Great Frame Ups

Barbara Weiland
Great Frame Ups

Whether framing a photo of a child or pet, the recipients are sure to love the personalized touch of an embroidery motif chosen just for them.

General Supplies

  • Embroidery, bobbin and sewing thread 
  • Temporary spray adhesive   
  • Chalk or removable marker
  • Non-stick pressing sheet or parchment paper

Lovely linen (on pg. 57)

Tone-on-tone hearts and scrolls lend an heirloom look to the linen backdrop for this classic frame. Use it to show off a sepia-toned bridal miniature or a vintage photo of a special family member. Adjust the design length to fill the frame by adding more repeats of the heart-and-scroll motif to create an opening best suited to your photo.


Note: Finished Size is 8" square with a 21⁄4" center opening.

  • 15" square ecru/tan linen  
  • Tear-away stabilizer 
  • 15" square fusible knit interfacing
  • 1⁄2"-wide double-sided fusible web   
  • 5" square double-sided fusible web   
  • 8" square matboard with 21⁄4"-square opening in center   
  • 77⁄8" square heavy card stock for backing 
  • 8"x10" easel-back cardboard that can be trimmed to 8" square    
  • Double-sided tape    
  • Craft knife    
  • Seam sealant; craft or fabric glue    
  • Border embroidery design of your choice. Note: Or combine smaller motifs to create your own border.    
  • Embroidery software with customizing and stitch-editing capabilities

Embroidery preparation    

Choose a border design and create a right-angle frame with the outer dimensions approximately 51⁄2" square (sample design is 1" wide). Adjust the design size as needed in embroidery software. Add a motif to each corner by extracting an element from the border design using stitch editing software capabilities. For the sample, a portion of the border design was placed on a 45° angle in each corner. Using color sorting tools in customizing software, combine colors to eliminate excessive thread changes if available.

Note: If a complete design can fit into an available extra large hoop for your machine, copy and paste a second right angle border combination, rotate it 180° and then position it to make a complete frame.

  • Print or stitch a template to aid in design placement.
  • Save the new design and transfer it to your machine.

Placement Planning

To plan the frame design:

  • Draw a frame-opening rectangle on a large sheet of paper using the dimensions desired. The opening should be 1⁄2" smaller than the photo dimensions. For example, the opening for a 4” x 6" print should be 31⁄2"x 51⁄2". 
  • Print or stitch several of each embroidery design desired and arrange them around the opening edge on the paper. Be sure to leave some space between the innermost edge of the motif and the frame opening.
  • If software is available, manipulate the designs as needed to create individual design files for the vertical and horizontal sides of the frame.
  • Draw the outer frame edge on the paper the desired width—again leaving some space beyond the motif outermost edge. Tape the motifs in place as a reference for placement.
  • Cut out the paper frame as a guide for marking the fabric.
  • On the fabric, use the paper frame as a pattern and use chalk or use another removable marker to draw the frame opening and outer edges. t Mark the cross marks for each design (A).
A Mark cross marks for each design.


 outer demension of frame



 breathing space






  • Apply lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the 15" linen square, following the manufacturer’s directions. The fusible interfacing will prevent raveling where fabric clipping is necessary.
  • Using removable marker, mark the cross marks on the square; draw a 21⁄4" square in the center of the fabric. Machine- or hand-baste along the lines of the frame opening with matching thread. Mark the outer 8" square. Using the template, mark the design center points.
  • Hoop the stabilizer, spray with temporary adhesive and adhere the fabric to the stabilizer aligning the cross marks.
  • Embroider the entire design using a large hoop or each design individually by re-hooping.
  • When the embroidery is complete, un-hoop and remove the stabilizer.


  • Trim the embroidered linen to 13" square. Be sure to keep the embroidery centered within the frame fabric.
  • On the wrong side, center the 5" square of adhesive fusible web in the center of the embroidered frame; trim if necessary. Apply the fusible web to the fabric following the manufacturer’s directions; allow to cool.
  • Use the craft knife to cut an “X” in the center of the embroidered square; clip with scissors from the center to each inner corner.
  • Apply fusible web to the four edges of the opening and outer edges on the right side of the matboard. Allow to cool; remove the backing paper on the strips around the opening edges only.
  • Position the embroidered fabric right side up on top of the matboard. Turn the slashed center fabric to the inside around the opening and use straight pins to secure the fabric to the matboard edges (B).
B Turn slashed center fabric to inside around opening and use straight pins to secure fabric to matboard edges.


  • Place a non-stick pressing sheet or a piece of parchment paper on the ironing board to protect it from the fusible web. Position the matboard with the pinned linen on top and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Fuse the fabric in place around the opening edge on the right side of the board. Flip the board and fuse the fabric to the wrong side of the board around the opening edge. Remove the pins.
  • Apply 1⁄2"-wide fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric along the outermost edges (leave the protective paper in place). Remove the backing paper on the fusible web around the outer edges of the matboard.
  • Turn the excess linen to the back of the board, making sure it is snug, smooth and pucker free; pin in place along the outer edges of the matboard; the fabric should grab the fusible web adhesive, making it easy to get a smoothly finished frame. If the linen grainline is obvious, work from the center to the outside corners, pinning as you go and keeping the grainlines straight and perpendicular to each other. Fuse in place around the outer edges.
  • Remove the backing paper on the remaining fusible web on the back of the fabric. Fuse the fabric to the back of the matboard, creating flat mitered corners (C).
C Fuse fabric to back of matboard, creating flat mitered corners.

  • Apply double-sided tape to three of the four sides on the card stock and to the outer edges of the fabric-covered matboard. Position the card stock on the back of the fabric frame and leave for several hours to ensure adhesion.
  • Use double-sided tape to adhere the card stock to the back of the easel back cardboard.
  • Place the desired picture into the frame through the open edge in the easel frame backing.

If necessary, treat the clipped corners with liquid seam sealant (only after testing to make sure it dries clear on the fabric). A drop of clear-drying craft or fabric glue can be substituted if the seam sealant discolors the fabric. 














Achieve an antique look with a linen fabric base and simple embroidery motifs in tone-on-tone colors.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Beaded jewel-bright paisley motifs sparkle on a lustrous silk dupioni background to create this padded fabric frame.

Supplies Note: Finished size is 9"x11" with an opening of 31⁄2" x 51⁄2" (fits 4" x 6" photo).

  • 15" x 17" piece silk dupioni for embroidery background 
  • 15" x 17" piece fusible knit interfacing 
  • 9" x 11" piece 1⁄4"-thick foam core board with a 31⁄2" x 51⁄2" straight-cut opening cut in the center (not a beveled cut)  
  • 9" x 11" piece of matboard (in color to coordinate with fabric) 
  • 8" x 10" easel back cardboard
  • 4" x 6" sheet of fusible web  
  • 9" x 11" and 11" x 13" rectangles of fusible batting 
  • 1 yard of 3⁄8"-wide grosgrain or velvet ribbon 
  • 1 yard of 1⁄4"-wide fusible web   
  • Craft knife
  • Beading needle 
  • Assorted seed beads 
  • Beading thread 
  • Paisley embroidery designs of your choice


2nd Img








Note: Follow the instructions below to duplicate the frame shown. Otherwise, refer to “Placement Planning” to create your own layout. Some of the sample motifs were modified in embroidery software to eliminate unwanted details and to make the designs fit the space around the opening edges.

  • If software and a large hoop are available, customize designs to create a long border approximately 21⁄2"x91⁄2" and a short border to measure approximately 21⁄2"x22⁄4". If software is not available re-hoop as needed.  
  • Print or stitch templates of each design combination.  
  • Apply fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the silk fabric following the manufacturer’s directions.  
  • On the right side, use a removable marker to draw a 31⁄2"x51⁄2" rectangle in the center of the interfaced fabric; machine or hand baste on the lines with matching thread. 
  • Mark the center and cross marks for the design on each side. 
  • Transfer the completed designs to your machine. 
  • Hoop tear-away stabilizer, spray with temporary adhesive and adhere the fabric aligning the cross marks. Embroider each side of the frame. Un-hoop and remove the stabilizer. 
  • Use the hand beading needle and beading thread to add beaded accents as desired.
Spray the stabilizer with temporary adhesive and secure the fabric. This will help to prevent puckers when hooping the layers together.


  • Fuse the 9"x11" rectangle of batting to the foam core board following the manufacturer’s directions. 
  • Mark and cut out 11⁄8" squares at each corner of the remaining piece of fusible batting. Center the piece, fusible side down on the batting-covered board and fuse in place. Use the craft knife to cut an “X” in the center of the batting; clip with scissors from the center to each inner corner.  
  • Turn the board over; turn and fuse the batting to the back of the board.  
  • Trim the embroidered fabric to 11"x13". Center the 4"x6" rectangle of fusible web in the center on the wrong side of the embroidered frame and apply according to the manufacturer’s directions. Cut an “X” in the center, clipping carefully to the inner corners and remove the backing paper.  
  • Apply two strips of 1⁄4"-wide fusible web side-by-side (1⁄2") along the outermost edges on the wrong side of the embroidered fabric; do not remove the backing paper.  
  • Position and attach the embroidered fabric on the batting covered frame as directed for the linen frame. Use straight pins to secure all edges, pulling the fabric smooth and taut around the opening and outer edges.  
  • Remove the backing paper on the fusible web, one side at a time and fuse the fabric to the back of the foam core board. Carefully wrap the fabric to the back of the foam board, making sure that the embroidery remains centered. 
  • To finish the opening edge, apply 1⁄4"-wide fusible web to one side of the ribbon and remove the backing paper. Snug one cut end of the ribbon into one corner along the opening edge and fuse in place with the tip of the iron, working all the way around the frame. When you reach the beginning point, trim the excess ribbon, making sure it’s long enough to snug into the corner at the start point for a smooth invisible join.    
  • Insert the photo and attach the back.

Have A Heart

Make a whimsical frame for a child using a fabric-covered easel and a large heart.


Note: Finished size of heart is 6"x51⁄2". Background easel is 41⁄2"x 81⁄2".   

  • Two 61⁄2" squares of print fabric for heart frame 
  • 1⁄4 yard of conversation print fabric for easel cover  
  • 3"-long piece of coordinating narrow ribbon for easel strap
  • Medium-weight cut-away stabilizer  
  • 61⁄2” square cut-away heavyweight stabilizer  
  • Two 4"x83⁄8" rectangles of double-sided heavyweight fusible stabilizer for easel
  • Two 61⁄2" squares of lightweight double-sided fusible web  
  • Small sharp scissors  
  • Pencil
  • Fabric glue  
  • Heart frame design or two satin stitch hearts of your choice  
  • Optional: Hair clips or bobby pins

Cutting & embroidery  

  • Cut one 9" square and two 43⁄4"x9" rectangles from the easel fabric.
  • Choose a heart frame design or if software is available, combine a small and large heart satin stitch designs to make your own frame motif.   
  • Hoop the frame fabric and stabilizer. Embroider the frame design and unhoop the fabric. 
  • Cut out the fabric in the center of the hearts leaving a 1⁄4"-wide allowance all around. Trim the excess fabric around the outermost heart, leaving a 1⁄2"-wide allowance for turning. Clip in the point to eliminate bulk (D)
D Trim excess fabric around outermost heart, leaving 1/2" wide allowance for turning clip point to eliminate bulk.

D1/2" Turn under

1/4" Turn under

  • On the fabric wrong side, trim the stabilizer close to the stitching around the inner and outer hearts, leaving only the print fabric intact for turning (E)
E Trim stabilizer close to stitching around inner and outer hearts, leaving only print fabric intact for turning.


  • Position the embroidered heart right side down on the paper side of the fusible web and draw around the inside and outside edges (pull the fabric allowance out of the way). Cut out. Cut a heart from heavyweight stabilizer as well. 
  • Remove the paper backing from the web. Position the fusible web heart on the wrong side of the heart and fuse following the manufacturer’s directions. Fuse the stabilizer heart to the back of the fusible web. Be careful to keep the print fabric edges out of the way when fusing. Clip the heart upper edge center (F).   

F Fuse stabilizer heart to back of fusible web. Keep print fabric edges out of way. Clip heart upper edge center.






  • Roll the outer edge of the fabric to the wrong side along the outer edge. Glue in place. Note: Use hair clips or bobby pins to hold the turned edge in place while the glue dries.   
  • Following the manufacturer’s directions, apply fusible web to the wrong side of the remaining 61⁄2" fabric square.  
  • Using the paper template as a guide, trace around the inner and outer edges. Cut out along the traced lines, cutting the shape slightly smaller than the embroidered heart. Position the shape on the wrong side of the embroidered heart right side up and fuse in place.

Easel construction   

  • On each 43⁄4"x9" rectangle, turn under and press 1⁄4". Stitch 1⁄8" from the pressed edge.  
  • Turn under 1⁄4" at one end of the ribbon. Centering one turned end 11⁄4" from the long raw edge; stitch to secure (G).
Turn under 1/4" at one end of ribbon; stitch to secure.


  • Turn under and press the remaining short end of the ribbon.  
  • Arrange the rectangles right side down on the 9" fabric square with the turned-and-stitched edges meeting in the center. Stitch 1⁄4" from all edges (H). Clip the corners; turn right side out.  
H Arrange rectangles right side down on 9" fabric square with edges meeting in center. Stitch 1/4" from all edges.


  • Slip a 4" x 8 3⁄8" rectangle of double-sided fusible stabilizer into each side of the resulting “envelope.” Carefully arrange the rectangles inside so the edges of the stabilizer are underneath the seam allowances to avoid a lump on the outside of the frame. Fuse from both sides to attach the envelope to the stabilizer. Fold in half with the ribbon inside and press along the fold to mark the center of the square. Pin the end of the ribbon to the rectangle temporarily to keep it out of the way of the stitching in the next step.
  • Open out the square. Position the heart frame on the right side of the easel (the half with ribbon is the wrong side) with the point of the heart at the lower edge and the fold at the top (refer to the photo as a guide). Using thread to match the satin stitching, topstitch in place along the inner edge of the satin stitching, beginning and ending at the upper fold. Do not stitch around the upper edge. This will remain open for photo insertion.   
  • Remove the pins and position the remaining ribbon end along the lower edge on the easel back. Hand or machine stitch in place.
  • Use the embroidery template as a guide to trim the selected photo to fit inside the heart frame. Slip the photo in place from the back.

Barbara Weiland Talbert is a nationally known freelance sewing and quilting author and designer. She works from her sunny sewing studio in Vancouver, Wash.

Linen border: Great Notions, #83007

Paisley designs: Oklahoma Embroidery Supply & Design, #NA74, #NA743, #NA748

Heart appliqué: Embroidery Library, #2523310 (large) #2523320 (small)

Designs altered in Artista 780 and Bernina Embroidery Software.

Credits The Warm Company provided the Lite Steam-A-Seam2 Fusible Web.

Fast 2 Fuse from C & T Publishing available at

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