Skip Navigation Website Accessibility
220 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 431-9588
Needle Art & Textile Framing


Whether it is a t-shirt, a jersey, a rug, tapestry or a wall hanging, we can frame it. It could be a needlepoint, an embroidery or a silk scarf. Each one requires a different approach to framing it. Here are some guidelines about how we handle each of the different types of items just mentioned:

Framing T-Shirts
Whether we frame the t-shirt fully opened or carefully folded, it gets sewn down onto a mat board. Usually, it ends up in a shadowbox frame that has a little depth so that the glass does not touch the shirt. We can, also, incorporate other memorabilia with the shirt to keep it from being boring looking.

Framing Sports Jerseys
While we frame jerseys in much the same way as t-shirts, with everything being sewn down, it usually ends up being done in a frame that is a lot larger, often in the 32 x 40" size range. Football and Hockey jerseys are the largest. If the jersey is autographed and valuable, we sew the jersey down so that, down the road, if it needs to be removed from the frame, all you need to do is cut the threads holding it down. The sewing is reversible. Again, we can incorporate other memorabilia with the jersey if you wish. We nearly always use plexiglass to glass jersey frames, as plexi is just as clear as glass, shatter resistant and weighs half as much as glass.

Framing Rugs and Tapestries
Depending upon how large and heavy the rug or tapestry is, we create a base upon which to sew the item that will support the weight. Larger or heavier items get a wooden stretcher, covered in nylon door screen and then a fabric cover over that. That facilitates the sewing or "couching" of the rug or tapestry. It is easier to push a sewing needle through fabric than through a board. However, smaller items get sewn down onto mat board bases, sometimes fabric-covered mat boards. If the item is large, we will use plexiglass instead of glass to glaze it. On large rugs and tapestries, we use spacers to keep the plexi off the textile. Usually this is done in the form of wooden strips finished to the same color as the frame or a color that works well with the color scheme in the textile.

Framing Needlepoint Textiles
Most needlepoints brought to us should be cleaned and blocked before we get them. By blocking, we mean that they need to be dampened and pinned to a board to dry in a way that the needlepoint canvas is square. We will be glad to do this for you, but there is an additional charge for this as it is time consuming. Before framing it, it needs to be laced onto a stiff, acid-free board. We usually use 8 ply mat board and sand the edges so that they are not sharp and will not cut through the needlepoint canvas.

Framing Embroideries
We cut a mat to showcase the embroidered part of the cloth when framing it and the cloth gets tacked down by sewing stitches that will be hidden under the matting. Even if the embroidery was done in a circular pattern on a round hoop, we can cut a mat with a circular opening to accommodate this.

Silk Scarves
Because silk will run if penetrated with a needle, usually, we end up doing a pressure fit with scarves under plexiglass. That is, we sandwich the fully opened scarf between a sheet of plexiglass and a fabric covered board that has some polyester batting underneath it to give it cushion. This keeps the scarf from moving around under the tug of gravity. We learned this neat technique years ago while framing an 1864 silk Civil-War era battle flag that was all silk. We were advised on it by a conservator at the National Gallery in Washington who has taught workshops at our annual PPFA convention every year. Sometimes, if the scarf is not old and the edges have been turned and hemmed, we can sew the scarf down through that turned edge using silk thread. However the former, non-invasive technique is preferred when dealing with silk. It is an organically made material (silk worms) and it gets brittle with age.

So, as you can see, we have a lot of experience working with framing textiles of all sorts. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about doing a framing project that involves a textile of any sort. We will be glad to give you a free, no-obligation design consultation. If you stop in with it, we can give you a better assessment of the cost and recommended design for the project. If you are out of town, you can send us photographs and measurements  for us to work from before you decide to have us frame it for you. We will get back to you with framing designs and suggestions, along with a price range.