Measuring & Making a Needlepoint Footstool

June 8, 2016Finishing Standard

Making a needlepoint footstool looks as if it should be as easy as stitching a pillow — but it’s not. In order to make a design which will completely cover a puffy space — like a chair seat, a footstool, or a bench, you need to do more than just measure the frame size.

Since these items “puff up” they need to be larger in order to accommodate the height of the cushion.

First, you need to remove the cushion from its base. Sometimes the cushion just sits on top of the frame. Sometimes (this is usually the case with chairs) it is screwed onto the frame. If so, remove the screws and the cushion will come free of the base. Put the screws in a plastic bag and tape this to the underside of the frame (this way you won’t lose them).

If you have a fabric tape measure, measure the length and width of the cushion from the base on one side to the base on the other. This gives you the basic size of the space to be embroidered.

If you don’t have a fabric tape measure, use a length of string and cut it to fit the size.

These measurements don’t have to be exact, but err on the generous side.

To find the dimensions of canvas to stitch, add 1/2″ on all sides of your measurement. This will give you something to turn under as well as provide space when the stitches “take up” part of the canvas.

Mark this size on your canvas. Also be sure to leave a couple of inches of unstitched canvas around the edge of the design. This is helpful for finishing.

And how do I finish it?

A needlepoint footstool of this style come covered with either a muslin cover or a decorative fabric. If the cover is anything other than muslin, remove it.

Center the finished stitching on top of the cushion. Make sure the stitchery covers the cushion when pulled tight (it should if you followed these directions). Now turn the cushion over and get out your staple gun.

Beginning in the middle of one side, stretch the canvas and staple the margin to the unfinished base of the cushion. Now do the same to the opposite side. Repeat the process for the other sides.

Once you have the centers done, work along the sides, always doing pairs of opposite sides. If you staple the left side of the top, staple the right side of the bottom, and so on. Do the corners last.

Trim any excess canvas from the bottom. Also, if screws were used find the screw holes and open up the canvas on them, to make it easier to finish.

Turn over and screw back into the frame with the screws you saved. Now you have a lovely needlepoint footstool or chair cover you finished yourself.