Machine Embroidery Hooping Techniques – Another Tuitoral

Last fall I did an apron and the design shifted, thus the outline was not meeting up with the design. I apparently did not hoop properly. No matter if you are a beginner or advanced machine embroiderer, you will run into hooping problems. It is necessary that your garment has the proper amount of tension. You should be able to tap the back of the hooped item and get a drum like thump. With the apron, I could not hoop the whole garment because of my placement and it was a large design, that was even reduced. As a reader suggested, I was using the wrong stabilizer, when in actuality it was a hooping error. There are many ways of hooping and hopefully I will be able to assist in explaining different techniques.

Hooping is the most important technique when machine embroidering. The garment needs to be smooth and tight, not too tight and should not be over stretched. If you over stretch your garment in the hoop, sew out the design and then take it out of the hoop, the design can be distorted, causing a puckering effect.

Find out where you want to place the design on your garment. Take the grid from the hoop and mark all points from the grid to garment. One product that is highly recommend is Dritz Washaway Wonder Tape. There are other wonder tape products on the market, so use your preference. Wonder Tape is a double sided tape that adheres to the backside of the top hoop on all four sides. Remove the plastic backing, then place the grid in the hoop, match all the markings from the garment to the grid. Then put pressure from the hoop to the garment. Garment is now secure. Now to clamp the bottom hoop. I always make sure that my screw on the bottom hoop is loose. The hoop edge that is nearest to the tightening screw, put that corner in last. It makes it easier to get the top hoop in place and easier to loosen. It is best to position the corner or edge with the screw off the edge of a table or ironing board, so if adjustment is needed the screw is easier to manipulate without raising the hoop from the work surface.

Now I didn’t mention about stabilizer in the above. What I usually do instead of hooping both the stabilizer and garment together is I take a piece of my iron on tear away stabilizer that is about 1 to 2 inches larger than the design and iron it on prior to hooping and marking. This way you aren’t adding additional bulk to the garment nor the hooping process. BUT sometimes you will have to hoop both items together due to size and density of the design. And if I am using a cut away with the iron on tear away, I will cut it the same size as the iron on tear away, but will scotch tape it to the backside or  use a spray adhesive to the cut away and put to the other stabilizer. This method of cutting the stabilizers larger than the design, I am not throwing away stabilizer and money out the door.

On my apron that I made, I should have used a different method of hooping. This method is using sticky and tear away stabilizer. The design was at the top of the apron and hooping around the neck strap was difficult and didn’t make the hoop tight. Cut both stabilizers larger than the hoop. Hoop both stabilizers. Make sure there aren’t any bubbles, puckers and it is tight and flat. Do a little thump to hear that little noise. Lightly score the wax paper stuff. Tear around the inside of the hoop to expose the sticky backing. Mark all placement markings from the hoop grid to the sticky stabilizer. Make all markings on the backside of the garment and then match all the markings and press the garment to the sticky stabilizer. There are times that you just need to use an adhesive product.

One machine embroider manufacture suggest hooping the stabilizer and then baste the garment to the stabilizer. Hooping the garment and then basting the stabilizer is another way and only using a piece just a tad larger than the design, reduce waste. Basting around the design can be done using one of the programed frame designs. If the design is too large, hand stitching is quick and fast.

If you have a machine that uses the fast frames, that’s completely another subject to be covered another day. I have them and still experimenting, but much success.

If you have other tips or suggestions, feel free to share.


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