MOUNTING EMBROIDERY

To ensure that a finished embroidery is mounted correctly to go into a picture frame it is often best if we can do it ourselves so that we know that it is mounted onto acid free board with out glues or tape that can cause acid erosion over time. It also allows us to purchase a premade frame saving money on custom framing costs. A lot of the designs that I sell will fit well in 8 inch by 10 inch frames or larger with a 8 inch by 10 inch mat board.

Below outlines one method in which an embroidery can be mounted.

You will require a piece of acid free board. You may need to approach a custom framer to purchase a sheet or if you are lucky some good art stores and craft stores will have them for sale. There are several types. The type I use is 8 ply which is thick acid free board through the whole core not just the surface. If you cannot get 8 ply then use 4 ply acid free board, you can glue two pieces of acid free board together to make it thicker which also makes it easier to pin the fabric onto the board. There is also acid free foam core, which is not as easy to pull the fabric tight on as the board can bow but it is good when there is no other board available.  Do not use regular mat board as the acid in the paper will leach into the fabric and threads and rot the fabric and thread over time - generally in a space of 6 - 10 years the fabric becomes discoloured going brown and will start rotting.

Cut a piece of acid free board on which to mount the embroidery. If you have purchased a frame you can cut the board to fit into the frame. Measure the opening at the back of the frame and cut the acid free board 1/8th of an inch (3 mm) smaller. For instance if you have an 8 inch by 10 inch frame then you can cut the acid free board 7 7/8 by 9 7/8 inches, this allows a little room for the fabric that is wrapped around the edge of the board. Place the board into the back of the frame to make sure it is not too big or too small.

Place the embroidery over the board making sure that it is central. Measure from the sides of the actual embroidery to the sides of the board, the fabric showing on each side of the embroidery should be the same measurement. Also measure from the top and the bottom of the actual embroidery to the edge of the board, the fabric showing at the top and and the bottom of the embroidery should be the same measurement but it does not have to be the same measurement as the sides of the embroidery.

Using dress making pins with large heads pin the fabric to the edge of the board so that the fabric is central. When pinning on the fabric start on one side at the center and pin out to the corners. Then do the same for the opposite side pulling fabric tight. Do the same for the other two sides. Check the measurements again, if one side has a wider fabric edge then repin the side taking one pin out at a time, pulling the fabric and repining it. Continue checking the position of the embroidery repining the fabric on the board so that it is very tight and central, with no puckers and so the design is not warped on the board. Once the embroidery is pinned in place, hold the frame over the embroidery to check that the design fits nicely in the frame.

Lace the fabric to the back of the board using a very strong upholstery thread. It is easiest to use the thread single so the thread should be strong enough that you cannot snap it with your hands. Use a needle with a sharp point and long shaft so it is easy to hold such as a chenille needle. Cut a very long piece of the upholstery thread, about 1 yard or 1 meter long and thread one end into the needle and knot the other end.

Fold one side of the fabric to the back of the board (I usually do the wider side of the board first) and start the thread in the fabric on one side of the board. Work about three back stitches in one spot about 1/4 of an inch or 6 mm long to anchor the thread. Take the needle across the board to the fabric strip on the other side of the board and do a back stitch through the fabric for a length of about  1/4 of an inch or 6 mm long. Pool the thread at the center of the board so that it is less likely to catch on the dress makers pins.

Take the thread back to the opposite side and work another back stitch about 1/4 of an inch to 1/2 and inch (6 mm to 12 mm) to the right of the previous stitch.

Continue switching back and forth from one side of the board to the other side of board working a back stitch through the fabric. The back stitches do not all have to be worked at the same height, it is better to vary the positioning of the stitches so that there is not excessive pulling on one thread of the fabric. When the thread is crossed over the previous stitch a herringbone effect is created. Pull the stitches very tight as you are working. When you start running out of thread, go back to the first stitch and pull the stitch and consecutive stitches tight pulling up any slack, you will find you will have more thread to work with.

If you run out of thread as you are working across the board, do not finish the thread off, instead cut a new length of thread and tie the new thread to the end of the old thread with a couple of secure knots. Thread the other end of the new thread into the needle and continue working the herringbone stitch.

 You may have to start a new thread several times using this method, always pull the stitches tight before knotting the old and new thread together.

The herringbone stitches on the back of the work should be very tight like guitar strings. When one side has been stitched then finish the thread with several back stitches in one spot and cut the thread.

    Lace the two strips of fabric on the other sides of the board in the same method. If the fabric that you are sewing to the back of the board is really thick you may want to trim a square of fabric out of each corner so that the fold at the corners are flatter. Otherwise you can just fold the ends in and fold the fabric over.

The first two back stitches at the beginning, at the top and the stitch at the bottom and also the last stitches at the top and bottom can be sewn through the layer of fabric on the side that you are working on and through the layer of the side already laced. This will help stop the fabric from pulling into the center of the board.

                        You can take out the pins of the first two sides that have been herringboned if you find that the thread is tangling on the pins.

When the second two sides have been herringboned then the all the pins can be removed. When the pins have been removed there should be no puckers in the fabric on the front of the work and all the herringbone stitches should be tight.

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Tanja Berlin © Berlin Embroidery Designs  

Address: 1481 Hunterbrook Road NW, Calgary, Alberta T2K 4V4, Canada Telephone: (403) 274 6293  Email: tanja@berlinembroidery.com