Frame your needlework in a hoop

Needlework framed in an embroidery hoop is known as ‘hoopla’. It’s one of the easiest and prettiest ways to show off your masterpiece.

1. Plan to cover the back of your hoopla? While you still can, take your inside hoop and with a pencil/pen trace its outer contour onto the felt or no-fray fabric you intend to use for the back. Then put it aside for later.

Tracing the inner hoop

2. If you want to jazz up your hoop, now’s the time to brighten things up. Just make sure your hoop’s dry before moving on.

3. Consider adding a backing fabric like calico if you embroidered a fine fabric (eg silk) or very open-weave fabric (eg a low count aida). It’ll avoid your hoopla being too see-through. Make sure both fabrics are crease-free and ready for display, and align the grains of the fabric wherever possible, before mounting them together in the hoop.

4. Frame your masterpiece in the hoop with the screw at 12 o’clock. Once you’re happy that it’s well positioned, pull the fabric taught all the way round and tighten the screw with a screwdriver. Tug, screw, tug, screw, tug, screw… until it can go no further.

Screwing the hoop

5. Trim the fabric(s) 1.5” or 4cm away from the hoop edge.

6. Grab some buttonhole thread (or similarly sturdy thread) and thread your needle with enough of it to circle the whole hoop. Leave a long tail when you knot the end.

7. Starting top down, make a running stitch in the middle of the seam allowance. If you used a backing fabric, stitch through both layers of fabric at the same time, as evenly as possible.

Making a running stitch around the hoopla

8. Once you’ve stitched the full circle, take the thread ends and pull them together to gather the fabric. Knot the thread in place to secure the pleats. Voila, be proud.

Gathering the excess fabric

Adding a back cover

1. If you want to add a signature or secret message to your hoopla, now’s the best time to draw or stitch it onto your backing fabric.

2. Cut your backing felt or no-fray fabric to the size of your embroidery – to the edge of the inside hoop. If you traced the inside hoop’s contour onto the fabric earlier, give yourself a gold star.

3. Thread your needle with enough buttonhole thread (or similarly thick thread) to circle the hoop one and a half times.

4. Starting from back to front, whip stitch the back cover to the gathered seam, close to the hoop. A beautiful finish, easily done.

Whip stitching around the hoop


Stitched back cover

A final flourish

If you want to hang your hoopla on the wall, grab a length of ribbon – it’s both practical and pretty. Simply make a loop and tie it to the screw. Want to hide the screw? Tie a big beautiful bow in front of it.



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