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Dramatic Heart Necklace – Video Tutorial & FREE Design by Sonia Showalter

Learn how to stitch out your FSL design and assemble the necklace

Free Standing Lace. Friend or foe? I hear people say all the time how fascinated they are by FSL, but too scared to try it. Sonia Showalter is certainly not one of them. On her website you will find many beautiful FSL designs from ornaments to beads and motifs and even earrings that she created using Hatch Embroidery Digitizer.

I asked Sonia about her machine embroidery journey and also for a free design that you can stitch out. Not only did Sonia provide this stunning Dramatic Heart design, but she also kindly recorded a video tutorial to take away the fear factor and offer useful tips on how to achieve the perfect result each and every time you stitch out a free standing lace design. She will also show you how to turn this design into a one-of-a-kind statement piece of jewelry.

How long have you been doing machine embroidery for?

First let me say that I have been an artist most of my life. I have a need, or perhaps an obsession with a desire to create.

I was first exposed to machine embroidery in 2000 while working at a local quilt shop. I can still remember the thrill and amazement that I felt when I learned about machine embroidery.

You see, even though I have sewn since I was six years old, somehow I was never aware there was such a technological wonder. It still makes me chuckle, I really don’t know how it took so long for me to discover embroidery machines! It took a couple of years to buy my first machine, a Bernina 180.

Soon after I purchased the machine and software, I began teaching myself to digitize. I would sit in front of the computer with the manual in my lap and try everything I could think of with a single objective in mind…to conquer the beast called digitizing. I wanted to master it!

I practiced at the computer day and night, always, with the manual in my lap. When I couldn’t be home (because I still had a life that needed tending), I would take the manual with me in case I found myself waiting on someone. When I went to bed at night, I would take the manual to bed and read some more.

What inspires you when you create your designs?

I can’t really explain it in words because it can be a situation, something in nature, or a fairy tale. Sometimes it’s a simple word or a texture. I get an overwhelming feeling to create, not sure what, but SOMETHING. That’s inspiration to me…when I can’t help but create something from that feeling that came over me. See, it’s hard to explain!

When something sparks, I say to my husband Gary, “I’ve just had an epiphany”. He smiles. It’s not the perfect term to use, but it’s how it feels to me. It’s a phrase I use quite often. It always makes me smile.
One other thing I can share is that my grandchildren have been a source of inspiration for me as well.

I had longed to make pretty little dresses for my first granddaughter. That sounds easy enough for someone who used to make custom wedding gowns, and before that had made all of my girls’ clothing when they were children. However, since digitizing is a full time job, I simply don’t have much leisure time for simple sewing. I had to find a way to do both at the same time! That is how the Petite Boutique line was developed. The bodices are done in the hoop and the skirts are added on a conventional sewing machine.
I was able to make pretty little dresses for my sweet girls and they in turn model them for the photos that would appear on the website.

What’s the best advice you can give to embroiderers?

For new ones, don’t be afraid of your machine. Take it one step at a time and get familiar with it. Before you know it, you’ll wonder why you were so nervous in the first place.

For those who have experience, I would say, read the directions included with designs you have purchased. Sometimes overconfidence can trip us up and lead to frustration.

For all embroiderers, be sure you have good information on stabilization, hooping, threads, needles, etc.


Most importantly, remember to have fun!

Please note: You will need to sign in or register a free account to be able to download the free design.

Once you registered an account, you will have unlimited access to ALL the free designs that are currently on the Hatch Embroidery website and future ones two. You will also automatically receive our newsletter about free projects and designs. You will NOT be requested to download the software. Having an account does not come with any obligations to you at all.


Sonia has been creating and selling stunning machine embroidery designs on her website for 15 years. She turned her passion into a successful home business together with her husband Gary who looks after customer service.

Hatch Embroidery software products are in popular use in over 100 countries. It is time to join the global trend and give Hatch a try! The 30-day Free Trial grants you unlimited use of all the amazing features and the 30-day Money Back Guarantee ensures that there is absolutely no risk involved.

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