Finishing Options for the Back of Hoops used to Frame Needlework

When I go a while without doing needlework, I sometimes forget the steps I should take in finishing the back of needlework I frame in an embroidery hoop — primarily, the step I forget most often is to trace the hoop onto a piece of felt *before* I secure my needlework to the inner hoop. So I’m going to park some photos and notes here for my own future reference — I’ll add this post to my sidebar, where I have the photo tutorial for ribbon-wrapping a hoop.

Variation #1: This works best with cotton (which is typically what I use for embroidery); I don’t like using this method with linen (which I typically only use for cross-stitch) because it doesn’t gather nearly as well as cotton.

Heart on a String -- Back (2011)In this variation, I use a running stitch to gather up the excess fabric (see #7 & #8 in this tutorial from Floss & Mischief), then I whip-stitch on a piece of craft felt to function as a back cover. (I don’t usually add a label, but this particular project was included in a raffle basket so I went ahead and added a label. I used french knots to tack it down, which is a dead-easy way to attach a label to something that won’t be subject to wear and tear).

**Reminder: Be sure to trace the inner hoop onto a piece of craft felt before securing the needlework to the inner hoop!!**

Variations #2 & #3: These work really well with linen, and probably would with cotton as well.

Backs of Hoops 13Apr2014Left Hoop: No gathering involved. I trimmed the excess linen so that when it was folded over it only went halfway down the inside of the inner hoop. I ran a line of Glue Dots Glue Lines (1″ size) all the way around the inside of the inner hoop, halfway down from the top of the hoop. I folded the excess linen over the hoop and mashed it against the glue lines. The craft-felt circle had a small bit of excess on it and I mashed that up the sides to cover the part of the glue lines that hadn’t been covered by the linen. This was all a happy accident that it worked out so wonderfully! I suspect when I actually try to plan for it to work out this beautifully, it will be more of a challenge ;-).

Right Hoop: Again, no gathering involved. I trimmed the excess linen so that when it was folded over it went all the way down the inside of the inner hoop. I ran a line of the Glue Lines all the way around the inside of the inner hoop, towards the bottom of the hoop. I folded the excess linen over the hoop and mashed it against the glue lines. For this craft-felt circle, I trimmed it to fit snugly inside the hoop, and wherever I could I tucked it just under the bottom edge of the hoop to help secure the felt — it’s really not secured in there any other way. Probably the only time I would use this variation would be if I oops’d and trimmed my felt too much to do the variation I used for the left hoop.

**Reminder: Be sure to trace the inner hoop onto a piece of craft felt before securing the needlework to the inner hoop!!**

Tutorial: Ribbon-Wrapped Embroidery Hoop

I’d made a similar tutorial in the past, but wasn’t happy with the photos. While making some ornaments recently, I snapped some better-quality photos for this tutorial.

Step 1:

Instead of white glue, hot glue, spray adhesive, or any other messy adhesive, I like to use the Scrapbook Adhesives brand of E-Z Runner 2-sided tape (which I find in the scrapbooking section of my local craft store).

I actually prefer to use the adhesive squares because they’re easier to manuever, but I’m out of those right now. One benefit to these little tiny adhesive strips is they are more transparent than the white squares (which are very opaque), and they don’t show through ribbons that are on the sheer side.

This is a 3″ embroidery hoop, and 63″ of ribbon. That’s enough ribbon to completely wrap the hoop and have about 16″ left over to make the hanger. The ribbon width is 3/8″, which is my preferred width.

Step 2:

I remove the screw from the hoop and then roll some of the adhesive strips onto the hoop, right where I want to begin wrapping my ribbon.

I put the adhesive strips on all 4 sides of the hoop, which is kinda tricky when using these little strips (but easier when using the adhesive squares). You can see that you don’t need a lot of adhesive, and it doesn’t have to be on there perfectly ;-). The wrapping of the ribbon will hold the ribbon onto the hoop — the adhesive strips are just to give the ribbon a little something to grab hold of.

Step 3:

I start wrapping from the underside and do one complete wrap straight-on, so that the ribbon is flush against the beginning of the hoop.

Then, starting with my next wrap, I begin wrapping the ribbon at an angle, just barely covering the edge of the prior wrap. This is strictly a personal preference; you could just as easily wrap the ribbon straight-on all the way around.

Hold the ribbon taut as you wrap, adjusting the angle as needed to keep the ribbon as flush against the prior wrap, and the hoop, as possible.

Step 4:

Okay, my hoop is almost totally wrapped at this point. I use a binder clip to hold my ribbon, so my hands are free to apply adhesive strips to the end of the hoop. (You can see the adhesive strips rolled on a lot better at the end than at the beginning!)

Step 5:

Once the adhesive strips have been applied to the end of the hoop, go ahead and finish wrapping the ribbon. I continue wrapping it at an angle until I’m nearly to the end of the hoop, at which point I wrap the last wrap straight-on, so that it’ll be flush against the end of the hoop.

To secure the ribbon, I apply a few strips of the adhesive to the underside of the hoop and adhere the end of the ribbon to it.

I’ve found that when you’re ready to insert the inner hoop + stitched project into the outer hoop, it’s helpful to slide the inner hoop WITH the direction of your ribbon wrapping. (This might make more sense when you are actually doing it!)

This helps apply tension on that last wrap of the ribbon and to keep it in place . . . whereas if you insert the inner hoop *against* the direction of the ribbon wrapping, you will likely un-adhere the end of the ribbon (because you will be pushing the inner hoop *against* the end of the ribbon wrapping). Hehe, that was one of those “duh” moments that I figured out the hard way ;-).

Done!