I've finished all the insertions and the edging for the ring bearer's pillow in Underwood's 20 Lessons and would like to join the pieces. However, I am in no way proficient in hand stitchery and would like suggestions as to how to do this. Underwood suggests slip stitch which I researched on YouTube, but am not pleased with my first attempt (sewing the middle square). I think I have to live with it because I can't determine thread used to sew from the rest of the lace at this point. Should I sew from the front or the back of the lace? Should the footsides be placed over each other to be sewn or side by side? The edging is made a little larger to create a slight ruffle - but how do I do that? I've been doing self-study - I don't have a teacher. Thanks for your help.

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First of all, don't worry too much about the look. As a lacemaker, you're used to zooming in on the details. Most people don't notice - honest!
When I sew lace, I try to push the needle through an existing pinhole in the lace - whether in the footside or elsewhere. This will already be a strong point in the lace, so the extra pull of the sewing is less likely to pull it out of shape.
The stitch? Well, shove the needle through a pinhole on one bit, and then a pinhole on the other bit! Whether the needle is on the same side or different sides... I would tend to be on the same side. So - front to back, then back to front.
The overlap problem... All you can do is lay the bits of lace out flat. (perhaps iron them? Or even wash them first to relax the threads? And dry them naturally...) Do they fit inside, or do they overlap? Sewing merely consists of not trying to bully the textile (in this case - lace) to do things it doesn't want to do... You could even pin both bits of lace onto something else, in the right place, before trying to join them. That means - you know WHERE you need to join them. But the "something else" - be careful not to sew into that something else! It's just to fix the bits of lace relative to each other before sewing. 
The gathered bits - ah, that's more of a problem! I would suggest running a (differently coloured) thread through the bigger bit. Then pull the thread so the gathered lace is exactly the right length to fit the smaller bit. Then sew them together. Do not sew in the differently coloured thread! When finished, pull the coloured thread out.
Does any of this make sense?

Thanks, Jo! And I like your idea for the gathering.

Jo Edkins said:

First of all, don't worry too much about the look. As a lacemaker, you're used to zooming in on the details. Most people don't notice - honest!
When I sew lace, I try to push the needle through an existing pinhole in the lace - whether in the footside or elsewhere. This will already be a strong point in the lace, so the extra pull of the sewing is less likely to pull it out of shape.
The stitch? Well, shove the needle through a pinhole on one bit, and then a pinhole on the other bit! Whether the needle is on the same side or different sides... I would tend to be on the same side. So - front to back, then back to front.
The overlap problem... All you can do is lay the bits of lace out flat. (perhaps iron them? Or even wash them first to relax the threads? And dry them naturally...) Do they fit inside, or do they overlap? Sewing merely consists of not trying to bully the textile (in this case - lace) to do things it doesn't want to do... You could even pin both bits of lace onto something else, in the right place, before trying to join them. That means - you know WHERE you need to join them. But the "something else" - be careful not to sew into that something else! It's just to fix the bits of lace relative to each other before sewing. 
The gathered bits - ah, that's more of a problem! I would suggest running a (differently coloured) thread through the bigger bit. Then pull the thread so the gathered lace is exactly the right length to fit the smaller bit. Then sew them together. Do not sew in the differently coloured thread! When finished, pull the coloured thread out.
Does any of this make sense?

If you can't see the stitches you have done a good job.  Whether to overlap or side by side is decided by how they fit.  It just needs to fit and be smooth.  I think whip stitch and slip stitch are probably the same and what I would do.  Basically the lace tells you what to do.  By time you finish you will be better at hand sewing.  I'm better at the sewing than the lace making LOL. Not enough practice, but I keep picking away at it.  The pillow should be lovely!

Beautiful work Tom

Jo's explanation is very good. I would use overcast stitch (like what embroiderers call "whipping"). All your straight edges are sewing edge. this means that at every junction of worker with edge pair you have 4 threads outside the pin. That is exactly the place to put your needle as you overcast the 2 edges together.

This link below is to some diagrams I made about attaching lace to fabric. It would give a far stronger connection between your pieces, but I'm not sure that is necessary.

http://laceioli.ning.com/group/bobblinlace-beginners/forum/topics/a...

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