Tutorial: Using the Fabric Calculator
Use the Scarlet Quince fabric calculator
to determine the amount of fabric you'll need, and to plan how you will frame your work. It's important to decide that in advance so that you don't find that your framing options are limited. The fabric calculator calculates the fabric size, and shows you how the piece will look after it is framed. It is a form you fill in with the data it needs to do the calculation.
Start by telling us the units (inches or centimeters) you want to work with. The default is inches.
Next, the fabric calculator needs the thread count of the fabric you will use. 18-count is the default but you can
change it to whatever you like.
If you're not sure what the thread count is, lay a ruler down on the fabric and count the number of threads in 1 inch (or in 2.5 cm). (The fabric industry has not gone metric, so the thread count is always the number of threads in 1 inch, everywhere in the world.) Even if you know what it's supposed to be, it's a good idea to verify it because sometimes it's not quite right. This is especially true if you have washed and pressed the fabric.
Note that if your fabric is aida, each bundle of fine threads between the large holes is counted as ONE THREAD.
The next item is how you'll stitch: over 1 thread or over 2 threads. When you stitch "over 1", each stitch crosses one intersection of threads. When you stitch "over 2", each stitch goes over two intersections of threads. If you are using aida, this should be a 1. If you're using linen or an evenweave, this will normally be 2, but it is possible to stitch over 1 as well.
Next, supply the number of stitches in the pattern. If you're using a Scarlet Quince pattern, fill in the pattern code (or follow the link to the fabric calculator from the pattern page) and the calculator will look up the number of stitches. If it's not a Scarlet Quince pattern, leave the pattern code field blank and fill in the horizontal (width) and vertical stitches (height) the pattern has.
Now specify values for any exposed border between the stitching and the frame.
If the background is not stitched, you need to allow for some extra fabric, or the frame will come right to the edges of the stitching. This is fine for a solidly stitched pattern that will be framed without a mat, but if the background is not stitched that would look strange.
Also, if you want to frame the picture with a mat, you need to allow for some extra fabric. This will be between the edges of the stitching and the frame and be covered by the mat. Or you can omit the mat and use the fabric itself as a mat for the stitched picture. The amount that will look good depends on the size of the stitched picture. Play with different values and see what appeals to you. We allow you to define the amount for the top, sides, and bottom independently, although a professional framer will usually suggest that the top and sides be the same value, and the bottom a little bigger. Some pictures where the background is not stitched have a flat bottom and irregular sides. For those, you may want the frame or mat to meet the bottom of the picture, but leave space around the top and sides.
The "framing allowance" is the amount of fabric you'll allow to wrap around each side of the mounting board. We suggest 3" or 7.5 cm so that the framer won't have any trouble. Often they can get by with less, but it shouldn't be a lot less. This also gives you a margin for safety. Note that because this is per side, a 3 inch framing allowance allowance adds 6 inches to the width and height of the fabric.
Finally, choose a width for the frame. This does not affect the fabric calculation (i.e. a wide frame needs no more fabric than a narrow frame), but the fabric calculator shows you what your piece will look like after it has been framed, and adjusting the width lets you experiment with the proportions that will be most pleasing. The starting value is 2" or 5 cm.
Click the calculate button and the amount of fabric you'll need is shown. There are 3 quantities:
The summary also tells you where to make the top left stitch based on your input.
- Stitched dimensions. This is the size your piece will be, measured from the left-most stitch to the right-most, and the uppermost stitch to the lowest.
- Framed dimensions. This is the inside dimensions of the picture frame, or the size of the mounting board. If you allowed for an exposed border, it will be larger than the stitched dimensions; otherwise, it's the same.
- Total fabric requirements. This is the amount of fabric you need to buy. It will be the framed dimensions plus whatever you gave as the framing allowance. If it is an impossibly large size, something else will have to give -- stitch on a higher thread count, reduce the borders, or (cautiously) reduce the framing allowance.
The fabric calculator shows what your piece will look like framed. You can change the mat and frame colors by clicking the colored swatches. If the proportions don't please you, click the "modify" button. This returns you to the form with the numbers you entered so you can try different numbers. When you have results you're happy with, you can print the results without all the graphics. Click the "Printer-friendly summary" button and then print that page.