Machine Embroidery Hooping 3 Ways
Are you easily overwhelmed by the number of possibilities when it comes to machine embroidery and how to hoop the project? Thankfully, most embroidery designs come with some instructions that include recommendations for these things, but if they don’t, here are my top three ways to hoop. In addition to hooping the project, careful consideration of stabilizers will make your project a slam dunk.
Materials for Hooping 3 Ways
- BERNINA 700 or BERNINA 500
- Midi Embroidery Hoop
- Isacord Embroidery Thread
- Machine Embroidery Needles Titanium sz 80/12
First of all, if you are at all interested in exploring machine embroidery, you must go to your local BERNINA store and check out our newest embroidery-only machines. These machines have so many wonderful features and read multiple embroidery design formats (EXP, DST, PES, PEC, JEF, SEW, PCS, XXX). The B700 is a dream machine for embroidery enthusiasts. With 10” to the right of the needle, this machine accommodates large embroidery designs (15.7” x 8.3”) using the optional Maxi Embroidery Hoop. The features that I love most for embroidery are: Invisible & Smart Secure, Pinpoint Placement and the Programmable Jump Stitch Length. The Invisible Secure function creates a clean tie-on or off when I begin my designs, and if the design doesn’t have a pre-programmed tie-on/off, then Smart Secure will make one! Pinpoint Placement allows me to perfectly position my embroidery design on my project; it is done by selecting two points on the screen and matching them to the hooped project—it’s a dream for lining up with stripes. There are many ways this machine gives you total stitch control, but the Programmable Jump Stitch Length is my favorite because I no longer have to manually trim all the little thread jumps when my embroidery is finished. I love having a clean and easy finish on the top of the project.
BERNINA also offers the new B500, a smaller embroidery only machine with many of the same features.
Both of these machines can use the optional BERNINA Midi Hoop which has a nice medium size embroidery field of 10.5” x 6.5” and features the ergonomic twist-lock-mechanism to easily hoop your project. This was the perfect hoop for all my embroidery projects featured in this video. I love that I didn’t waste a lot of stabilizer and that I could easily hoop each of my projects using the simple twist-lock.
In addition to great equipment, it is also a good idea to use quality thread, stabilizers and needles. Isacord embroidery thread comes in so many colors, has a beautiful sheen and is a great size spool. With 1000m of thread, you will be able to finish several embroidery projects before you have to replace the spool. OESD offers a wide variety of premium embroidery stabilizers and even has a handy Stabilizer Guide you can download here their website. I have also learned that using a titanium needle for embroidery will last longer and ultimately save you money, even though they cost more initially. The titanium coating allows the needle to penetrate the project more smoothly at high speeds and also moves through adhesive backed stabilizers and adhesive sprays better than a standard embroidery needle.
Now that we have the nuts and bolts, let’s take a look at the projects featured and the choices made for hooping.
Project 1: Tea Towel
Tea towel material is generally fairly thin, which makes it easy to place entirely into the hoop. The first method for hooping is to hoop the stabilizer and the project together as one unit. Hooping fabric and stabilizer together is ideal for stable woven fabrics that will not stretch or distort in the hoop. I paired the tea towel with Ultra Clean and Tear. This stabilizer is medium weight and provides excellent stabilization for medium to high stitch count embroidery designs.
It also tears away easily and washes away when laundered. It is not a permanent backing so use it with woven fabrics.
Project 2: Cardigan
The second method for hooping is to hoop only the stabilizer and use a temporary spray adhesive to affix the project to the stabilizer. Begin by hooping the stabilizer and then spray the top of the stabilizer in the hoop. I generally do this in a box lid (or on a tarp) to prevent overspray in my sewing space. There are many spray adhesives out there, but I like 505 the best because it is repositionable and washes away. This method works great for fabrics that are hard to hoop because they are thick—like terrycloth, or for knit fabrics that will stretch out of place in the hoop.
You will then place the garment over the hooped and sprayed stabilizer.
When hooping this way, I recommend that you also add a “basting box” around your embroidery design. This is easily done on most newer BERNINA embroidery machines, simply select the basting box icon from the stitch out screen. Continue to touch the Basting Box icon until you see the stitching around the design. This will hold all that stretch fabric in place along the perimeter of the field that will be embroidered.
This is a basic light weight knit cardigan, and because it will stretch with use, I want to make sure that my embroidery design will hold up over time. I need a stabilizer that will remain in the stitching and securely hold the stitches on the garment through repeated washing and wearing. Polymesh Cut-Away is perfect to use with thinner fabric because it is strong yet flexible and soft to the skin. When the design completes, remove the basting stitches while still hooped, then remove the project from the hoop and carefully trim the stabilizer along the edge of the embroidered design.
Project 3: Tote Bag
The third method, similar to the second, is to hoop a stabilizer that has an adhesive coating. It is pretty much like a sticker. Begin by hooping the stabilizer with the paper side up. Then score along the inner perimeter of the hoop (I use a needle to do this) and remove the paper to reveal the adhesive. Align and apply your project to the stabilizer and prepare to stitch.
For this heavy canvas tote bag, I also chose to sew a basting box, however, this time I did it around the perimeter of the hoop. Hooping something that is already made, like this tote can sometimes come with some practical challenges like working inside a tube. Using the basting options helps to hold the fabric exactly in place while the embroidery motif stitches out. Select the Basting Box icon and keep touching until you see the basting box appear around the perimeter of the hoop.
The StabilStick stabilizers come in many varieties: tear-away, cut-away. There is a wash-away version which is called AquaMesh Plus. For the tote bag, I chose the tear-away version because it works great on woven fabrics and it is easy to remove from the stitches. I wasn’t sure if I would ever wash this tote, so the tear-away was a better choice for this project than a wash-away.
To finish, remove the basting stitches; then you gently pop the fabric out of stabilizers. This means that you could potentially re-hoop and use remaining stabilizer! Sometimes it takes a bit of picking to get all the little pieces of stabilizer, but I love using this kind of stabilizer because it saves me from having to use a spray adhesive. It also works really great for hard to hoop or position items like napkin corners or collars.
I hope that you have some new ideas and confidence for hooping up your next embroidery project. The best advice I can offer is to not be afraid to try something out. After all, experience is the best teacher.