Rotating frames (also known as roller frames) come in various sizes and are widely available, so they are great for all kinds of tapestry and embroidery. Modern versions have a handy clipping system that makes them quicker to use, and methods for how to use a rotating frame – both traditional and modern are shown here.
1 For a traditional rotating frame, first cut the fabric to fit. It should be no wider than the webbing on the rollers, but at least as long as the side bars. Neaten and strengthen the edges of fabric with machine zigzag or tape the edges of canvas. Measure from side bar to side bar and mark the middle of the webbing on each roller. Mark the middle of the ends of the fabric that will be sewn to the rollers.
2 Turn under 1cm (3/8in) on the ends of the fabric to be sewn to the webbing and pin one end to the webbing on one roller, matching the marked mid-points. Using strong button thread, oversew the fabric securely to the webbing and remove all pins. Start in the middle and sew out to one edge, then fasten off the thread. Make the stitches irregular lengths to prevent the fabric splitting along one grain line. Return to the middle and sew the other side. Make sure the fabric grain is straight, then sew the other end to the other roller in the same way. Fit the rollers into the side bars and take up the slack in the fabric by turning the rollers outwards and then tightening the nuts.
3 To secure the sides of the fabric, use a needle and button thread to lace them over the side bars of the frame. Take a stitch in the fabric, at least 2cm (3/4in) in from the edge, then take the thread over and under the adjacent side bar and take another stitch through the fabric.
4 Repeat to the end, then tie the ends of the thread around the corners of the frame. If the fabric is thin then be careful not to damage it by lacing it too tight, though the fabric should be taut in the frame.
5 To fix fabric into a modern version of a rotating frame, cut it to fit, then just use the clips to attach the ends of the fabric to the rollers. Turn the rollers to tighten the fabric, then lace the sides as in step 3.
Watch our video all about rotating frames below and visit our online shop to find rotating frames of all sizes and check out customer reviews.