Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Lessons for Beginners


For Beginning Needlepoint Students, here is a reworking of my series from the past.

Lesson #2 Binding the Canvas

Personal prejudices and a bloody story.





My World of Needlework


Lessons for Beginners


Four years ago I wrote a series of Lessons for Beginners; now I find I've changed my mind a bit and in my lead-up to Catherine the Great, I'm rewriting the lessons a bit.


The most current lesson is on Queendom Website's Home Page and on this page.


You will find links to the former lessons below.

Preparing the Edges of Needlepoint Canvas

Canvas ravels fairly easily, so it is wise to secure the edges in each direction.



Here are Choices for Binding the Edges of Canvas


Tape: cut a strip of tape and paste it onto one edge,

then fold it around to the back edge,  much as you

would secure a seam with bias tape, to keep the

edges of the canvas from unraveling.


Use bias tape and sew it to the edges of the canvas.


Zig-zag the edges of the canvas on a sewing machine.


Overcast the edges of the canvas with diagonal stitches

in pearl cotton.


Cut the canvas 1/4” larger, fold under the edges and

hem the canvas (see canvas on right)



My Preferences, Prejudices, a Not-So-Wise

Confession and a Bloody Story


For a canvas 12" x 12" or larger, I like to fold under a

1/4” seam and hem the canvas. I use pearl cotton #12

(usually white or ecru but often whatever is handy) and

stitch diagonal stitches.


There is one disadvantage: the edges of the canvas become thicker and sometimes the thumb tacks are not long enough to hold the canvas on the stretcher bars. My solution: crease the edges best I can to reduce the bulk.


If the canvas is smaller than 12" x 12" I don't turn under the edges;  I use pearl cotton #12 and overcast the edges with diagonal stitches.


A Confession: if the canvas is 8" x 8" or smaller, and particularly if I am making an ornament that will later be cut out and assembled, I leave the edges raw. Not a good idea, but I get lazy and anxious to stitch and off I go.


I have an aversion to tape, not a reasonable or logical aversion since it is such an easy way to treat the edges of canvas. I don’t like the sticky stuff and remember the days when we used masking tape that dried up all too fast and always left the edges gunky and sticky.


Today’s needlepoint shops have great tape that does not behave like the masking tape I remember, but I still don’t like tape. Just a personal prejudice.


My Bloody Story: I used to hem all canvases (my own and those of my students) on a sewing machine, then one day I sewed through my index finger, it hurt like Hell and blood was everywhere and it still hurt three weeks later.


I haven’t touched a sewing machine since. Since my bloody-finger episode, I hem my own canvases by hand in pearl cotton with diagonal stitches done too quickly and sloppily, but they do the job. I just hemmed the scrap above yesterday afternoon so I could take a photo of it.



Bottom Line

Probably the easiest way is tape.





Above: a scrap of canvas with the edge turned under 1/4" and hemmed by hand with pearl cotton #12 along the right side and the top. The left side is raw.