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How to Choose the Perfect Tapestry Frame

The Complete Guide for Cross Stitch, Tapestry & Embroidery

Are you confused about tapestry frames? Don’t worry this handy guide will help!  

Trying to choose the right type of tapestry frame, at the right size, may seem complicated, and it is our most asked question at Stitcher.

Why use a Tapestry Frame?

Tapestry frames are used to keep your tension even, for easy and neat stitching. Tapestry Frames also help to keep your stitching organised, which in turn can keep you motivated to pick up your stitching and carry when it is easily accessible.

There are two main reasons for confusion when picking a tapestry frame these are:

·       What type of tapestry frame to buy (rotating, easy clip, handheld, floor standing)

·       What size of tapestry frame to buy for a particular project

 Which Make and Type of Tapestry Frame to Buy

At Stitcher, we stock the most popular tapestry frame brand Elbessee, as well as universal craft frames options too.

Tapestry Frame types include Sew On (Rotating frames) and Easy Clip frames (a full list can be found below!)

Rotating Tapestry Frames

Sew on rotating tapestry frames use a “tape bar” (a strip of fabric on the frame) to sew aida onto the frame. A great option for people who like taut fabric and are not likely to switch projects.

These frames allow the fabric to scroll and at stitcher.co.uk we stock the Elbesee range.  

Elbesse Handheld

Elbessee Roller Floor Standing

Elbesse Screw Type Roller

Easy Assembly Clip Frames

These are “no sew” tapestry frames. Your Aida fabric is attached by clipping it onto the bars. They are a great option for people who want an easy assembly frame, with the flexibility to quickly change project. These frames also allow the fabric to scroll.

At Stitcher we stock the Elbesee range.


Elbessee offer wooden frames which use self-locking non slip clips to hold thick or thin fabrics. The arms can be rotated to apply tension and the clips allow you to maintain an even tension.

Universal Frames

You can also purchase plastic easy clip frames in various sizes, offered handheld and hands free. Fabric is not scrolled and when choosing the size you need to be aware of both the fabric measurements and stitching area size

Finding the Right Tapestry Frame Size

  1. Measure your aida

Be aware: You need to find fabric measurement, do not use the cross stitch image measurement!

If you’re using a kit, add on roughly 5cm / 2 inches to the measurement that the kit advises

  1. The width of the Aida fabric must be the same size as, or smaller than, the width of the Tapestry Frame

This is to ensure that the Aida fabric fits into side bars

We always show our frame measurements with the width measurement first (W x L)

  1. The length of the Aida fabric must to be bigger than the length of the frame

The fabric will be rolled (scrolled) using top or bottom bars on the frame.

We find that the handheld frames are no longer than 12 inches / 30 cms. If it is any larger than this, it is better to look at the floor standing range of Tapestry Frames. 

Working Hands Free

Large Projects

Floor standing tapestry frames are perfect for large projects, offering comfort and hands free stitching. Both of these types of Tapestry Frames come as “easy clip” (no sew) and “sew on” options, as well as a screw type.

The tapestry frames offer adjustable depths (lengths) to allow the fabric to be scrolled at different dimensions.

Screw type offers the option to to position to your preferred length instead of predetermined sizes.

Small Projects

If your fabric is less than 24 inches in width then you would be looking at buying a handheld frame. However you may still want to work hands free.

It’s possible to work hands free on smaller projects with the Posilock Floor Stand and Helping Hand. The Posilock will hold the fabric allowing you to work hands free.

The helping hand is an additional option that is used in conjunction with the Posilock and holds the frame instead of the fabric.


Tips for Using your Tapestry Frame

  • We believe it is more comfortable stitching when there is space at the sides of your canvas
  • If you are looking to buy a tapestry frame that should cover you for most projects that you are likely to stitch, then go for a 24 inch option like this Elbessee one.
  • Remember to slacken off the fabric on the frame in between stitching
  • When buying a tapestry frame the elbesee twizler makes adjusting the wingnuts easy!
  • If you are looking to buy the helping hand and Posilock these will fit the Elbessee range of handheld frames
  • For universal plastic frames, watch out for two measurements; the frame and the sewing area
  • Floor standing frames are bought by the width size (eg 30inch) with adjustable working area lengths. Larger fabric can be scrolled