Angel in Lace Cloud

December 7, 2018By Janice FergusonDIY, Holiday, Projects 32 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Angels are a common theme in needlework, legends, and philosophy. Featured here are two Christmas versions using a pieced technique. The first, an angel pillow with detailed instruction, is an open-ended pillow cover made from a linen hemstitched guest towel. Combined with heirloom lace, antique pearl buttons, and a heavenly machine embroidered angel from, it will be a true heirloom. She may be an advent angel for Christmas or a guardian angel for a baby. The angel is centered in a wreath or cloud—whichever you choose to call it– of lace created with a raw-edge piecing technique. Using either the 1” or the ¾” grid, you can use up precious scraps of lace and fabric.
The second is a festive and folksy dishtowel. Both may make you rethink the worthiness of tiny lace and fabric scraps. Just how small is too small to save?

Angels are a popular motif and appropriate for so many situations—a remembrance angel for the loss of a loved one or maybe an appreciation angel for someone who has rendered meaningful help. So, gather your materials and get started – I think you will love this.

Note: The lace wreath made with 1.5” grid renders a 6” square wreath or cloud. (2” grid renders an 8” square.)


  • 18” lace 1.5” or 2” wide for either ¾” or 1” grid for wreath/cloud
  • 1.75 yds lace edging for pillow ends
  • Hemstitched linen guest towel 14” x 21
  • Download the Angel design here


  • 15 two or four-hole mother of pearl buttons approx. ¼” but size and style can vary
  • Heat erasable or water-soluble marker
  • Glue stick
  • Needles #70 and #80
  • Embroidery thread for angel and featherstitching; fine thread for zig zag joining of lace edging to pillow ends
  • Tearaway stabilizer for 4×4 frame; 8” square-tissue paper weight tearaway or water-soluble stabilizer
  • Feet: embroidery foot, open toe
  • Wreath grid
  • Pillow form 9.5 x 14”


Note: Pictured pillow cover was made with .75” grid. Instructions for 1” grid are in parentheses.
  1. Starch and press lace edging for wreath/cloud. Do not starch edging for ends of pillow, as it will be gathered. Cut lace to exactly 1.5”. The lace used in the sample is just a tad wider. By cutting away the lace header, it is the correct width.
  2. Draw washable/erasable line 1.25” (1”) above hemstitching. Center and trace chosen grid with bottom of grid along this line.

Angel Embroidery:

  1. Hoop tearaway or water-soluble stabilizer with linen towel in 4×4 frame.
  2. Center angel design on placement dot and embroider.
  3. Cut four 1.5” lace squares from starched and pressed lace (for ¾” grid). (Cut four 2” squares for 1” grid). Cut four 3” x width of lace. If necessary, trim lace width to 1.5”.

Note: When trimming squares and rectangles, keep decorative edge at top of trimmed piece. Place square on grid to determine best placement of the decorative edge and for the .75” square cut away.
  1. Trim squares as shown. This piece will be rotated and placed in the upper right-hand corner.

  1. Trim rectangles to 3/4” x 3”. (Cut four rectangles 1” x 4”). Mark a dot on decorative edge .75” from raw short side. Trim as illustrated.

Lace Cloud Attachment:

  1. Look carefully at lace shapes to determine the right side – which is the one on which the design is raised or more detailed.
  2. Lightly mark short sections of grid with glue stick, taking care not to get glue on grid lines. Add more glue as you progress around the wreath.
  3. Finger press lace shapes on grid, making certain that the lace pieces fit snugly against one another. Leave no gaps, scooting any gaps toward the piece closest to the center.
  4. Float a single 8×8” sheet of water soluble or tissue-paper weight stabilizer under grid area. Pin in a few areas.
Note: I used the tissue paper weight stabilizer which I love. But it took an eternity to pick the paper from the featherstitching. I’m rethinking this for my next project.
  1. Baste lace pieces in place with lengthened straight stitch.

  1. Thread needle with thread closely matching the lace color.
  2. Attach knee lift.
Note: If you haven’t made friends with this fabulous tool included with your Brother machine, now is the time. You will be so happy you have it! There is much pivoting for basting and what is to come next. With a nudge of your knee, the presser foot lifts and your hands are free to turn the fabric.

  • Baste around and through the lace cloud.
  1. Select feather stitch #7-010 from the Character Decorative Stitch menu on THE Dream Machine 2. Set width to 4.5, length to 3.0, tension to 3.6 (or whatever looks best on your machine) and multiple pattern. Use identical thread in needle and bobbin.
Note #1: Loosened tension will prevent bobbin thread from pulling to the top for this stitch. It will also give the stitch a more relaxed presentation, more like hand stitching. Note #2: Disengage the thread cutter.

  1. Attach open toe foot. Plan your best route through the cloud. No matter how you navigate this path, there will be several starts and stops. Keep the center of the presser foot on the raw edge of the lace.

  1. Do not hesitate to stop at a pivot point and reposition. In this situation, the stitch is forgiving. An out-of-sequence stitch will not be noticeable.
Note: Be sure to leave long thread tails at beginning and end of each run of feather stitching.
Note: This is another angel on a 1” grid. This cloud wreath was with no lace fussy cuts, only 1” squares. Note the circled gap could have been avoided by scooting the triangular piece closer to the square, disregarding the grid marks.

  1. Remove basting threads and pull thread tails to back. Hand tie knots.
  2. Remove grid marks with a hot iron or water.

Lace Edging:

Note: The lace used for this wreath is 1 5/8’ wide. My personal preference is to use a narrower lace edging for the pillow ends. Since I could not find narrow lace which matched this vintage pale-yellow lace, the edging was trimmed to 1”.
  1. Cut lace edging into two 32” lengths.
  2. Zig zag over the raw edge, enclosing a generous length of quilting thread.

  1. Gather lace gently to the length of your towel, distributing gathers evenly. Finish all four raw ends with zig zag.
  2. Curl zig zagged short end of lace so that it is butted to the edge of the hemmed towel edge and pin through towel and stabilizer. Or you can clean finish the end with a short, wide zig zag.
  3. Butt remaining edge of gathered lace against edge of towel and tiny zig zag lace and towel together. Finish the opposite end just as the first end, curled and butted to the hemmed edge.

Optional: Work feather stitch along this edge.


  1. Fold lower hemstitched edge of towel over the opposite end, forming a circle. Pin together, making certain that the hemstitching overlays the other hem by 1/8”. Baste in place with use of free arm and directional stitching.

  1. Select the button sewing stitch in the buttonhole menu.

  1. Arrange buttons in 5 groups of three along lower edge, centered on hemstitching. Slip over free arm and sew in place through all layers, securing the two ends.

  1. Remove horizontal stitching basting threads.
  2. Insert pillow.

Now isn’t that lovely?

This is another version of the wreath design, with a country theme. Country Christmas Angel based on ¾” grid. Unlike its heirloom cousin, this version uses a different piece of fabric for each piece of the grid. It has a sleeve for hanging.

Yet another version is a silk dupioni table-topper, lovely when displayed with a small tea light glowing one corner.

Santa Dishtowel


  • Multitude of scraps as small as 1” square
  • Santa design at
  • Brother embroidery machine w 4×4 frame
  • Feet: embroidery foot, open toe
  • 1” grid
  • Embroidery thread for Santa design and feather stitching
  • Fabric marker, water soluble or heat erasable
  • Tearaway stabilizer for Santa
  • Water soluble or tissue-paper weight stabilizer 10 x 10”
  • Glue stick


  1. Trace 1” grid on towel, centered and with bottom line 1.25” above hem. See above image #21. This grid includes radiant lines for an angel design. Disregard for the Santa towel.
  2. Cut scraps into 24 1” squares. Cut 2 squares in half diagonally to create right angle triangles.
  3. Refer to steps #9-20 for the angel pillow.

Yet another version is a silk dupioni table-topper, lovely when displayed with a small tea light glowing one corner.

So, do you have enough ideas? I’d love to hear about your version of the piecing design.


  • Wow! Fantastic Angel. I love how the lace frames the Angel. The design is perfect for this type of project. Many wonderful heirloom techniques utilized in this pattern and yet not overwhelming at all.
    Thank you for posting this. This blog and talented teacher inspire me so much. I appreciate all you do. Thank you for reading this humble post of appreciation.

    • Willie, thank you for taking time to post your generous and kind comment. This blog is such a wonderful resource for sewists, even those who do not yet have a Brother machine. The project tutorials, tips, free embroidery designs and more make it a site worthy of being a favorite of all.

  • Beautiful work! Love the lacework and use of feather stitching. I must try sewing on buttons with the machine. The angels look divine. Thank you for another great tutorial!

    • Esther, I’m happy to know you like this project. Of course, anything with fine lace and feather stitching has to be pretty! Sewing the buttons on by machine with the use of the free arm and directional sewing saves to much time. Let us know how it works for you.

    • Carol, I hope you and I BOTH get more sewing done next year! So many ideas, so many projects, so many embroidery designs…….and the beat goes on. This would be a fun and easy project for you to start sewing in the new year. Thanks for loving these projects.

  • Another gorgeous project, I don’t have this machine but am keeping the instructions to see if I can adapt them to make it work for me. Thank you!

  • Carol, thanks for your kind comment. I feel certain you can adapt this to your machine. So many of the projects and ideas posted here will work with other machines. Good luck!

    • Rebecca, I’m glad you like this design. This Brother angel at is unlike any I seen elsewhere. She is definitely angelic and delicate yet the features are clear. I think she looks perfect in a heavenly lace cloud.

  • Well as always, Janice, you have come up with a heirloom project. That lace pillow I see going to a newly baptised infant. Changing the angel’s ribbon from blue to pink depending on the child, then that pillow can be used at a future wedding to carry the rings.
    You are so talented and your directions are tops.
    Merry Christmas, Janice.

    • Susanna, what a fabulous idea for this pillow to serve double duty! I hadn’t thought of it as a ring bearer pillow, but how much more meaningful when it was first used for the bride or groom’s baptism. I get such great inspiration from readers like you. Thanks for sharing your ideas and taking time to leave a comment.

  • Beautiful! What creative projects for DYI Christmas decor and gifts. I love how the angel is framed with delicate lace. The Santa towel is simply adorable and I love how it incorporates many different pieces of fabric. It looks like a lot of fun to design and sew. Your directions are very user friendly, which is very helpful for me considering I’m very new to sewing. I appreciate all the details and tips that you give. This post inspires me to get creative and to get sewing.

    • Thank you, Joanne. I’m so happy to know you’ve gotten some inspiration from this project. Every experienced sewist starts out as a beginner. I hope you get started sewing and creating. The more you sew the better your sewing gets. So sew!

  • These are beautiful! Your tutorial is very detailed and easy to understand. Thank you for this angle, it can be a wonderful present in so many situations and event in life. Love it ♥️

  • Dear Janice,
    Or should we call you Wonder Woman–a charming gift for every occasion!
    Instead of” I need”
    —we can say
    “I have!”

    • Dear J Coleman, I’m so glad you find this to be a charming gift. Almost always, if you can sew, you are able to say “I can do it!” rather than “I need it.” Isn’t sewing wonderful?

  • So pretty! I love the look of featherstitching. Thank you, Janice, for the detailed instructions and the reminder to use the knee-lift, which is something I forget.

    • Donna, I too love featherstitching. I’ve about abandoned my dream of doing it nicely by hand. Thank goodness our Brother machines can do it for us! As for the knee lift, too many people don’t get around to using this wonderful tool. I hope you find it useful.

    • Donna, I love feather stitching too. I’ve about given up trying to execute a nicely feather stitch by hand, so thank goodness our Brother machines have a lovely one! The knee lift is a treasure so I hope you will use it more frequently.

  • It’s so beautiful! I can’t wait to try this! The lace cloud is just lovely and i can see so many uses for this! Awesome christmas, baby shower, wedding gift ideas!
    Thank you

  • Rheeta, I’m glad you find the instructions to be clear. I sometimes worry that there is too much detail. But advanced sewists can scan the directions and get sewing. Thanks for your comment.

    • Mary, welcome back to the wonderful world of sewing! As you view the posts here at Stitching Sewcial you will surely find more and more inspiration and a lot of instruction. Happy sewing!

  • You surely know by now that the project(s) is a winner. It can be used for so many applications, both practical and frivolous. Challenging, but doable. Thanks.

    • Bernice, thanks for your comment. I would say it is more time consuming than challenging. Tracing the design onto the linen and cutting the lace or quilting cotton take time, but the project goes together quite easily. I’m glad you recognize that there are so many applications as you say so well,” both practical and frivolous.”

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