Hoops Explained

Machine Embroidery Hooping Explained

What is the purpose of the hoop (embroidery frames)?

The hoop holds even tension on the fabric and prevents it from puckering during embroidery. This allows the stitches to have even tension and line up correctly without losing registration on the design (for example: lines falling off).   Therefore, when you hoop your fabric, it is very important that it is nice and taut.

Domestic embroidery machines (Single Needle)

Hoops/ Frames for these machines are usually square or rectangular.  These hoops hold fabric and stabilizer best (tight) on the corners.  Square frames with four even sides, (for example, 4”x4” or 100mm x 100mm) holds the best and even tension for home embroidery machines.

Hoop (fabric) tension may sometimes be lost on the long sides of a rectangular hoop. Fabric can still move, and you may lose registration on designs. Fabric and stabilizer should be hooped taut, do not over tighten the screws!  Your hooped project should sound slightly like a drum when tapping on it at the back. There should be no creases on the fabric on top, or on the stabilizer at the back. Everything should lay flat and taut. 

Hooping with rectangular hoops (two short sides and two longer sides).                Hoop your stabilizer and fabric, pin the fabric to the stabilizer on the outer edges of the hoop (where it is sticking out between the two frames) Pin along the straight longer sides. Pins should be close to and flush against the hoop. When you start to embroider, the fabric may pull inwards from the longer sides of the rectangular frame. The pins will stop the fabric from pulling to the inside. The corners will not require pins.  

Industrial or commercial embroidery machines (Multi Needle)

Hoops/ Frames for these machines are usually circular or round.  Round hoops are the most stable because the fabric is held evenly and consistently around the entire surface. Some commercial machines are sold with square or rectangular hoops also.  For hooping with rectangular frames, use the method explained for the domestic machines (with pins & rectangular hoops)

Use enough and the correct stabilizer. Stretch/knit fabrics embroider best with cut away stabilizer.  Cotton and non-stretch fabrics embroider best with tear away stabilizer but cut away can also be used if it is your preferred stabilizer.  Avalon/water soluble film should be used as a topper for towels and terry cloth like fabrics. Soluble stabilizers are used over napped fabrics to stop the pile showing through the embroidery, or having the stitches disappear altogether into the pile.

Always use the correct size hoop according to your embroidery design. Propper hooping techniques, done correctly, will give beautiful and flawless embroidery results. Hooping should not be a struggle!

 I hope you find this information useful and as always, let your creativity bloom!