Do you have a stash of gorgeous fabric that's too good to be hidden away? Why not create a beautiful display and showcase your collection on your wall? In this tutorial you will discover how to use embroidery hoops to frame your fabrics. You will also learn how to create a feature hoop with an embroidered word and how to make a double-fabric hoop. Let's get started.
Choose nine small pieces of printed fabric that work well together. For a rainbow effect, use the colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Make sure the patterns on the fabric are small and subtle.
Place your hoops on a big surface and work out their positions. When you are happy with the composition of the hoops, allocate a piece of fabric to each hoop, in the order of the colour spectrum. Some hoops can have two different colours (you will learn how to join the fabrics later on).
Play around with your fabrics and hoops until you're happy with the placement. Take a photo so you can refer back to it throughout the making process.
Before dealing with the fabric, create some felt circles for the backing of your hoops. Dismantle your embroidery hoops and place the inner wooden rings on your felt. Trace the outline of the circle with a pen and carefully cut out the shape.
You should now have six circles of felt for the back side of your hoops.
2. Make a Simple Fabric Hoop
Iron your fabric. You have already removed the inner ring of your hoop. Now place the inner ring of one hoop on your working surface and then lay the allocated fabric over the top. Now, take the outer ring of the embroidery hoop and loosen the tension. Place it on top of the fabric and push down firmly.
Tighten the adjustment screw of the embroidery hoop to secure the position of the fabric.
Now, just pull the fabric nice and firmly to straighten it completely and tighten the adjustment screw if needed. Your fabric should feel like the surface of a drum.
Trim the excess fabric at the back of the hoop to a width of around 2cm (1 in.) wide.
Warm your glue gun for five minutes. When ready, add some glue to the top or inner ring of your hoop, avoiding the fabric inside the hoop.
Quickly fold the excess fabric inwards.
Keep on gluing and folding the fabric in the same direction around your hoop.
Now you need to attach the felt circles you made in the beginning. So, add some more glue on top of the folded fabric.
Carefully lay the felt circle on top of the glue and press it firmly on the inner face of the hoop.
Now you've got a clean and tidy backing on your hoop.
3. Make a Double Fabric Hoop
First, lay your two fabrics next to each other and place the hoop on top of them. Now, mark the fabric length needed, leaving a 2-3cm (1 in.) distance at each side of your hoop.
Cut the two fabrics in the marked dimensions.
Now, lay one fabric on top of the other with the 'correct' side of the pattern facing inwards. Sew the two pieces of fabric together by using back-stitch or your sewing machine, leaving a zone of about 1cm (0.5 in.) from the edges of the fabric.
Open the two joined pieces of fabric and fold the edges of the seam. Then iron the double fabric to prepare it for the hoop. To make the fabric hoop, follow the procedure above, as if you had a single piece of fabric.
4. Add an Embroidered 'Smile'
Now you can make a feature hoop by embroidering a word across the fabric. In this tutorial, I used the word 'smile'. Click on the pattern below to download and print. This pattern works best in a 21cm (8 in.) embroidery hoop.
Tape the printed pattern on a window and tape the ironed fabric on top. You should be able to see the word through the fabric. Light colored fabrics work best for this technique. Now, using the transfer pen, trace over the word on to your fabric. If you like, you can join the letter 's' to the letter 'm' by adding a small connecting line.
Cut the embroidery thread to about 65cm (25 in) long. Separate two embroidery threads (or floss) and thread the needle. Knot the end.
I've used stem stitch (sometimes called crewel) to embroider the word. This is a stitch that looks like a rope and it's perfect for outlines and curving lines. Pass the needle from the back side of your hoop going upwards and exit exactly at the lower left corner of the first letter 's'. You are going to stitch forwards, going from left to right. So start by taking a stitch length forward (right).
Now, bring your needle up about half-way between the beginning and the end of the stitch, keeping your working thread below the needle and pull the thread. For the next stitch, go a stitch length forward and bring your needle up exactly at the end of the previous stitch and pull through.
Once you get the grasp of it, you can stitch faster and bring your needle directly upwards. Continue stitching the whole line in the same way. At the end of the line, make a last stitch and come back up at the beginning of the curved line of the letter 's'.
Keep on stitching along the line forming the letter 's'. Try to keep the twist of the stitch consistent by keeping the thread always below the needle. To move to the next letter, you need to move a bit forward to reach the connecting point. In order to do this neatly, turn at the back side of your embroidery and roll your thread around the stitches at the lower line of letter 's'. Once you reach the point, bring your needle up to the front and continue with the next line.
Continue stitching all the letters of the word in the same way. The word is a continuous line so you won't have trouble. The only other tricky point is once you reach the letters 'l' and 'e', where there is a crossing of lines. All you need to do is stitch over the embroidered line and then bring your needle up exactly below the line to continue your path. Also, it is best to leave the dot of the 'i' for the end. To make the dot, first make a knot to secure the thread, make one single stitch and then come back to make a second knot.
Once you've stitched all the letters, secure the thread by knotting at the back side and snipping any excess thread. Now, rinse the fabric with water to remove any visible marker signs and then, when it is dry, iron out any wrinkles. Insert the fabric into the hoop, along with the backing felt, as described above.
Hang Your Rainbow Hoops!
Now your rainbow hoops are ready to decorate any space. They look fantastic in kids' rooms. Just hang them by using nails or temporary hooks on your wall.
In this tutorial I've shown you how to make a simple wall decoration using rainbow-colored fabric and embroidery hoops. You've learned how to make a simple fabric hoop, as well as how to join two fabrics within one hoop. You've also learned how to make a feature hoop by embroidering a word in seed stitch.
You can use these techniques to create all kinds of wall decorations. You can personalise them by embroidering a name on to one of the hoops.
Did you enjoy this tutorial? Have you used embroidery hoops for a crafty project before? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.
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