Imagine a needlepoint canvas with no sizing. One that stretches slightly. One that can drape like fabric. And one that can be washed and dried.
That canvas does exist. It’s called garment canvas and is distributed by Kreinik. It only comes in 18 mesh and can be ordered on this page.
Garment canvas is a 100% polyester interlock canvas. It’s designed so that you can make items such as collars, cuffs, and other pieces that need to drape, move, and be washed. You can’t do these things with regular needlepoint canvas with any ease.
According to Kreinik’s site, the canvas requires minimal blocking and can be painted. It is 60″ wide. That makes it long enough for longer belts, although if I was using it, I would be sure to ask my finisher to add an extra layer or two of interfacing to make it stiffer.
I used garment canvas recently to make a needlepoint key fob and was delightfully surprised at how easy it was to use.
When I cut it I was skeptical. Because it’s so soft, I couldn’t cut it along a line of holes, as I normally would.You cut it like fabric. Because it has no sizing and is interlock, you don’t need to bind the edges; your threads won’t catch.
You must, however stitch using a frame; there isn’t enough stiffnes to stitch in hand. And you need to stretch it tight as you attach it. To do this begin by tacking a corner. Stretch the canvas and pin the diagonally opposite corner. Stretch again and tack the third corner. Stretch again and tack the final corner.
Get used to stretching because you need to stretch before placing every tack.
After the corners, I tacked the middle of each side, then tacked diagonally opposite areas, working from center to corner. While I found that a tack every 1-1.5” was enough to keep it tight enough to stitch, you could easily tack more. My project was simple and small on a big piece of canvas. Larger projects will need more tacks.
Stitching was a breeze. You should use lighter than normal tension so the canvas doesn’t stretch out of shape. I also found that coverage wasn’t good. Threads that normally worked on 18 mesh were too thin to cover here. Threads with good coverage on 13 mesh worked better.
Because this canvas is so thin, I had real problems beginning and ending threads. If I tried to do this by running tails through the backs of stitches, often I found myself running through to the front. I think this is because heavier canvas has a different feel to your needle, so it catches you and keeps this from happening. Garment canvas is so light, you don’t feel it. I had to be more careful here. Using waste knots was better.
Although this canvas can be washed and dried, many threads cannot. Be sure of the care of the threads you use on this canvas. If the item will be washed and you aren’t sure of the threads, make the item removable. Even so, I would handwash any item made with gaRment canvas.