Tools of the Embroidery Trade

You'll want these 10 helpful tools and accessories in your shop to help make jobs easier.

By Raegan Daley, Contributing Writer

Mighty Hoops help reduce hoop burn, which are the marks left behind by the hoop on your fabric. This makes them ideal when embroidering delicate substrates, such as satin, that are prone to hoop burn.

January 25, 2019

If you’ve ever struggled with machine embroidery, there may be numerous reasons why — including not having the proper tools for some jobs. Some tools and accessories make it faster and easier to embroider on a wide variety of items, as well as correct and prevent mistakes.

While there are so many helpful options available on the market, the following 10 tools should be added to every embroiderer’s arsenal. Here’s how you can put them to good use in your business.

1. Embroiderer’s Helper: As its name suggests, this product is your “right hand” when it comes to placing and centering left- and right-chest embroidery designs on polo and placket shirts, tees and sweat shirts. This tool takes the guesswork out of design placement with notches that display where to place the center mark, depending on the shirt size and type.

2. Peggy’s Stitch Eraser: Even the best embroiderers make mistakes. Typically, this results in removing stitches with anything you can find (scissors, tweezers — even hair clippers), but that can be risky. That’s where Peggy’s Stitch Eraser comes to the rescue. The tool was designed by an embroiderer and sewing enthusiast who had a vision of helping other embroiderers remove thread without tarnishing their garments.

It also makes the stitch-removal process much less tedious and more efficient, even when removing thicker threads. The package includes clipper oil, a cleaning brush and detailed instructions on how to use this tool.

3. HoopTech Slimline Clamps: Using HoopTech’s Slimline Clamping System has advantages for embroiderers with a wide variety of needs to fill. This accessory consists of one machine-mounted master bracket and interchangeable frames that are available in different sizes. Its slim design allows embroiderers to frame hard-to-hoop areas, such as wallets and shirt sleeves, with limited space.

Its high-pressure lever gets a firm hold on stiff items, such as leather bags and boots, that are too difficult to hoop traditionally. It even is popular among embroiderers for hooping standard items, such as polo shirts. HoopTech also manufactures mounting adapters for a wide variety of multi-needle machines.

4. Robot Frame: Embroidering shoes is no easy feat, but a Robot Frame can result in a quality job and trouble-free experience. The tool consists of two adjustable, high-pressure clamps that firmly hold thick shoes like cleats and leather boots during the embroidery process. You also can get creative to embroider other difficult-to-hoop items, such as bags.

5. Gen 2 Cap Frame: If you are passionate about embroidering hats, HoopTech’s Gen 2 cap frame could be a valuable tool for your shop. This specialty cap frame expands the embroidery area to allow you to stitch closer to the hat’s bill without experiencing needle breaks.

The frame also contains clips to hold the stabilizer when hooping caps, simplifying the hooping process. Overall, this tool makes hooping and embroidering caps much more efficient, saving businesses money on production time and potential mistakes.

6. HoopMaster: This tool is helpful for embroiderers who struggle with consistent design placement. This hooping station’s placement guides reveal exactly where to place a design with respect to the shirt and hoop size. Because of these capabilities, the Hoopmaster will cut the time it takes to complete bulk orders, thus maximizing productivity.

7. Mighty Hoops: If you own these hoops, you probably use them for embroidering anything. Why? They essentially hoop the material themselves. Although they have a similar shape of regular hoops, they contain magnets that instantly cling together when they meet. This saves time and allows you to easily hoop thick items like bags.

8. 8-in-1 Hoop Set: The 8-in-1 hoop set consists of one master bracket and eight specialty hoops of different sizes that allow you to embroider on an extensive list of items. This tool allows embroiderers to “float” the material over the hoop using adhesive stabilizer, rather than hooping it traditionally. It is ideal for managing areas on apparel with limited embroidery space, such as pockets, sleeves, cuffs, baby clothes and more.

The 8-in-1 hoop set also provides a simple solution for embroidering the back and sides of caps. In addition to its versatility, these hoops also help prevent embroidery issues such as puckering on knit items like beanies. Usually, when you embroider knits, the material tends to stretch when hooped, causing the fabric to bunch up around the embroidered design. However, when you float the material using the 8-in-1 hoop, you can maintain the material’s original properties to ensure the best-possible embroidery.

9. Placement Stickers: Placement stickers provide simple and effective ways of marking design placement. Usually, embroiderers make placement marks using water-soluble pens and even chalk, which can be a hassle to remove. These reusable placement stickers keep garments free of residue and marks.

Another major bonus: The stickers contain crosshairs, making it easy to position the machine’s needle in the center to ensure proper placement. Once the needle is centered in the crosshair, it is almost impossible to have a failed attempt at stitching within the desired area.

10. Tension Gauge: In machine embroidery, proper thread tension is crucial to ensure smooth operation. Tension gauges allow you to measure your machine’s thread tension and adjust it until reaching the desired setting. Top-thread tension gauges are hooked to the top thread from the presser foot. By pulling on the thread, you can determine the tension the embroidery machine is applying to the thread.

Both top- and bobbin-thread tension gauges can be used for both commercial and home embroidery machines, and are available at plenty of embroidery-supply stores.

Raegan Daley is a content specialist at Ricoma Embroidery Machines. The company creates blog and video content to enable both beginner and expert embroiderers to start or grow their custom apparel businesses. For more information or to comment on this article, email Raegan at raegan@ricoma.us.

Target Practice

Mighty Hoops also help reduce hoop burn, which are the marks left behind by the hoop on your fabric. This makes them ideal when embroidering delicate substrates, such as satin, that are prone to hoop burn.