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Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

by Kris | 19 responses | 13 minute read

Skeleton leaves are a scrapbooking/paper art supply that are very beautiful but also incredibly fragile. I wanted to make something that was pretty in the same way, but wasn’t going to crumble if I used on an apparel or accessory item. This needle lace skeleton leaves method is the perfect way to create the look in a way that would hold up to a lot. They’re delicate and airy but surprisingly durable. It’s also a neat project because if you prepared a bunch of leaf templates ahead of time you could definitely make a travel kit that would fit an empty altoids box.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

 

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Supplies:

 

- embroidery floss
– basic sewing thread (will not be part of the finished project)
– sharp scissors
– needles
– glue – rubber cement and E6000 are good choices
– paper (the ordinary stuff you use for your printer is perfect)
– printed pattern (or your own line art)

 

Download the Needle Lace Skeleton Leaf Pattern by clicking here.

 

Stitch The Framework

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Loosely cut out the leaf you want to stitch. The idea here is to glue together a few sheets of paper with the pattern on top so that it’s strong enough to stitch through but also flexible enough to bend and while stitching on it. I found that my printed pattern plus two other layers of paper was ideal, but your experience might vary if your paper is very thick or very thin. Try to keep the glue outside of the stitching area, and glue all of the layers together.

 

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Pre-punch your stitching holes with your needle. Make sure you punch the tips of the leaf veins and where they attach to the center vein.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Fill in with extra holes so that they’re all about 1/4 inch/3mm apart.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Thread your needle with a couple of feet of sewing thread and tie a large knot at the end. I stacked a bunch of overhand knots. It’s not part of the finished project, do what you have to do to keep it from coming through the paper.

 

Stitch up through the paper at the bottom of the leaf as shown.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Lay your full strand of embroidery floss across the pattern, leaving about 1/2 inch/6mm of tail. Stitch back through the paper, making sure the sewing thread goes over the embroidery floss.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Continue stitching over the embroidery floss in this way following the pattern lines and keeping the floss smooth and straight.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

When you get to the end of this vein, turn around.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Stitch back to the center line.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Work this way to the tip of the vein.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Then work back down the other side. Just keep stitching into the same holes.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Punch the outer edge, making sure to punch right at the tip of the leaf.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Now start stitching the floss around the edge of the leaf.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

When you get around to the bottom be sure to catch the tail into the stitches.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Work around a second time. Every single line segment should have two strands of floss sewn to it.

 

End your thread on the back of the work and trim the floss. The ends should overlap a little as shown.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

This is what the back should look like – only sewing thread, no embroidery floss.

 

Fill In The Framework

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Thread the needle with a single strand of the embroidery floss. (Embroidery floss is made of 6 strands – divide it up so you’re only using 1 of those strands for the rest of the project.) Slide the needle through a bit of the frame floss.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Pull the thread through and leave the tail buried in the framework thread. You should be ready to start stitching at the base of the leaf.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Slide the needle under the frame. Try not to go through the floss, just under it. This is why the flexibility of the paper is helpful.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Put the needle back through the loop before pulling the stitch tight. This is usually called a “buttonhole stitch” and is the stitch you’ll use for the rest of the leaf.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

What it should look like when tightened.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Make another buttonhole stitch by going around the vein.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

It can be left a little loose.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Make another around this part of the vein.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Again, leave it a little loose.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Now make a buttonhole stitch by going through one of the loops left earlier.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

When tightened it should look something like this.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Continue in this way, filling the space with randomly sized buttonhole stitches. You want to pull your stitches so that you have an overall even tension – tight, but not so tight that you warp the framework.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Your lace should look somewhat similar to this. It’s a good idea to make a stitch that goes through the folded point in the framework to help anchor it in place.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Make a few buttonhole stitches along this side of the vein.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Continue filling this area the same way, working around the veins and through other buttonhole stitches to fill in the space.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

You will eventually run out of thread. When that happens just stitch the tail through the framework and trim it. Then do the same to start a new thread. Avoid using knots in the framework, these tails will be firmly secured later.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Keep filling the space with random buttonhole stitches until you reach the end.

 

Finishing the Framework

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Either work your thread down to the base of the leaf or end it and start it again so you’re ready to work from there.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Start making buttonhole stitches around the framework of the veins.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Try to create a row of very neat stitches lined up side by side. It doesn’t matter what side the little edge from the stitches is on as long as it’s consistent. Keep these stitches tight, they’re meant to give the whole leaf structure.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Stitch until you reach the first vein branch. Be sure to work around the filling lace stitches – you’re locking them in place. Also try not to stitch through the sewing thread that is holding the frame in place.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Slide the needle along the vein to the end.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Make a buttonhole stitch through the folded part of the framework.

 

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Then work back to the center line with more neatly aligned buttonhole stitches.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

When you get to the end, make a couple larger stitches across the place where the lines join to prevent any gaps.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Slide the needle under the vein segment you just worked.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Now you’re in position to keep working up the center line.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Be sure to start each vein at the far end. It’s almost impossible to slide your needle through a row of tight buttonhole stitches so if you work from the center to the end you have to tie off your thread and start it again somewhere else.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

When you get to the end of the vein make a few small knots around points in the filling lace and trim your thread very close to the knot. If you’re worried about it coming undone use a bit of fray check or fabric glue.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Now do that same stitching around the outer edge. I try to start my stitching in an unexpected place so you’re less likely to notice it.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

When you’ve worked all the way around tie off your working thread as inconspicuously as possible around a few bars of the filling lace.

 

Finishing The Lace

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Carefully clip a few threads on the back.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

As much as possible, gently pull the threads free from the lace. If a thread is stuck, trim one end of it close to the paper and the pull the other thread. It’s probably been stitched through and that’s usually enough to loosen it.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Trim and remove threads until the lace comes free from the paper. Pull off any remaining threads – tweezers might expedite this process.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Once the threads are removed you’re done! The lace can be used any way you want. It’s remarkably firm and strong. If you wanted it to be “poseable” you could easily include some very thin wire in the framework.

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

Kris

About Kris

I use Twitter, I have a personal blog/portfolio, and I've recently started using Instagram, mostly for inspiration images and upcoming HDYMT projects.

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Forums Needle Lace Skeleton Leaves

This topic contains 19 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Kellie 4 days, 2 hours ago.

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  • #15471 Reply

    Kellie

    These are amazingly beautiful! How long did it take you to complete one? Thank you for posting such a thorough DIY!

  • #15472 Reply

    Amy Lynn

    WOW!! These look so intricate, but you make it look easy :) I might just have to give these a try! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • #15473 Reply
    HDYMT
    HDYMT
    Keymaster

    Thank you! I put together a few templates, then added the framework to each of them, then filled in the spaces, etc., so I would guess 1-2 hours each.

  • #15474 Reply
    HDYMT
    HDYMT
    Keymaster

    Thank you! Definitely try them, they’re a lot of fun!

  • #15475 Reply

    SnackBandit

    These are incredible! I think they’d be lovely ornaments…and I’m sure you could do a similar framework, for, say, feathers.

  • #15476 Reply
    HDYMT
    HDYMT
    Keymaster

    Thanks! You can definitely use this technique on all kinds of shapes!

  • #15477 Reply

    Kaori sawada

    Woooow so exaiting! Amazing way! Thank you share how to make it! I’m going to try it soon ;)

  • #15478 Reply

    Régina

    Thank you for this fantastic tutorial!

  • #15479 Reply

    Sara N.

    Thank you so much, this is great!

  • #15480 Reply

    Trudie

    Hi there, your work is beautiful! I made some flowers and butterflies the same way . A good tip is to cover your drawing with contact paper, then there is no need for multiple layers of paper. It fold and bends also very easy while you work.

  • #15481 Reply

    kharin

    LINDO LINDO LINDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • #15482 Reply

    iamawishforgotten

    This looks wonderful and fairly easy to make! Can’t wait to try this out. :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    xo Trisha

    http://www.trishasales.net

  • #15483 Reply

    hetta

    Perfect !

  • #15484 Reply

    Juliet

    Excellent detailed tutorial. I’ve never tried lace…I think i will now.

  • #15485 Reply

    Pocha huntas

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  • #15486 Reply

    aleena rose

    Thankfulness to my
    dad who informed me relating to this blog, this website is really amazing.
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  • #15487 Reply

    sue

    simply stunning, thank you,

  • #15488 Reply

    Leesa Lewis

    I just made one but used a very heavy machine embroidery stabiliser as the base and it is very firm and reusable

  • #15489 Reply

    Madaluna

    Great tutorial!! Can’t wait to try. Thx;)

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