Lace Cottage Tutorial

Lace cottage #3 it is now done and ready to put on the CQJP2014 project.  I'll post when the cover is finished.

And as promised here is a guide to copy and use to follow all the steps I did.  It is the same I used but I did clean it up a bit....  My cottage was only a little over 3" high but I would recommend doing it larger....

   I made the  lace cottage #2 block for the cover when I was only going to make one large book with the 12 CQJP cottage block pages ... Now that I'm making two books I need another cover and thought I would do a simpler lace cottage and do it step-by-step tutorial with a pattern.

I worked on this one for 2 years.  Except for the cottage, the garden   is ALL tiny, single strand French knots.  I plan to use lots of ribbon embroidery on this next will go faster.

So I'm looking for inspiration and I find these images in my picture file..  First here is a garden in ribbon embroidery.  I just love the picket fence and all the flowers peeking through.

I want a simpler roof line this time.  I really struggled with the roof on the first cottage...and I do like the double chimneys but not crazy about the stone wall. In fact I really like the lines of this cottage though...

Here is a simple roof and a picket fence but I'd like a little different angle to allow a climber on a side wall.  It also has a stucco finish similar to lace.  And the detail on the front entry would lend itself very well to lace.

Now this one has a simple roof,  two chimneys, a side wall and a picket fence....but it is two stories.  I love the bird houses.  Since I had a lace bird house  on my first cover I need at least one lace bird house on this new cover.

So this evening I will sit down and draw my own pattern for my new lace cottage but these images have given me lots of ideas and direction.....  I hope you  follow along on this new project.

This is my rough drawing for my new lace cottage.  I will make a simplified one later that you can download, but this is what I usually work with... pretty rough and as a rule I make a lot of modifications as I go along. 

I mainly am concerned with the general placement of things, not details at this point.
I do not like to make any marks of any kind on the front of my work...ever.  well almost ever.
STEP ONE: The very first thing I do is make a "reverse image" of this drawing.  I do it in my photo editing program but you can do it with most printers also if you check under options.  I do this because I will be putting the image on the back side of my block. 

SECOND STEP: Apply fusible tricot knit interfacing to the back of fabric.  Do not skip this step.
THIRD STEP:  Using a light source (light box or window) lay your fabric front side down on the reverse image and trace the outline onto the back of the fabric.  Since it is on the back of the fabric on the interfacing I can use a fine permanent marker such as a pentel micron fine liner.

You only need the basic outlines.. Note that I marked the corner of the outside of the block as a guide for now as I may adjust the outer edge as I go along.
FOURTH STEP: Then using a single strand of thread I do a fairly small running stitch over all these lines.  This basting will be the   guide as to where to place the laces
When I turn the fabric right side up I have my guide and no marks on my fabric.  I can remove the basting stitches as the work progresses.

I use this method of marking on the back and basting to the front so often and love it.  I use it over and over and over again.  It is by far my favorite method of getting a design on fabric.

FIFTH STEP:  I don't intend to stitch in the sky so at this point I apply a light wash of blue in the general area of the sky..  It doesn't matter if it bleeds into the area of the house as it will be covered with laces.  Start with a VERY light wash and test where it won't show.  You can always add more color but it isn't easy to take it out if it gets too dark in the beginning.
I went through my laces and picked a few I might use. It is fairly easy to find narrow laces for the roof but much harder to find lace for the walls.  This is the type of lace I look small overall pattern.  It matters not to be if it is machine lace (as on the bottom) or hand made as on the top.  I prefer the top lace because the stitching is denser but it may be too thick... I will just have to test them..  It is difficult to find this type of lace... large enough and the right density..
For the fences I'm always collecting laces with a grid pattern such as these.  They work well for so many things....but especially fences.
 The top machine lace will probably work the best because of scale but I'll see.
This grid is especially nice for fences because it works as a guide for stitching in every other column to make the slats for the fence... clever huh?

Second Stage:

Step 1:
At this point I use a black sharpie pen to darken the windows  Very little of it shows when finished but it makes the sashing on the windows pop.

Step 2:  Once you decide on your lace, put a large enough piece to cover with excess on the top of the cottage.  Depending on the size of the cottage, baste or pin in place.  My cottage is quite small so I just pinned it down.

Step 3:  Turn your needlework over and from the back, baste just around the wall area.  With my particular lace I could have seen  through the lace to baste from the top but it is neater and works better doing from the back.

Step 4:  Turn the needlework right side up and trim leaving at least 1/4" outside the basting line.  Now the fun begins..

I can guarantee that if you trim the lace to exactly fit that it will pull loose.  I work with lace a lot and the biggest problem  is stabilizing a cut edge.  I have a few tricks I use that I will share as I go along.

Step 5:  Choosing laces for roof and trim is fun because as long as it is in scale, the possibilities are endless.

On the left is a 1/2" piece of crocheted lace that I have dyed and antiqued for the roof.  On the right is an assortment of very narrow braid, soutache, cording, and rat tail.  I will antique small pieces of these for trim around the doors, windows and the edge of the roof.

Before I start on the roof I will satin stitch the chimneys and the tiny roof over the door.  I'm hoping to find time to do that this evening.

Step 1.. I embroidered  the chimneys and the little roof section over the door with a long and short satin stitch. .  The roof section I just embroidered right over the cut edge of the house lace.

I also found this cute little edging that I wanted to use.

Step 2:  I split it lengthwise and used part of it across the ridge of the roof.  People often had a ridge decoration to keep birds off the thatch roof.  I used the other section for trim along the eaves which I may or may not keep as it keep shifting..

Step 3:  Then I attached the lace I had dyed for the roof.  I ran it about 1/2" beyond the edge of the roof.

Then from the back I ran a basting line so I knew where I wanted to cut for the roof. 

But before I trimmed the excess I used a matching thread and all along the inside of the edge (see arrow) I made tiny stitches securing all the lace about 1/4" in and then I could cut it without it raveling.

Now I can start on the windows and door and the roof trim.

While looking through my journal laces I found a quite large table runner that I had been saving for a large journal cover.  It would be perfect for the fence and since it had a damaged section right in the center I would have had to remove a section anyway, I will have enough to use for the fence...

To answer Cindy's question.... I am using a piece of cotton.  I love using good quality used sheets from the thrift store.  They have a good thread count and after repeated washings all the sizing is washed out and they needle beautifully.  This one was a treasure.  It was a king sized Ralph Lauren that was a soft white.  It will last me a while but I do use up quite a bit for projects for my students.

I spent most of last evening on the curtains and one window.
Tonight I hope to finish all the windows and the door.  I am anxious to get to the fence so I can start on the garden... the fun part.

I don't know how large this looks on your screen but the entire cottage is less than 3" tall...very tiny indeed.

The lace I used for the curtains is just a hair over 1/4".  It is a machine lace and very intricate.  I am using the band part of the lace as my guide for my shutters.  Notice I did a tight chain stitch around the door to secure the lace before I start stitching the door.

The actual cottage part of this piece is complete.  Besides finishing the door and the windows, I added a tiny lace along the left end of the roof and I did a chain to secure the lace on the corners of the house.  I wove a thread through the chain to catch even more lace...than I trimmed the lace close.  Any little fussies will be concealed by shrubbery later.

Now I can turn my attention to the fence in front... Visually I want the fence to cover the area in front of the house because I don't want to spend months doing French knots although the possibilities for a front garden area are great if I positioned the fence farther front.... I want to use a small lace for the top rail of the fence.  I want it to be rather bold to separate it from the lace on the house since they will be touching.  I want to bring the fence to the forefront and a strong lace could do that.

 This is my drawer of small laces from years of collecting.  It is very easy to overlook small edging lace  on ugly linens. You just see the stains and terrible embroidery and tend to put them aside.  But that's where I find some of my best small edgings.  You can also find some new machine laces that are cheap and fantastic.  Again I remind everyone not to be a lace "snob".   Not everything has to be handmade to be wonderful..
embrace them all.

So I start trying different laces and it makes it easier if I can see them all at once.  So I take photos so I can compare.
The bottom two were my final choice and the one bottom left won out as it was the laciest and I could envision roses spilling over it.  I am also trying out laces for the lane in the foreground.  Just as I wanted the fence to be heavier, I want the lace for the lane to be very delicate and unassuming...  This will be a hard one to find.

Well I "planting" my cottage's garden...starting anyway.  I have no plan and just grabbing colors as the spirit moves me.
 I dry brushed some dark green fabric paint where I want the back shrubbery... Adding the color will mean less French knots.

I also found a piece of inexpensive nylon lace and cut a strip for the lace and I will leave the lower edge raw.

I'm using the silk ribbon I dyed last summer.  I love it but don't have enough colors.  I am going to dye and overdye a lot of ribbon this summer.  Unfortunately the big storm last fall blew the top off my greenhouse so I will miss having the dry sheltered work space.  It is too expensive and too much work to replace it.

I'm also using perle instead of floss.

Remember these gardens by picket fences that were my inspiration...  One had the garden mostly inside the fence and the other had the garden mostly outside the fence.  I want my garden BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE the fence... like Bette Midler, I want it all.

We are going to Seattle this weekend to a granddaughter's graduation and this little garden gives me something relaxed and easy to work on.  Hope to have it done by the time I get back.  The whole piece is only 6" by 6"....

Didn't quite finish over the weekend but it is now done and ready to put on the CQJP2014 project.  I'll post when the cover is finished.

And as promised here is a guide to copy and use to follow all the steps I did.  It is the same I used but I did clean it up a bit....  My cottage was only a little over 3" high but I would recommend doing it larger....


allie aller said...

Superlative tutorial!!!!
Beautiful concept and process and result. Thanks, Gerry!
(p.s. your small lace organization puts me to shame....)

Alla said...

Thank you very much for sharing this lovely tutorial!

NCGrammyJean said...

Gerry, your work is so awe inspiring! I love the tutorial and will be trying out some of your ideas. I love visiting your blog.


FredaB said...


I really have enjoyed your cottage pieces and how wonderful that you are sharing with this tutorial.


Unknown said...

Hi Gerry,
This is so beautiful little cottage tutorial.
I first saw it on Pinterest and saved it and visit to the original site and found your blog. I am very happy that I found your website.
Thank you so much for sharing your talents.

Unknown said...

I also found your cottage tutorial on Pinterest. How inspiring it is! It makes me want to drop everything and give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing your talent and spreading your joy for all to see. I look forward to more of your blogs.

Meira Shana said...

Holy moley unbelievable awesome gorgeous stunning ... just a few of my thoughts when seeing your work and process.


Must send your URL to my dear friend in Germany.

Thank you.

Unknown said...

Joan Piercy said....
Just discovered your work. I love the cottages & the tutorial you shared. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration!

Louise said...

Just found this, wonderful cottages, super job, enjoyed the tutorial. thanks

Janlang said...

Love love love!! Can’t wait to get up and get cracking on this!! Thank you!!

Beverly said...

I just discovered your post and love it with all my heart! Your little cottage is so sweet and your instructions are wonderful. I will make one of my own!!! Thank you for sharing!

Beverly said...

I just discovered your wonderful post! Your lace house is so sweet and your directions are wonderful, I will make one! Thanks so much for sharing!

Unknown said...

I just discovered your wonderful tutorial. I plan on trying to make this. Thank you.

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