Free Standing Lace (FSL) with Mylar – Step by Step

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This article will help you understand just how easy Free Standing Lace (FSL) embroidery with Mylar can be.

I know a lot of you have never tried FSL adding Mylar, so I’m here to show you just how truly EASY it is.

Once you have taken the plunge and bought your embroidery machine, all you need is a few supplies and to dive in.

To begin with, you will need to find a machine embroidery FSL design you would like to try. We have a lot to choose from here on Fit 2B Stitched.

Next you will need a Water Soluble Stabilizer (WSS). I like the Pellion 541 Wash-N-Goneicon woven stabilizer the best. I usually get mine at Wal-Mart.

Now, let’s get started.

First we need to hoop our stabilizer. I like to lay my stabilizer over my hoop with about an inch or so of stabilizer overlapping the edges of the hoop.

As you slip the inner hoop on, tighten the hoop screw a little. As you go, you will pull on your stabilizer a little to get a nice flat smooth look, steadily tightening the hoop screw.

Once the stabilizer is smooth and flat, tighten the hoop as tight as you can get it.

I then go around the hoop one final time, pulling to make sure it’s nice and tight. If you have hooped it correctly, you SHOULD be able to bounce a dime on it. You want it nice and snug.

Some designs will require 2 layers of WSS. To save supplies, I generally hoop a new piece of stabilizer, then take scrap pieces, lay them over the top and pin them down. That way, I use up my scraps and save a little money I use to buy other supplies.


You are now ready to stitch out your design.


With most FSL designs, you can add Mylar. Some designs are set to stop in the right spot to add the Mylar. But, if your design doesn’t stop, just watch it stitch and when it has completely stitched the first 2 layers you will want to stop your machine and add your Mylar.


Once you have cut the piece of Mylar, tape it in place and stitch your next 2 layers over the top of the Mylar. Once these 4 layers have been stitched, you will want to remove the hoop from the machine and carefully remove the extra Mylar from the edges.



I find that if you pull the Mylar towards the center of the design, it will pull off pretty easily. Remember, if you are doing a design with Batten Burg Lace (BBL) you MUST remove the Mylar before you stitch the BBL part. If you don’t, you will find it extremely hard to pick out all the tiny Mylar out from each BBL Loop.


TIP: (I found an amazing product that I use in place of the true Mylar. I get my product at the dollar store but I’m sure you can get it at most department stores. It’s in the gift wrap department. It’s a type of plastic tissue paper that you would use in a gift bag.)

Once you have finished stitching your design, you will want to trim it out from the hoop. (I like to leave the design in the hoop). This makes it easier for me to trim. Trim close to the design being careful not to cut into any part of your design.


Once you have your design trimmed, you run it under warm water to remove the WSS. Depending upon how stiff or soft you want your finished project to be will determine how long you rinse.

TIP: If you rinse out too much WSS, you can take some scrap WSS, dissolve in a bowl & dip your design in it to make it stiffer.

Once it’s rinsed, lay it on a towel to absorb any extra water. No need to leave to long — maybe a minute or so. (You DO NOT want to leave on a towel or paper towel to dry. The design will have some WSS still left in it and it will be sticky. You DON’T want it to get stuck to the towel.)

Finally, lay it on a flat surface to finish drying. I have heard that some embroiderers lay their designs on wax paper. If you want your design to be crisp and flat and IF it doesn’t have Mylar stitched in it, you can take a warn iron and press a little.



A lot of people don’t know this, but you can stitch FSL on solid projects.

FSL designs are NOT only of the free standing variety, they can be so many things.

The most popular variety is to have it free standing like in an Angel or ornament.

If you check out Fit 2B Stitched , you will find many different uses for FSL. FSL can be made to lay flat like a bookmark, put together to make 3D, in pieces and stitched together to make a project or to create decorative items.

Whether using Mylar or not, I have not found a FSL design that doesn’t look amazing. So many embroiderers shy away from FSL due to a mistaken perception of how difficult it is.

Here are just a few photos showing ways that you can use FSL in designs.


 I hope this article will help you understand just how easy FSL can be.

Hope to see you soon at Fit 2B Stitched

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