Machine-Embroider Allover Lace
by Barbara Skimin
From Threads #98, pp. 66-71
Fine lace has a rich tradition. We don't know exactly when and where lace originated, but we do know that it was originally produced meticulously by hand and that, in the 17th and 18th centuries, its intricate designs were highly prized and available only to the aristocracy.
The advent of machine production in the 19th century made lace more affordable but did little to diminish its desirability, and today lace is once again very popular, used for both casual as well as elegant, special-occasion garments.
Whether created by hand or by machine, lace is a complex fabric, and the idea of producing allover lace on a home-embroidery machine may seem mind-boggling. But it can be done and, in fact, is easier than you think—it just takes a little time. I'll walk you through the process, which was introduced to me by Carol McKinney of Pasadena, Texas, and show you how to select embroidery designs that you can combine to create your own unique lace.
Individual motifs fit together jigsaw-style to create an original pattern. These six motifs at left were used in countless combinations sewn on tulle and sandwiched between water-soluble stabilizers to produce the allover lace shown at right.