After creating a guide on learning how to needlepoint, I thought I would add this to our collection! I’ve received a lot of messages and emails from new-stitchers who have inquired about finishing. It’s something I realized I haven’t really spoken about or touched on, so I wanted to make a dedicated post on all things finishing.
What is finishing?
What is finishing? If you’re new to stitching, this may be an unfamiliar term. Finishing is the process of taking your stitched canvas & having it made/turning it into a different product. For example, you can take a needlepoint canvas and turn it into a clutch, pillow, ornament, belt, applique/patch, sunglass case, acrylic tray, etc. We’ll go into more ideas later. Most finishing is custom made so your options are endless.
How do I decide what to finish my project as?
This is totally personal preference! Sometimes I’ll see a canvas and think “this would make a great pillow”. Other times I won’t have it figured out until my project is 75% or 100% stitched. I do try to decide what I want to finish my project as before I get started stitching because different threads will lend themselves to different purposes. For example, if you’re stitching a belt that would get a lot of wear, I always recommend a cotton or wool thread since they tend to be sturdy. Any thread can be used for any project, but some will hold up better than others for specific uses.
My best advice is to think about the following questions:
- What would you use the most?
- What fits into your life?
- What would make you the happiest?
Needlepoint can be expensive, so I always recommend finishing your project as something you will use and love! If you’re completely stuck on finishing ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to the artist or LNS and ask if they have any recommended finishing ideas. When we design canvases, we often have specific finishing ideas in mind, but you’re always welcome to think outside the box and get creative!
You could also reach out on Instagram stories or in the Needlepoint Nation Facebook Group and get ideas from others. Another great way to find ideas is on Instagram through hashtags. My favorite is #needlepointfinishing. It’s a great way to see how others finish projects & find new shops that can finish projects for you.
Where do I send my finishing?
Most local needlepoint stores (LNS) offer finishing. We recommend starting with your local store! Some are known for certain types of finishing, so it’s always best to check if they offer finishing for what you’re envisioning.
While your LNS can finish almost anything, here are some finishers who focus on finishing specific items. You can send your projects directly to them.
- Hilltop Leather & @jgbroner for any leather product
- Mary Mac & @Marymac_Needlepoint_Belts for needlepoint belts, hat bands, and really unique leather colors (think hot pink)
- Pinnell Custom Leather & @Chuck_Pinnell for custom leather clutches and other goods
- @Jbneedlepointfinisher for pillows & stockings
- @theneedleworkfinisher for ornaments and stands ups
- Marsyesneedlepointfinishing.weebly.com for ornaments & small signs (currently not accepting new orders, but will announce when)
- & don’t forget your LNS!
Stores I've used for finishing & ones that I recommend/want to use
- Lycette Designs
- The Needlepoint Clubhouse
- The Point of It All
- The Village Ewe
- Stitch Stash
- Rita's Needlepoint
- Osterville Needlepoint
- Knot the Point
- Needle Arts
What do I need to do before I send my finishing off?
Before you send your finishing off, touch base with your finisher/LNS to see if they require or recommend anything in particular. This is extremely important! Some may ask you to complete a form. Most finishers will suggest that you stitch a few extra rows around your project so that a part of the design doesn’t get cut off when it’s finished. Some will recommend a binding stitch for projects that will get a lot of use like belts, dog collars, and key fobs.
If your project is slanted or skewed, you may need to block it. Some finishers will offer blocking services and others will not. It’s always best to touch base with them because if they don’t provide blocking, it’s something that you will definitely want to do before sending it to them.
When you’re ready to drop it off, I recommend writing a detailed list of exactly what you’re looking for in your finishing (including inspiration pictures if you have those). I try to always be polite when I do this. It may seem like you’re being a bother, but I actually believe that this helps the finisher understand exactly what I want. The more details you can provide, the better they can help make your vision come to life.
Lastly, you may want to ask about payment & the finishing time frame. Some finishers will require 100% of the payment up front, a 50% deposit up front, or 100% of the payment when it’s completed. You can also ask for an estimated quote/price. Finally, I always ask for an estimated time frame.
I recommend keeping a list or spreadsheet of when you dropped off your project, who finished it, and the approximate price. This helps me keep track of my projects that are out since I often use many shops. It also helps me remember who finished what project so I can use that shop again!
Some finishing can take 12 weeks or longer to get to you. This is because that there are so many new stitchers taking up needlepoint, but not enough new finishers coming into the mix.
If you’re passionate about sewing and needlepoint, consider becoming a needlepoint finisher! We need them more than you can imagine. I’m always happy to send business your way!
I have gotten a lot of questions on framing, especially with Framebridge. I LOVE Framebridge and work with them often. I am part of their referral program so you can get 15% off if you frame through this link. I do get a small kickback that I can use towards my next framing.
They are extremely reasonably priced, have great customer service, offer free shipping, and are quick without sacrificing quality.
Here is what you need to do before you send your frame to them:
- Block your canvas (or have it blocked) before you send it if it is skewed. They do not block for you.
- Select “Textile” in the art selection section
- Under “Dimensions” – put only the dimensions of the area you want framed. If your canvas is 10”x10” but your stitched area is only 6”x6”, put 6”x6” in the dimensions.
- Ask them to cover up the canvas area that you don’t want shown with a mat.
Some people will say not to use them because they don’t frame with glass (they use high quality acrylic) but to each their own. I love them, have used them for years, and have nothing bad to say about them. All of my pieces have held up extremely well.
Another quicker (and often less expensive) way to finish your items is to self-finish. Companies like Planet Earth Fiber and Lee’s Self Finishing Goods create items that fit needlepoint canvases. Your LNS (or I) can order any of these items for you. We have some available in stock! They’re really easy to finish and we have a video walking you through the steps.
Some stitchers will also learn how to finish their own needlepoint. Needlepoint stores often host classes where they’ll bring in a finisher and teach you how to finish your ornaments. There’s also great resources online. My friend Jessica Tongel has tutorials on her Instagram. You can also find some PDF books on Amazon that will teach you.
Instagram and Pinterest are filled with TONS of inspiration! We have a Pinterest & a board dedicated to all things finishing. We repost our favorite ideas, fabrics, and projects we've had finished. We’re constantly updating it with new ideas so we suggest following along. We've created an Image at the bottom of this blog post that you can pin to your board to come back to this post!
Examples of Finishing:
Below is a long list of all the finishing examples I could think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more! I will keep adding to this list as I think of new ideas.
- Purse/Guitar Strap
- Bag Handles
- Clutch or Purse
- Chair Cushion Cover
- Foot Stool
- Key Fob
- Dog Collar
- On the lid of a box or as a hinged box
- Stand Up
- Acrylic Tray
- Scissor Cover
- Luggage Rack Straps
- Hat Strap
- Sewn into Clothing (back of jean jacket, or pocket)
- Hanging Sign
- Shoes (loafers, flip flop straps)
- Tennis Racket Cover
- Eyeglass/Sunglass Case
- Brick Cover
- Bell Pull
As you can see, there are SO many options. I’m sure these are only half of them. If you can think of other ideas, please feel free to add them to the blog comments so others can get some inspiration!
If you have any more finishing questions, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you have finished one of our canvases and would like to share it with us, please email a picture of it to us. We love seeing your finished canvases!