General Embroidery Tips for the Home Embroiderer
The first thing that everybody learns when starting out is - test stitch your designs. Try to use the same fabric, as it will give the most accurate result. If you don’t have the identical fabric or off-cut, go to your “stash” and find a scrap which is similar and preferably a slightly lighter weight. If your design is going to give problems with your chosen fabric, they will definitely show up on a fabric which is slightly lighter. Test stitching your design also shows you how the finished design is going to look, so you can make any adjustments to size etc.
The next thing you learn is how to hoop your fabric. Never pull your fabric tight in the hoop. It should be relaxed and smooth. If you pull and tug until it is “drum tight” it will relax when it is removed and your design will not lie nice and flat but will jump back with the fabric. This is especially important with knits. Avoid stretching at all costs!
Another tip is to gently push down (2/3mm) on the corners of your inner hoop before putting it into your embroidery machine. This will decrease the amount of friction caused by the hoop sliding back and forth on your machine because it won’t be plastic going back and forth but rather a layer of stabilizer.
Everyone develops their own favourite ways of hooping. Many people prefer not to hoop very lightweight fabrics. Especially thin cotton knits, voiles etc or fabrics which have a nap or pile as these will show “hoop burns”. The best way with these would be to hoop a good, medium weight piece of stabilizer into your hoop (tight but not drum tight) and then spray with a product like 505 Adhesive Spray.
Mark the centre of the area you want to embroider and place it gently on top of the sprayed stabilizer, then make a cross which is about 5cm across and down to help ensure that you are placing your garment straight. There are also various brands of sticky stabilizers on the market, which would serve just as well as the spray adhesives. With nice firm cottons, you can use a medium stabilizer in the hoop and “float” a loose piece underneath.