Framing up a frame might seem like one of the most basic things you could possibly do in embroidery, and in truth, it is. But here are a few little tips that might help to bring your embroidery up a knotch just in the preparation of your stitching:
1. Ironing your Fabric
For embroidery, you want a nice, flat, even surface on which to embroider as this will help to create consistent tension. Any creases in the fabric represent an area of fabric that has already been distorted before you begin. A crease will have lesser tension than the rest of the fabric and therefore has the potential to become a gather or pucker whilst you work therefore if you give it an iron before you begin you should be able to illuminate this risk. (Always test your fabric somewhere inconspicuous first before ironing all over and follow the ironing instructions for that fabric if provided)
Within the frame, whilst you work, you put pressure on the fabric which can change the tension. Wrapping your frame in calico or a similar fabric provides a bit more of a grippy surface for the fabric to pull against and maintain your tension (see our previous blog on this for more details). You may also find for some fabrics that the calico provides the extra bonus of a little padding which can decrease your chances of having frame marks on your fabric when you finish.
3. Pressing on the Frame
You’ve ironed your fabric beautifully flat, and your frame is wrapped to perfection. All that is left is to put the fabric in the hoop, how you do that can also makes a difference, particularly if you have a seat or clamp frame. Put the top side of your hoop face down on a table, lie the fabric centrally over the hoop then place the inside of the frame within in. You are looking for the part of the outer hoop that has the bolt in it to be smoothly within the hoop first. This is because it is the area of highest pressure due to the bolt and the ends of the hoop being there so if this goes in first, the pressure created when we push the frame into place is displaced equally around the hole curve of the hoop rather than condensed onto these corners.
4. Respect your Frame
This last one is more of a bug bear for us, but getting into this good habit will increase the lifespan of your frame. Anytime you want to look at the underside of your embroidery, loosen the screw that attached the frame to the stick so that it can move easily. When this screw is tight, is it what is holding your frame at your desired angle to work on, so when you force it up and down, inevitably over time the screw will loosen and no longer be able to support the weight of the frame at your preferred angle (plus it makes a horrible screech). Loosening it will give it a much better chance of serving you long and well.
Hope you found this helpful!