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How to Hoop For Machine Embroidery

Embroidery is an exquisite art form that requires attention to detail and proper techniques. Among these techniques, hooping plays a critical role in achieving impeccable embroidery results. Whether you are a seasoned embroiderer or a beginner, mastering the art of hooping is essential for producing top-quality embroidered designs. In this blog, we'll explore the best practices for machine embroidery hooping and review ten tips to help you.

1. Stabilizers: The Foundation Of Successful Hooping

Stabilizers are the unsung heroes of machine embroidery, providing the necessary support to ensure that the fabric doesn't move during the embroidery process. Always use a backing when hooping to stabilize the fabric being embroidered on. This creates a solid foundation for your design, preventing distortion and puckering. If you are not sure as to what kind of stabilizer is appropriate, visit our E-Zee Backing Selection Guide.

2. Choosing The Right Hoop Size

Selecting the appropriate hoop size is crucial for a smooth embroidery process and impeccable results. Whenever possible, choose the smallest hoop available for your design or garment. Smaller hoops are easier to work with, limit fabric movement, and maintain excellent design registration.

how to choose the right hoop

3. Round Hoops For Consistent Tension

Round hoops offer consistent and even tension all the way around the hoop. They are ideal for embroidering left chest logos and right chest corporate designs. Experiment with round hoops of different sizes to find the best fit for your embroidery projects.


4. Square Hoops For Larger Designs

When working on larger designs like full sweatshirt fronts, jacket backs, and totes, square hoops come to the rescue. Their larger size provides ample space for the expansive designs, ensuring accurate stitching and a smooth embroidery process.

round hoop

5. Creating The Perfect Hooping Station

Setting up a hooping station can significantly enhance your embroidery experience. Hooping stations allow for height adjustments and typically include extra shelves and racks to hold your hooping needs. You can even create a makeshift hooping station with a small adjustable table if you're not ready to invest in a dedicated setup.

6. Achieving The Right Hoop Tension

Proper tension in the hoop is crucial for successful embroidery. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • The garment should be snugly hooped with no stretching, and the fabric should not move when a finger is lightly run along it
  • Avoid overstretching the garment, as it can lead to puckering. The only exception is when hooping garments like swimwear or bicycle shorts, which should be hooped in their stretched state.
  • Always adjust the lower hoop's screw before hooping. Once set, it should not be tightened further after hooping to avoid fabric bunching and instablityyyyyy

7. Techniques For Hooping

Hooping aids are available in various styles and are great for ease of hooping and proper design placements. Whether you are using a hooping aid or hooping on a flat surface, the basic technique is the same:

  • Place the outer or bottom hoop underneath the garment or fabric
  • Insert a piece of backing in between the fabric and the bottom hoop
  • Align the bottom hoop and backing so the design is in the middle of the hoop
  • Lightly pull on the material on the outside of the hoop in all directions to create a smooth foundation over the bottom of the hoop
  • Place the bottom of the top hoop in place so it is snug against the bottom hoop edge
  • Place you hand over the top hoop to hold it in place. If needed, lightly pull on the material on the top and side to ensure there is no extra material inside the hoop
  • Now push the top of the top hoop into place.
  • If it is too hard or too easy to push the top hoop in, remove the bottom hoop and loosen or tighten the tension screw. Then, Repeat steps 1 through 8 until the top hoop goes snuggly
  • How can you tell if it is too tight or too loose? If you feel like a hammer is needed to insert the top hoop, it is too tight. If the top hoop feels like it will fall apart when vibrating on the embroidery machine it is too loose.







8. Practice and Test Your Techniques

Don't be afraid to practice and experiment with different hooping techniques. Unhoop your embroidery samples to assess the finished results. This will help you refine your hooping skills and achieve better outcomes.

9. Efficient Backing Usage

Using a single layer of backing whenever possible minimizes fabric movement during embroidery. However, for certain fabrics like performance wear, a combination of stabilizers is recommended:

  • 2 layers of Weblon No-Show (place next to the garment)
  • 1 layer of medium weight tear-away stabilizer (place on the bottom, away from the garment)
  • Use a light layer of spray adhesive in between the backings only when necessary.

10. Minimizing Spray Adhesive Usage

While spray adhesive can be useful in certain situations, it should be used sparingly. Apply the adhesive on the backing, not the garment, to avoid buildup on the fabric. This will ensure that your embroidery stays clean and professional.

Mastering Hooping

Mastering the art of machine embroidery hooping is an essential skill for any embroiderer. Through practice and experimentation, you'll develop your hooping techniques, resulting in impeccable embroidered designs. Remember to use the right stabilizers, choose the appropriate hoop size, and maintain the perfect tension to achieve outstanding embroidery results every time. Happy hooping and embroidering!

There are many tools out there to help embroiderers hoop effectively.

  • For hard to hoop materials, you may want to use a temporary spray adhesive or a stick-on backing to provide more stability to your garment.
  • Also, a hooping system will aid in hooping a garment for embroidery. Hooping systems are especially helpful for hooping multiple layers and for uniformly hooping multiple items for a big job.


Article By: Nancy Mini, Product Marketing Manager