One of the fun and magical things that can be done with an embroidery machine is free-standing lace, or FSL, as it is referred to by stitchers and designers. It is like making something from nothing! The FSL style that I have seen the most from embroidery file designers is similar to Venice Lace. Unlike traditional Venice lace made of rayon thread, I stitched mine with polyester thread from Metro.
I showed my eleven-year-old daughter a new design by Sonia Showalter for barefoot sandals. My kiddo loves to dance around the house and practice things she learns at ballet class so I knew she would love these! She requested white! I was a little afraid that these would have a bridal look so I convinced her to let me use silver beads instead of white ones. Because I was using white thread, I used my regular white pre-wound bobbins, instead of having to wind my own in matching thread.
To start, I opened the file in Embrilliance and placed an upload of the file on the virtual hoop. I copied the design and turned it around so that two would fit on a single 5x7 hoop. I hooped two layers of Vilene (fibrous water soluble stabilizer), per Sonia's instructions, and stitched directly on that. (I use a Brother PE-770 single needle machine).
While it stitched, I started adding beads to headpins to make dangling accents. To do this, you need headpins, beads, round-nose pliers, and wire cutters. Mine are just from my stash, but you can find a mind-blowing collection of everything and much more at Fire Mountain Gems. To learn how to use headpins and beads for this project, you can check out this video on technique (click here).
My embroidery was finished before my beaded dangles were!
I removed the embroidered Vilene from the hoop and trimmed close around the lace. I gently rinsed the lace pieces under the faucet until I could no longer see the Vilene. (I could tell there was still a bit of the Vilene in the fibers because it was sticky but it was invisible so I left it to help keep some body. I thought these would need that to support the beads.) I left them to dry flat.
Once dry, they are ready to adorn and no longer sticky.
I finished my beading, making one long beaded headpin for the center of each.
I added all the ornaments using split jump rings. The only thing to remember about jump rings is to open the rings by pushing each side in opposite directions, never by pulling them open.
I used baby yarn that I had on hand to add ties. I used simple knots to attach the ties.
I kept the ties intentionally long so that I could try them on my daughter then trim later. My daughter wears a ladies size 7 shoe, and this file will work for children or adults, but I wanted to be sure I had the toe attachment right and enough length on the ties.
I added beads to the yarn by using a large, blunt-tip needle.
After my initial trial on the toe attachment, my little ballerina did a relevé and the stress untied the knot so I made that a bit longer, knotted twice, and left a longer tail. It ended up being 2-1/4" to the knot.
This was my final piece (one barefoot sandal!) The two pieces are identical in every way.
List of Links Shared in this Post:
Metro Thread: click here.
Sonia Showalter Barefoot Sandals and More embroidery file: click here.
Vilene: click here.
Guide to Jewelry-making hand tools and source for beads: click here.
Video how-to on using headpins and beads to make a dangling-style accent: click here.
Thank you for checking my blog post today! To see all of my notes, links to past embroidery projects and tutorials, links to my supplies and where I got them, you are invited to check out my embroidery page by clicking the tab a the top of my blog called "Embrilliance Software and Machine Embroidery" or click here. To see most of my paper projects, check out my Paper Gallery (or click here).