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Finishing Your Design

Once you have finished your design, trim along the edges of the fabric. You should leave at least 2 or 3 inches on all sides if you are framing the piece. When trimming, make sure you stay between the same two threads along the whole side. If you didn't leave enough fabric, sew muslin strips to the edges. Zigzag the trimmed edges to prevent fraying. The next step is to clean your design.

If your piece needs to be blocked, try gently pulling it back into shape. A carpenter's corner square (a clean one) is easy to checking the squareness of your fabric. Place your fabric face down on your ironing board then lightly dampen with a clean spray bottle. Work it back into shape using the corner square as a guide. Pin your fabric to your ironing board cloth with stainless steel pins as you work. Leave the fabric pinned while it dries. Remove the pins and iron the fabric. You can lightly dampen it again if needed to remove any bumps or creases. This should leave your fabric square, if not, repeat the process. If you need to iron the front of your design, use a pressing cloth to protect your threads.


If you are having your piece professionally framed, be sure the framer is experienced in working with needlework. You don't want the stitches or the fabric touching the glass. Choose a matte and frame that will compliment the colours in your design. If your design is delicate, don't use a heavy frame. Sometimes simpler is better. Do not use cardboard, glue or masking tape for the backing of your design. Use a proper mounting board to protect from chemicals. Make sure your framer understands that any products containing acids will ruin your piece. The Yarn Tree distributes mounting boards made by Press-On Products.

Centre your piece over the mounting board. The board should be 1/8 of an inch smaller than the inside of your frame. Lightly stretch your design over the board, keeping it straight. Fold the corners and secure them with a straight pin. With quilting thread, begin lacing the back. Start on the right hand long side of your design, and sew like you are lacing a shoe. Keep your stitches ˝ to 1 inch apart and fairly taut, being careful that your piece stays straight. Repeat the process for the short sides of your piece. Be sure to remove the pins once the lacing is done. Place your matte board into the frame…be sure it is acid free matte board. Use a thick enough matte or layers of matting to keep your piece from touching the glass in the frame. You don't want squished stitches.

The type of glass you choose is important too. Standard glass is fine. Non-glare glass will not protect your piece from ultraviolet rays. There is glass on the market of conservation and UV protective quality, but can be very expensive.

Pre-Finished Products

There are many items on the market that offer alternatives to the framing of your cross-stitch piece. Sometimes you stitch directly on a product, such as a baby bib or a towel. Other times you insert the piece into an item, such as a jewelry box, plastic cup, or calendar. If you are making a bib, towel, or pillow, make sure to rinse your floss prior to sewing, and don't use floss that needs special care. Adam Originals is one manufacturer of pre-finished products.