Stop Fraying Fabric

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4 No-Sew Ways to Fix Fraying Fabric (with Video)

Why do the edges of your cross stitch fabric keep fraying and how can you prevent it?

Fraying is when the edges of a fabric start to unravel, causing the threads to separate and come apart, giving it a worn look. Cross stitch can be done on any even weave fabric, but all woven fabrics can fray. 

For an example, I’m using the Beautiful Blue Balloon pattern from the Notorious Nook VIP club. Membership is free. Join here and get instant access to this and other free, exclusive patterns.

Watch the video below for more, or keep reading.

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1. The Fast Way: Pinking Shears

Pinking shears are fabric scissors with a serrated edge. Here’s a pair I found on amazon.

Pinking shears create a zig-zag edge in the fabric they cut. This jagged edge helps to prevent the fabric from fraying. You might still see a few tiny pieces of the fabric threads falling away. But you will not see large threads fray from the fabric.

Edge of aida cloth cut with pinking shears
Fabric Edge Cut with Pinking Shears

Before you cut the fabric with pinking shears, make sure you have enough fabric left over for finishing and framing.

Skip the math and use this easy Cross Stitch Calculator.

2. The Cheap Way: Masking Tape

To use masking tape to protect your fabric from fraying, cut a piece of tape long enough to cover one side of your fabric. Place the masking tape along the edge of the front of your fabric so that half of the strip of tape is on the fabric.

Edge of aida cloth covered on front side with masking tape

Next, fold the other half of the masking tape over the edge so that it attaches to the back of the fabric.

If when you remove the masking tape you notice a sticky residue, wash your cross stitch in warm, soapy water. You will probably want to wash it when you’re done anyway. Click here to learn how

3. The Easy Way: Fabric Glue

Read the directions and cautions on the labeling before using fabric glue, and make sure it is right for your fabric.

Glue straight on to the edge of your fabric, or use the glue to fold the fabric over and create a hem. 

Applying fabric glue to the edge of aid cloth to prevent fraying

This is the fabric glue I use in the video:

Fray Check is another popular fabric glue and is designed specifically to prevent fabric from fraying.

4. The Fun Way: Q-Snap or Hoop with Grime Guard


A Q-Snap is a PVC pipe frame with snap-on clamps that hold your fabric in place.

When you use this frame or a regular embroidery hoop combined with a grime guard, the edges of the fabric are protected from wear and tear. The grime guard safely tucks away any extra fabric that you are not stitching on. 

You can double-up and secure the edges of your fabric with any of the first three methods above before adding the q-snap or embroidery hoop with a grime guard.

Now you can relax and stitch in peace knowing your even-weave won’t fall to pieces.

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