Thinking Outside of the Hoop

By Daniel Ceniceros, Contributing Writer

April 10, 2017

Sometimes you have a garment that is awkward to embroider. In this example, the toddler’s small denim jacket is between hoop sizes. It’s too small for a larger hoop and too big for a smaller hoop.

If you are familiar with appliqué work, this is a very similar process, except for a couple of things. This process doesn’t require cutting any appliquéd pieces, and the garment will not be hooped in at the same time as the paper backing. In fact, you will not be hooping the garment at all. When using this technique, the paper backing is the only thing that is hooped. The garment may drape outside and over the hoop. Let’s take a closer look.

Getting Started
Start by looking for any natural landmarks on the garment that could be used as registration marks, such as seam lines and contours (Figure 1). These outlines will be used as placement guides for placing the piece on the hoop.

Figure 1

When you begin to digitize, keep in mind that you will digitize the outline and contours first with the usual stop at the top for the application placement. After that, continue to digitize the embroidery design as usual (Figure 2).

Figure 2

For pre-production you will need the following tools: a good quality tear-away backing, temporary adhesive spray, masking tape and possibly small spring-loaded clamps to secure the embroidery piece to the outer edge of the hoop.

1. Begin by hooping the tear-away backing in a hoop large enough to contain the design and the area surrounding the article to be embroidered.

2. Start the embroidery, stitching the run stitch guidelines directly into the backing (Figure 3).

Figure 3

3. The “stop” you digitized will now come into play at the end of the run stitch outline, as in any appliqué process. Once the machine comes to a stop, you can remove the hoop from under the machine for a better look at the registration lines.

4. Use spray adhesive on both the top of the exposed backing area and the back of the article to be embroidered. Place the piece on top of the backing, matching the guidelines to the seams and contour outlines for proper placement. Use the masking tape for additional stability. You may use small temporary clamps on the edges of the hoop to hold the material.

Close up of placement lines.

Lines and finished garment.

5. Return the hoop to machine. You are now ready to complete the process. Start the machine back up and finish the embroidery design.

Post Production

When your design is complete you can take the hoop out from under the machine. Now disassemble.
Now that you understand this new “out of the box” concept, your creativity won’t be limited by a hoop again!

Daniel Ceniceros, owner of Stitch’d Embroidery Development, has been designing embroidery for more than twenty years.  For more information, visit stitchdemb.com.