Things are finally starting to get quite busy around here again! School started for the second term yesterday, so full-time studenting commences for yet another crazy busy semester. Design school isn’t all arts and crafts, haha. In the midst of school, I am trying to find ways to schedule embroidery within that, as i attempt to make time for pattern planning, post writing, and photo taking (on top of the excessive amount of stitching I have to do!). Don’t get me wrong, I love stitching, but it can be incredibly time consuming. 1 piece can often take many many hours or even weeks to complete, and in my case it usually takes weeks because I am one heck of a procrastinator.
After taking all of that time to complete a piece though, one of the most satisfying parts of the process can be backing the hoop and calling it finished. More often than not, the back of an embroidery hoop can be just as beautiful as the front. In the embroidery world, we informally call this the “hoop booty”. Yes, yes, it sounds a bit childish, but realistically we are all just big children running around with sharp needles and scissors. For the most part, every embroidery artist backs their hoops a little bit differently, given that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Some people place a second layer of fabric to protect the back, some people tie off the excess fabric behind as a barrier, and some people (like me!) leave the back exposed to the world!
I thought that I could write this brief little tutorial as behind the scenes peak at what it is that i do, as well as giving beginners a sense of where to start (or end in this case!). As i said before, this certainly isn’t the only way to do it, but it’s the method I am using currently, and I am quite content with the final results. Without further adieu:
How I back my Embroidery Hoops!
SO! Excusing the quality of these photos ( taken in my dark little basement apartment with my iphone), this is my process! To begin, all you really need is your Embroidery art in all of it’s completed glory, the hoop itself, a pair of scissors, and a hot glue gun! DO NOT use wet glue as it tends to be messy, and depending on your fabric will more than likely soak right through!
One of your first steps (not photographed) is to remove your art from the hoop and lay it out flat. If you used a special fabric pen that requires you to use water or air to remove it, then follow the instructions that come with your particular pen. Once the pen marks have been removed, iron out your piece. This ensures that when we stretch the fabric over the final hoop, there won’t be any wrinkles. This part of the process also gives you the opportunity to re-align your art with the hoop to your liking.
Once the art has been pressed and placed back on the hoop, it’s time to pull out the scissors. cut the excess fabric around the back of the hoop, leaving at most a 1/4 inch excess around the edges. The slight excess is important for the glue stage.
Once all of the extra fabric has been removed, glue around the inner edge of the hoop. Don’t use too much. If the glue touches the fabric on the back of the art itself, it might go through the fabric ( I say this from personal experience!). Also, do not glue the entire hoop before pressing the fabric down. Glue about 3 inches at a time, and then follow behind with your finger, pressing the fabric down onto the glue. Press tightly to ensure it wont come off, and to keep a clean edge. Do this all the way around the inside of the hoop.
And that’s it. That’s the process! nothing laborious or difficult about it. It doesn’t take long – like, not even 5 minutes. This method has worked for me quite well, and I love leaving hoop booty exposed. It’s kind of neat to be able to see the process of the piece just based on the chaos of the back. I hope to eventually experiment with some sort of laser cut pieces to cover the back, but still expose it… of course it sounds contradicting, but I really don’t know how else to describe it.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope that maybe this method will be helpful to you!
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