Well today I'm going to show you how I "frame" my pieces. I've seen quite a few tutorials over the years with several different techniques, none of which I was quite happy with. It took me a while, but this one just sort of smacked me upside the head one night and I've been using it ever since.
The supply list is pretty simple...your ironed finished piece, an ironed piece of cotton fabric (I like using plain white behind my light colored pieces), your hoop, non-toxic tacky glue (or another similar glue), fabric scissors and embroidery scissors. Oh, and most importantly, you'll need a clean work surface as you'll be working part of the time with your piece face down.
Step 1: Put the fabric behind your stitched piece and place it over the bottom portion of the hoop. As you can see in the photo, I placed center marks on my fabric (and also on the bottom portion of the hoop) because I wanted to make sure it was centered as well as I could get it.
Step 2: After you've put on the top portion of the hoop, stretched your piece so it's smooth, and screwed the clamp tightly, turn the piece over and make sure your cotton back is also smooth. If it's not, just loosen the screw some so you can stretch the cotton fabric and then tighten it back up. I would also take this time to check your piece from the front to make sure the backing fabric you chose doesn't show through.
Step 3: Use your fabric scissors to trim off the extra fabric (both pieces)
Step 4: Use your embroidery scissors to trim the fabric as close to the hoop as you can get it so that it will be smooth.
Step 5: Use your non-toxic glue and run a small strip of it all the way around the hoop. Get it all over the fabric and down in any gaps there might be. I usually smooth mine out with my finger. The glue will dry clear and will basically "seal" the fabric to the hoop so it won't come out. I typically put a light second coat on after the first coat has dried.
When you're done you'll have a nice "framed" piece like this that doesn't show all your stitching on the back. If you're using a dark colored fabric to stitch on, I would use a dark colored cotton fabric to back it with so that it doesn't show through any of the holes.
This concludes my first ever tutorial. I hope you found the directions simple to follow and you've learned something new from it. Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments. :)