Pro Tips: Wrapping your frame

Picture of Natasha Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

10” Table Clamp Frame

When you are purchasing your embroidery equipment, there is often a lot of emphasis put on the exciting and more unusual looking tools like the tambour hooks and stilettos (see the specialist equipment section if you are not sure what these are). However, your trusty frame is just as important if not quite as exciting.

If you have ever seen a pro working on their hoop frame you may have noticed that at least one side if often covered with calico. This is because the calico creates a bit of friction for your framed up fabric to pull against to help stop it from slipping when you are working.

The wrappings also have a secondary advantage of adding a little bit of padding to your frame which can reduce ring marks on some more delicate fabrics. (Bonus!)

You will need:

  • An Embroidery Frame
  • A long strip of calico (depending on the size of your frame) 1 inch wide
  • x2 threaded up needles with a knot at the end
  • A pair of scissors
  • Possibly a pin or two


  1. Start by cutting or tearing yourself a nice long strip of calico, approx 1 inch wide is great, narrower will make you a lot more work and wider than that will start to get a bit flappy
  2. Take a needle and some thread with a knot in the end and use it to secure the first wrap or two over your frame
  3. Do one more wrap and stitch through that a few times as well until it feels secure to itself, then knot the thread off
  4. If it is slipping around the wood of the frame at this point don’t worry, just hold it in place for now and the tension from your proceeding wraps will keep it in place later
  5. Working in the same wrapping direction as you began, keep wrapping around your frame
  6. Be sure to use one hand to hold the last wrap to keep the tension of the calico as tight as possible
  7. If you run out of calico before you have come to the end of your frame, don’t worry just cut another strip of the same width and stitch it securely to the end of your existing strip (a few rows of running stitch across the strip will do it), then carry on wrapping
  8. Once you have come to the end, grab your second needle and stitch through several of the layers of wrapping, wrap once more and stitch through that too like you did at the beginning
  9. Cut off the excess threads and calico end
  10. You are set up like a pro now, well done! Now start some beautiful stitching!

We have shown this on one of our frames which we sell in the specialist equipment section for the demo. These come in two styles, seat and table clamp, though the hoop parts of them are the same and interchangeable.  This is why the inner ring has the stick bit on it but this will work on other wooden hoop frames too.

We use calico in the studio, however other pros have also been know to like a velvet ribbon instead of a strip of calico which can give a bit more grip, but may put more pressure on the adjuster as it will make the frame deeper. Give them both a try and see what you prefer, or if you find something else you like to use, please share your pro tip with us! The choice is yours…

Feel free to share your embroidery with us using the #londonembroideryschool for your chance to be our student of the month.

10” Seat Frame

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