From hearts, circles and diamonds, to bows, loops and scallops, there are so many elegant lace shapes we can create to adorn our special heirloom projects! There are three main techniques involved in lace shaping: mitering such as on diamonds or the bottom of a heart; curving such as on scallops or hearts; and flip-flopping such as on bows. Below, follow our step-by-step guide for creating a beautiful lace circle using pins and a lace-shaping board, as featured in our book, The Best of Sew Beautiful Christening Gowns:
1. Trace template onto fabric (fig.1). You may trace only the outside line as shown or both lines if given on template.
2. Lay the fabric with the drawn circle template onto the lace-shaping board. The lace will be pinned to the template through the lace, the fabric and into the lace-shaping board.
3. Cut one piece of lace long enough to go all the way around the circle with about 4 inches extra. Before you begin shaping the lace, leave about 2 inches of lace beyond where you start pinning.
4. Place a pin at A and B at the lower curve of the circle (fig. 2). Pins will be placed at an angle.
5. Shape the lace along the outermost template line pinning every 1/4 inch or so. The inside edge of the lace will be ruffled and will not lie flat (fig. 2). Do not stretch the lace. Continue pinning around the circle, overlapping the lace at the A and B pins. Re-pin A and B through both lace layers (fig. 3).
6. Pull the uppermost (header) thread in the lace heading to make the inside of the circle lie flat (fig. 4).
7. Un-pin A and fold the top lace under laying it directly on top of the beginning lace tail. Re-insert pin A through both lace layers (fig. 5).
8. Lightly spray starch, cover with a light press cloth, and press until dry.
9. Trim the two lace tails that extend at the bottom of the circle so they do not show.
10. Re-pin the outer pins through the lace and fabric only so you can remove the fabric from the board.
11. Stitch around the inside and outside of the circle (see step 13 for alternate method) with a zigzag (70 Universal needle), pinstitch or entredeux stitch (110 or 120 Universal needle) (fig. 6). Trim the fabric away from behind the lace.
12. From the right side, stitch the fold where the laces meet with a narrow zigzag. On the wrong side, trim the excess lace tails neatly.
13. If you want to insert a different fabric or embellished piece inside the circle, trim the fabric away from behind the lace and center area of the circle. The inside lace edge has not been stitched. From the right side, stitch the folds of the miters with a narrow zigzag. Optional: On the wrong side, trim away the lace triangles formed at each miter. Place the embellished piece behind the circle. Pin in place. Stitch around the inside of the circle with a zigzag, pinstitch or entredeux stitch. Trim away the excess embellished piece close to stitching.
Learn more lace shaping techniques on Martha Pullen’s Lace Shaping DVD, on sale now as part of our National Sewing Month celebration! Detailed explanations are given about the various supplies that are used for lace shaping and how to prepare your fabric before you begin. You will enjoy learning how and when to use several machine heirloom stitches along with the techniques for the basic shapes of lace shaping and the adaptations that are made for pinless lace shaping. By the time the DVD is finished, you will be making exquisite lace-shaped bows and dreaming of a wardrobe of heirloom garments featuring lace shaping.