thread for the needle, you shoul use 50- or 60-weight cotton in the bobbin.
We used Signature machine quilting cotton thread both in the needle and in the bobbin, but similar threads from other companies should work just as well.
The drawback of cotton thread is lint. Please don't forget to clean the machine with a soft brush or compressed air after each embroidery.
To get two-sided embroidery, use threads of the same color in the needle and in the bobbin.
Needles: We use size 80/12 embroidery needles and 80/12 metallic needles. Our experience shows that cotton thread used with metallic needles gives less lint. The needles should be sharp, so it's advisable to change them often.
Most Importantly: ALWAYS make a test stitch-out and wash away the stabilizer. This helps you to select the threads, needles, stabilizers and settings of your machine correctly. It's very important to select the correct thread tension!
You can read more about how to embroider Battenberg lace in our tutorial.
Rinsing away the stabilizer is also an important step, because the lace can be stretched or distorted if this is done incorrectly. We recommend to use a foam board and stainless pins.
Cut away the excess stabilizer close to the stitches. Take your time and carefully pin every single loop on the lace's outer edge to the board.
Now place the board into a bowl with luke-warm water. Leave the board in the water for at least half an hour. Change the water a couple of times.
Take the board out of the water and leave to air dry. Do not unpin the lace until it's completely dry.
Making the Balls
Besides threads and stabilizer, you will need:
It's faster to sew the second ball. Connect the parts at the points marked in red: to get half of the ball. Sew the second half on the same way. Connect both halves.
Here what the second ball looks like after connecting all parts.
Slightly dampen the spheres. For this, you can use a spray bottle or a damp sponge. Insert a ballon through the central hole in one of the parts of the first ball, or through any hole on the second ball and blow it up.
Stop when your lace balloon is snug over the air balloon. Tie the air balloon off.
Place the scraps of watersoluble mesh into a bowl and add a little warm water to get a thick, pasty solution. Coat the lace with this solution and leave to air dry.
When they're dry, you can also spray the balls with craft glitter spray or hair spray.
If you like, you can also embellish the balls with crystals or pearls.
When all coats and the glue are dry, pop the balloons and carefully take them out.