Finishing the Back of Hooped Embroidery

Framing in a Hoop
Mollie Johanson
Overview
  • Total Time: 60 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Embroidery hoops are a must-have tool for stitching, but they're also perfect for framing your finished embroidery. Learn how to frame your next embroidery piece in a simple wooden hoop. The hoop framing method is easy, inexpensive, and looks good hanging on a wall.

This tutorial shows just one of various ways framing in a hoop. It uses felt to cover the back of your work and includes an easy way to add a hanger for displaying the framed piece on the wall. It is especially suitable for gift pieces, as it looks more finished and professional than methods leaving an open back.

This technique isn't limited to embroidery and other needlework. It's also an option for framing quilt squares or plain fabric with a print you want to feature. Whatever you are framing, be sure to plan for finishing when choosing the hoop and the fabric size. There needs to be enough fabric to wrap around the back, or your felt backing won't stay in place or may be difficult to sew.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pencil
  • Fabric scissors for cutting felt and embroidery cloth
  • Thread (sewing, floss, perle cotton will all work)
  • Needle to match thread
  • Fabric glue for hanger (optional)

Materials

  • Embroidery hoop to be used as frame
  • Embroidery to be framed
  • Felt for backing, preferably wool or wool blend

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Backing

    Separate the pieces of the embroidery hoop. Place the inner hoop on top of the felt; with the pencil, trace around the hoop onto the felt. Cut out the felt circle and set aside.

    Tip

    Be careful to stay inside the drawn line as you cut out the backing to ensure your circle isn't too big. A circle that is too big can cause puckers and wrinkles on your backing.

    Trace the Inner Hoop on Felt
    Trace the Inner Hoop on Felt. Mollie Johanson
  2. Hoop and Trim the Embroidery

    Place your embroidery securely in the hoop. If you're using a vintage hoop that no longer will hold the fabric taut, wrap the inner hoop for better tension.

    When you press the outer hoop in place, make sure the inner hoop doesn't protrude in front. Don't push the outer hoop all the way down; leave the edge of the inner hoop exposed on the back to make it easier to sew.

    Trim off the excess material, leaving at least 1/2 inch and closer to 1 inch of fabric around the outside. 

    Trim the Excess Fabric
    Trim the Excess Fabric. Mollie Johanson
  3. Gather the Embroidery Fabric

    Thread a needle with enough thread to go all the way around the circle. Sewing thread, embroidery floss, or perle cotton will all work for this. Leave a 4 to 6 inch tail of thread as you start stitching.

    Using large running stitches and working about 1/4 inch from the fabric edge, sew around the circle of excess embroidery cloth.

    When you reach the beginning of the stitching, pull both ends of thread to gather the fabric tightly. The edge of the material should fold into the middle; tie the two ends of thread together securely with a double knot. Trim the thread.

    Gather the Excess Fabric
    Gather the Excess Fabric. Mollie Johanson
  4. Make a Hanger for the Backing

    Grab the circle of felt that you set aside.

    Cut a small strip of felt. Attach it near the top of the circle with a dab of fabric glue at each end, or stitch it in place with a few stitches at each end.

    Tip

    If you want to label the back of your work, this is the time to do it. Embroider your name, the date or a special message on the felt. Another option is to write or stitch onto twill tape and stitch that onto the felt.

  5. Stitch the Backing in Place

    Thread a needle with enough thread to go all the way around the circle and knot the end. Line up your hanger at the top and place the felt circle on the back of the embroidery. 

    • To hide the knot, insert the needle in the embroidery fabric below the edge that will be visible, come up on the edge where stitches will show, and continue through the felt. Pull the thread all the way through.

    Whipstitch the two edges together as follows using the sewing method, checking the alignment of the felt at the edges as you go.

    • Take the needle into the embroidery cloth straight across from where the thread comes out on the felt.
    • Bring the needle out diagonally to left or right (depending on your handedness) on the felt; pull through.

    Continue stitching around the edges, repeating the steps above until you have gone all the way around the hoop. Secure the end with a hidden knot.  

    Stitch the Felt to the Back
    Stitch the Felt to the Back. Mollie Johanson

More Ideas for Framing

Now your embroidery is ready for displaying, gifting, or even selling!

There are lots of other fun ways to personalize and embellish your framing hoop. For a classic look, use a vintage embroidery hoop. To give your frame some color, try painting your hoop. Borrow ideas for display, like using a chain, loop of ribbon, length of lace or fabric tied through the tightening screw as a hanger. There are so many creative ways to display your embroidery!