Did you know you don't have to hoop your fabric?

comments (4) April 1st, 2008     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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These fabrics can be tricky to hoop.
Mark the center of your hooped stabilizer.
Hooped stabilizer with center marking.
Smooth fabric with center markings into your hoop.
Line up fabric center markings inside of your hoop and smooth out fabric.
With this technique you can also embroider on items that are too small to fit in a hoop like a cuff or collar.
These fabrics can be tricky to hoop.

These fabrics can be tricky to hoop.

Photo: Len Hasemann

One day I was giving one of my customers a lesson on her new embroidery machine and she was telling me that she always has trouble when she’s trying to hoop tricky fabrics like leather, knits, loose wovens, and velvets. Even when I’m trying to be careful, when I snap the two frames together to secure the fabric in the hoop, I usually cause some sort of trauma to the fabric. Often, rub marks referred to as “hoop burn” or even worse, a dreaded hole can appear when you remove the fabric from the hoop. We all have the natural tendency to pull and tug to smooth out the excess fabric that inevitable gets trapped inside the embroidery area. This can distort the grain of the fabric and cause it to stretch. By the time you're ready to start your machine, you’ve already set yourself up for a disaster.

I recommend trying this simple “hoopless” technique the next time you embroider on tricky fabric.Hoop appropriate stabilizer firmly. Using a ruler and a washaway pen, mark the center of the hoop. Mark the placement of your embroidery on your fabric. Spray the stabilizer with a temporary adhesive spray like 505 Temporary Adhesive Spray or KK 2000 and position the fabric in the hoop. (Use the guidelines that were drawn on the stabilizer to help you get your fabric in the hoop accurately.) Gently smooth the fabric against the stabilizer to anchor it firmly in the hoop.

This technique will also allow you to embroider very close to the edge of a garment or other project where it won’t fit in the hoop. You can also embroider on items that are too small to fit in a hoop like a cuff or collar.

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posted in: embroidery, hoopless technique

Comments (4)

catascrafts writes: Great article!
Thanks for sharing.
Posted: 2:48 pm on May 23rd
JenniferStern writes: Hi Cowgirl53,
Thanks for the suggestion. Because most of the posts so far seem to apply to machine embroidery I will do my best to specify hand embroidery in the title to differentiate. I hope that helps.
Michaela Murphy
Managing Editor
Posted: 5:35 pm on May 14th
Dolci56 writes: Great article Jennifer...I have been doing this technique since I embroidered a ribbon for a wreath one Christmas for Embroidery Library Designs- "Bow Wow Wreath". I also embroider old jeans and make purses. Many times the area to I want is to hard to get hooped. I use pins to secure my denim(kept only on the outer edges)and I use cutaway stablizer so it doesn't tear from the pins.
Posted: 4:59 pm on May 10th
Cowgirl53 writes: hm, another machine embroidery article. It would be great to add "machine" to the article title. There are some slightly different issues when using a hoop for hand embroidery; it would be great to either include that kind of information or do another article for hand embroiderers.
Posted: 4:17 pm on May 6th
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