"How do you finish the back of an embroidery hoop?" 

I get asked this question quite often.  And understandably so; finishing a hoop can be a bit bewildering, until you know a few tricks. Then it's easy. 

There are several ways to finish the back of a hoop, but personally I have two favourites. Today I'll share Method 1: the beautiful, albeit time consuming way.  

How to finish an embroidery hoop: method one.

 

You'll need:

  • your finished embroidery
  • the hoop in which you'd like to display it
  • scissors, needle, embroidery thread and/or sewing thread, and a pen
  • a piece of felt (ideally coordinating with your finished piece)

STEP ONE:First of all, we're going to cut a piece of felt to use as the backing. Grab your felt and the inner ring of the hoop you're using, and use a pen to trace around the outside edge of the ring, as shown below. Then use scissors to trim it exactly on this line. You should have a neat little circle of felt, just the same size as your inner hoop. Set it aside for now.

How to finish an embroidery hoop: trim your backing.

STEP TWO:Place your finished embroidery in the hoop, taking care to align the design with the hardware at the top so that it looks perfectly centred. Pull the fabric as taut as possible (but not so taut as to distort the image) and tighten the screw as much as you can; using your fingers first, and a screwdriver second (if your hoop's hardware has that option). 

Finish your embroidery hoop: centre the stitching in the hoop.

STEP TWO:Trim the excess fabric, leaving about 1" to work with. I used pinking shears but you don't have to as this part will be hidden by the time we're finished. Then, grab some thread and a needle; again, this part will be hidden, so it doesn't really matter what you use. I've used a bright blue so you can see my stitching easily. Start at any point and take large running stitches all around the outside edge of the fabric.  Be sure to use a long enough piece of thread that you can go all around the outside of the hoop.

Finish your embroidery hoop: trim and start stitching.

STEP THREE:When you get back to where you started, pull your thread and the stitches will magically tighten up your fabric, as shown below. When it is nicely gathered on the inside of the hoop, tie a sturdy knot - or take a few stitches to anchor the thread, as I did. 

Back your embroidery hoop: tighten and anchor your thread.

STEP FOUR:Take your felt circle and lay it on the back of your hoop. Thread your needle with whatever you'd like to use (I used regular sewing thread, doubled, but you could use embroidery floss or pearl cotton if you like) and whipstitch around the entire perimeter of the circle:

Back your embroidery hoop: layer on backing felt.

Back your embroidery hoop: whipstitch backing felt in place.

Back your embroidery hoop: almost done!

My felt never comes out perfectly flat when I do this, as you can see in the photo below; but you can smooth it out as you go and just do the best you can to get it flat.

Back your embroidery hoop: smooth out any wrinkles.

Back your embroidery hoop: the neat and tidy results

For bonus points: if you are making this as a gift, why not write or embroider a message to the recipient on the felt backing before you attach it? 

Voila! One finished hoop, neat and tidy, ready for display. It takes a little while to do it, but the results are so very pretty; and I always feel better about my finished work when I know it is complete on the back as well as the front.

What do you think - would you use this method?