The Finish Line

“Stitch when you’re young and poor, frame when you’re old and rich!”

I saw this line once and thought how true! We can stitch like crazy, finish all sorts of projects, but when we get to the framers – yowza! I can still remember the first really big framing job I had done, and how much it cost. It was a Lavender and Lace angel, with suede mats, a fillet and an elaborate gold moulding, and all told it wound up in the $300 range. It’s hanging in my bedroom and I see it every morning first thing. While I’m proud of the piece and the effort, and the finish suits it, I can’t afford that kind of framing for every piece!


So, how to finish and display pieces without breaking the bank? This came up as one of the challenges facing stitchers in answer to a question I posed on my Facebook page. And I think I have some possible solutions that may help.

First, custom framing doesn’t have to be expensive. I am fortunate because my local needlework shop offers custom framing, and she knows how to handle needlework pieces. She also has the prices for the linear foot on each piece of moulding, so when I pick up a piece I can see what the cost will be. If the cost isn’t displayed where you frame, ask! Chances are you can find a less expensive moulding that will still suit the piece. My most recent framing job, for the Needle Arts Mystery Retreat, cost in the $100 range, for the frame, double mats (one suede) and mounting – and it’s a fairly large piece, finishing out about 22″ square. So find a custom framer who will work with you, and don’t be afraid to ask the prices and substitute a less costly moulding. I think the framing and mats selected really complemented the piece, despite being not too expensive.

DD8Second, have you considered “sharing” a frame between pieces? If you have a tendency to stitch pieces that are the same size, you could have one frame made that fits all of them, then switch out the pieces. For instance, I have a calendar series that I stitched several years ago. I had one frame made, and switch out the stitched pieces every month. The back of the frame is open, which makes it easy to pop out the one that’s in for the next month’s piece. My Glitz & Glamour series is all the same size, and would work quite nicely for this. The Diamond Delight series is also all the same size. The mounting and matting is the least expensive part of the framing, and would allow you to change up what’s on your wall. This would also work really well for seasonal and holiday pieces as well, and if they aren’t quite the same size a mat could make up the difference.



Third, think of other finishes, like banners, pillows, stand-ups or even wearables. If you sew, you can tackle this yourself. Tutorials abound on the internet for all of these finishes. Wearables, such as purses or jackets, have the added plus of taking your stitching public!

Hopefully this will get your pieces out of storage and on display! If you have other suggestions for saving money on finishing, please share with the rest of us!


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