✂ – – – displaying embroidery in a hoop – – – ✂ [from Hell to Breakfast]

I’ve received a few hooped embroideries in swaps over the years, and noticed that none of them were ever finished off properly. Which is a shame, because after the considerable time and effort that no doubt went into the stitching of the pieces, the final presentation can go all sad and pear-shaped if the finishing stage was rushed through—usually carried out with nothing, it seems, but a pair of scissors and the lazy idea that no one will see the back of the piece.

After all, I see the back of the piece…and rough, choppy cuts, or messy webs of loose and flimsy lacing, or excess fabric forcibly stuffed into the back cavity of the hoop, these measures speak volumes about the “crafty goddesses” who made them, and their priorities, and the level of their skills. C’mon, all that fuss and preening over a “handmade” front, and then this muddle of a “Made in the slums of India” hidden in the back? It’s a crying shame.

So when I got my faux crocheted doily hooped up, I took a few snaps of the steps, and have put together a very simple, quick how-to over on H2B.

Seriously, it takes hardly any time—10 minutes?—to finish an embroidery this way, yet it looks like someone clearly took the time and made an effort to care for the entire embroidery, and not just make sure the front looked pretty long enough to take a picture (and the hell with what it looks like in a week’s time)!

People. Show some genuine pride in your handwork; try to make a thing of beauty and quality…something made to last and treasure…not just some eye-candy held together with tape and blu-tack that falls apart a week after you’ve shown it off on the interwebs. Put some effort into doing things right.

What is the point of a handmade revolution that has espoused the shoddy manufacturing techniques of sweatshops and factories in China? Stop giving “handmade” a shitty reputation. Be worthy of the movement, if a movement is what you claim to be part of.

Let’s put some craftsmanship into the thousands of internet personas who style themselves “Mr. or Ms. Crafty So-and-so”

Tutorial is here: Displaying embroidery in a hoop | from Hell to Breakfast.


9 thoughts on “✂ – – – displaying embroidery in a hoop – – – ✂ [from Hell to Breakfast]

  1. Thanks for this tutorial. For a long time I have been gluing the fabric to the hoop but now I realise that if I ever wanted to use the embroidery for something else or clean it that would be impossible. Thanks for expanding my world.


  2. to each his own Nat, your way is simple and elegant and It makes it really easy to reinvent the piece into something different…I like it….My friend Lynnie calls it crappy craft…when it is made and finished with tacky materials, or the front and the purpose are great but the rest is shoddy …and some are never happy unless they can produce 70 of these tragic pieces….I think we are back to Craft vs Art again Nat….

    I have a question for you…I have some old cross stitches my friend did for the kids….clearly they are well past ducks and their birth details on the wall in a hoop..I don’t think they all made it to the wall… but they were done with love and care and are special….I was thinking of putting them into a photo album….How can I stretch them and have them be thin and sit nice…
    I was thinking of stretching them over cardboard and mounting that to the page….
    any ideas would be good…thanks Shazz


  3. Great tutorial. Before I knew how to properly finish a piece, I committed the crime of slipping. Once I learned this method, I was horrified by what I’d previously done. Live and learn!


    1. I shot my mouth off again, didn’t I? *sheepish* Never mean to come across as forcefully as I do. Just trying to ram the message home, I guess. Doh! Thanks for visiting (and being so patient!)


  4. oh, the tutorial wouldn’t display for me first time – I’ve never seen that way of doing it with a neat gather before, its like a big purse, very pretty

    do some people really display those without any finish at the back?


  5. I thought the whole point of displaying soemthing like that was that you sewed a piece of plain fabirc over the back to cover the messy bits?

    see, I think of myself as lazy, but even I’m not that idle


    1. Hi, Tanya! Like I said, I’ve quite a few hooped pieces sent to me where the fabric was simply cut, right up to the edge of the hoop, and left like that. The method in this post is a compromise between what some people might think is the too time-consuming method of stitching fabric over the back, and its extreme opposite, cropping it off with a pair of scissors so that it looks neat for about three days, before the fabric starts to go saggy.
      A lot of embroiderers leave the hoop backs open, because what the stitching looks like on the back is, I’m told, a point of interest to the pros. It’s even a condition in some competitions. I’ve seen old ladies at Royal Shows turn an embroidery over and spend more time looking at the back than the front. 😉
      I left mine open because it won’t be a hooped display for very long…I’ll most likely take it out of the hoop and do something else with it.
      Thank you for your straightforward comments. LOL


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