Tutorial: Decorative Stitch “Art”Lace” using water soluble stabilizer

Posted by Linda Matthews on August 16, 2012

Water soluble stabilizer offers great opportunities for art quilters and textile artists to get very creative and can be used for lots of different applications including decorative lacework, needle-lace, lace inserts, embellishments — the possibilities are endless!

One of my favorite sewing techniques is combining water soluble stabilizer and the decorative stitches on your sewing machine is a creative way to make “art lace” which is lace with irregular shape and a contemporary appearance. This type of “art lace” can be used in art quilts as focus or background pieces …

Water Soluble Stabilizer Lace

It can be used to make “see-through” inserts and decorative embellishments …

Water Soluble Stabilizer Lace

And one of my favorites – tassels …

Water Soluble Stabilizer Lace

I also use it for decorative edging and I used here when I made my art doll

Water Soluble Stabilizer-Art Doll

This is the basic technique I use to make “art lace”.


Machine Setup

  • Standard foot
  • Slightly loosen top tension


Cut a piece of water soluble stabilizer approx 6” x 6”
Sew a cross- grid pattern of straight stitch approx 1/2” apart
Select a decorative stitch and stitch between the grid lines from left to right beginning in the middle and working your way out

Water Soluble Stabilizer Lace

Keep going until the whole piece is filled. This can take a while – there’s lots of stitching.

Water Soluble Stabilizer Lace

Rinse away the stabilizer, handling the piece gently, and watch the magic happen!

Water Soluble Stabilizer Lace

PS – You can find additional tools and resources that I recommend and use here on my Resources page

Exploring Decorative Machine Stitches

Categories: Fabric and Thread, Tutorials, Tutorials: Fabric and Thread
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  1. I love this idea and can’t wait to try it.

  2. To Linda,
    A great idea for making lace, thank you. Carolynn.

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