Embroidery Library

3-D Lace - Santa's Flight


Create a dramatic new holiday decoration with Santa's Flight in 3-D Lace. It'll be spectacular on your mantle or as a centerpiece on the buffet or dining room table!

Santa and his eight trusty reindeer take flight in this 3-D freestanding lace project.

Follow the directions below to create this lovely ten-piece lace set. Then, with a bit of wire and magic, you can make the reindeer appear to be leaping into the air to fly above the roof tops.

The finished size for this project (using the large designs) is 27 1/2 inches long by approximately 5 1/2 inches high. If using the smaller pack, the finished size will be slightly smaller.

Supplies needed:

** Water-soluble stabilizer
** Paper towels
** Fabric glue
** 16-gauge colored wire
** Wire cutter/pliers
** Colorful pipe cleaners
** 2 yards of decorative cord


** Small ornaments and candy

Designs we used:

** A Santa's Flight (Lace) Design Pack - Large - Also available in Small (Both design packs contain freestanding lace designs to make three different reindeer, Santa, and his sleigh.)

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.


For each design, hoop one piece of water-soluble stabilizer (WSS). We used Sulky Ultra Solvy.

Kenny tested different brands of WSS to see which works best. Click here to see how different brands hold up when used to sew freestanding lace.

We embroidered eight reindeer (sewing a mix of the three,
3-piece reindeer designs in the pack), the 3-piece Santa design, and the 4-piece Sleigh design.

Because freestanding lace is two-sided, the bobbin thread should match the top thread for each design.

Wind a bobbin with the same thread that you'll be using in the needle for each design.

Attach the hoop to the machine, load the design, and embroider the design.

Note: We recommend a size 11 sharp needle when embroidering freestanding lace.

After each design has been embroidered, unhoop the WSS and cut away the excess.

Trim as close to the embroidery as possible without cutting any of the stitches.

Soak all of the designs in a container of hot tap water.

If you are using Sulky Ultra Solvy, soak for 15 minutes. For other brands of WSS, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Blot the lace with paper towels.

Allow the lace to dry completely. It should retain some stiffness.

Assembling Santa

Align the back edges of the two Santa pieces together (files "a" and "b").

Use the same thread color that you used to embroider the Santa design to sew a zigzag stitch along only the back edge of the two pieces.

Fold the pieces, wrong sides together, and fold the lace along the borders that are right next to the zigzag stitch.

Unfold the lace and lay it with the wrong side up. Squeeze a line of fabric glue from the ball on the hat, across and down along the face, beard, and the front.

Stop when you get to the bottom edge.

Fold the piece together, aligning the shapes, and press together.

Add fabric glue to the back "spine" of the lace.

Lay the arm piece (file "c") with the wrong side up. Align the spine of the first piece with the center of the arm piece. Insert a pen inside the lace, so you can press the pieces in place.


Add a drop of glue to the inside of the arms.

Fold the arms and press in place.

Assembling the Sleigh

Lay the front, bottom, and back pieces (files "d" and "e") with the right sides facing up and the swirled detail facing to the outside, as shown.

Zigzag stitch the pieces together using a matching thread color.

Lay the sewn front, bottom, and back piece wrong side up and align the bottom edges of the side pieces (files "f" and "g") along each long side of the sewn piece. The front of the side pieces, which is the end with the swirl knob, should face towards the front of the sewn piece. The front of the sewn piece is the end with eight swirls within the shape.

Also, align the third line inside the runner (counting from the pointed end) with the seam in the sewn piece. Do this with each side piece.

Zigzag stitch the side pieces in place starting at the inside of the pointed end of the runner and ending as soon as you get to the curved section of the side piece.

Fold the side pieces up and pinch along the seams. This makes the side pieces stand upright.

Then, add fabric glue along the sides of the back panel piece.

Bring the back panel up to meet the back edges of the side pieces and press in place.

Add fabric glue to the sides of the front panel piece.

Bring the front panel up to meet the front edges of the sides and bottom edges of the lace.

Add fabric glue along the sides and bottom of the Santa piece.

Place Santa in the sleigh as far up as he can go. Press in place along the sides and bottom.

Assembling the Reindeer

Lay the side pieces (files "a" and "b") with the wrong sides up. Apply fabric glue to the "b" piece starting at the nose; go up the forehead, but
do not add glue to the antlers.

Work your way around the ears, down the neck, and across the back. Stop when you reach the back of the tail.

Lay the "a" piece on top of the "b" piece, wrong sides together. Align the head, back, and tail together and press in place.

Lay the belly piece (file "c") with the right side up. Apply glue to just one end of the piece. Starting in the middle on one side, work your way to the tip, and back down the other side. Stop when you reach the middle of the other side.

Add the tip of the belly piece under the chin, and align the piece with the chest of the reindeer, following the outer shape.

Add glue to the remaining edges of the belly piece and align it with the back end of the reindeer.

Repeat these assembly instructions for each reindeer.

Assembling the Harness

Lay the reindeer on a flat surface and space them in the order you would like them to be joined. Measure from the chest of the first reindeer to the chest of the last reindeer and add about 3 inches.

Our harness measures 23 inches long.

Cut four pieces of the colored wire to the measurement you just took and straighten the wires.

Wrap the entire length of each wire with colored pipe cleaners.

Add fabric glue along the side of the reindeer from the middle of the chest to the back of the leg.

Add the wire harness to the reindeer and press in place.

 Repeat this for each reindeer.

When the glue has set, flip the reindeer over and glue along the other side of the reindeer, just as you did for the first side. Press the harness in place.

Now, add the harness to the other set of reindeer.

Twist the back end of the harnesses together.

Add glue to the sides of the sleigh and...

...press the twisted ends of the harness in place.

Add reins by first gluing decorative cord inside Santa's hands and then gluing the cord to each of the reindeer shown.

The reindeer will need a little help getting off the ground!

To make them fly, cut two
6-inch lengths of the colored wire. Use pliers to bend a one-inch diameter circular "base" and then bend the wire to the center of the circle.

Add the wire bases to the harness at a point near the front ends of the second pair of reindeer (counting out from the sleigh). Insert the end of the wire in between the reindeer and harness and then bend the wire around the harness. Add a drop of glue between the wire and the reindeer and press it in place.

After the glue has set, bend the pipe cleaner harness upwards to make the reindeer appear to be leaping into the air!

Fill the sleigh with all kinds of goodies like candy, small ornaments, or toys!

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Click here for a printable version of these project instructions.

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Products used in this Project:

A Santa's Flight (Lace) Design Pack $11.46 - $12.96

Available in 2 Sizes:

4.92" x 6.85" | 3.90" x 3.15"