Embroidery Library

Freestanding Lace Tea Set

Dress up your next tea party with a charming freestanding lace set. Round and oval doilies provide elegant resting spots for a teapot, sugar bowl, creamer, and saucers. Embroidered with cotton thread, this ensemble is warm, hearty, and soft.

And, add lace edging to linen napkins, and then wrap the napkin in a cuff for a wonderful addition to a place setting. Read the project instructions below for more details!

Supplies needed:

**Water-Soluble Stabilizer
**Cloth napkins
**Paper Towels
**Needle and thread for some hand-sewing


Designs Used:
Lace English Tea Set - Lg

Special Project Notes:

You can use either 40 weight rayon thread or 30 � 35 weight cotton thread. 

I use Coats and Clark 30 and 35 weight cotton thread. It's labeled as Mercerized ELS Cotton for Machine Quilting & Crafts; Machine Quilting; or All Purpose. I find Coats and Clark cotton thread at JoAnn's. I've also used Madeira Cotona, which is a 30 weight cotton thread.

I use the 30 - 35 weight cotton thread both in the bobbin (I wind my own bobbins) and in the top (needle).

A note about water-soluble stabilizers and needles:

There are many, many different brands of water-soluble stabilizer available. Some are thin and light, some are fibrous, and some are thick and heavy. It can be confusing to pick the right one for your lace project.

We've digitized and stitched thousands of freestanding lace designs, and have consistently excellent results with Sulky Ultra Solvy (the heavy weight water-soluble stabilizer by Sulky) and Vilene, a fibrous water-soluble stabilizer. We order Vilene from www.pointetopointe.com.

Use a sharp needle (as opposed to an embroidery needle) when embroidering onto water-soluble stabilizer - especially if using the "plastic-looking" kind (such as Sulky Ultra Solvy). An embroidery needle has a larger point, which makes larger holes in the water-soluble stabilizer, leading to tearing and misalignment.


These project instructions show you how to embroider freestanding lace, with special emphasis on adding lace edging to a linen napkin, and making a napkin cuff.

Hoop one piece of water-soluble stabilizer (WSS). We use Sulky Ultra Solvy.

(To see Kenny testing different brands of WSS, and to see how each holds up when used for freestanding lace, click here.)

Because freestanding lace is two-sided, and both sides of the embroidery will be seen, wind a bobbin with the same thread that you'll be using in the needle.

Embroider the designs.  We use a size 11 sharp needle when embroidering free-standing lace.

The napkin cuff is available as one single design, and it's also available in two pieces for working in smaller hoops. If you're working with the smaller pieces, embroider one left and one right piece for the cuff.

After each design has finished, unhoop the stabilizer and cut away the excess WSS. Trim as close to the embroidery as possible, without cutting any of the stitches.

Set the scraps of WSS aside -- you can make spray starch with them later, if you wish.

(If you are working with the cuff in one piece, skip this step.)

Sew both pieces of the napkin cuff together using a zig-zag stitch.

Soak the WSS away according to the package instructions.

If using Sulky Ultra Solvy, soak in hot tap water for about 15 minutes.

Blot the excess water away with a paper towel, and allow lace to dry completely.

Bring the two ends of the cuff together, and with a needle and thread, sew them together.

Next, we'll add edging to a linen napkin. To do this, we chose to embroider the lace border with thread that closely matches the napkin's color, giving a tone-on-tone effect.

The size of our napkin allowed us to add three of the large borders to each side.

Once you have determined how many borders you'll need to embroider, follow the same steps as above: embroider onto WSS, soak away, allow to dry. Then, pin them in place on the napkin.

Using a zipper foot and a straight stitch, sew the lace to the napkin.

Roll the napkin, and slide the cuff over it. A beautiful addition to any place setting!

Click here for a printable version of these project instructions.

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Products used in this Project:

A English Tea Set (Lace) Design Pack $13.20 - $14.45

Available in 2 Sizes:

5.89" x 8.03" | 4.87" x 6.86"

A Valentine's Day (Lace) Design Pack $17.19 - $18.19

Available in 2 Sizes:

5.88" x 8.31" | 4.83" x 6.84"