Embroidery hoops are useful tools for both aiding your stitching and displaying your finished pieces. To find out how to use an embroidery hoop, take a look at these tips and instructions from Hoop-la! by Kirsty Neale…
Wooden embroidery hoops are easy to source, simple to use and tend to hold fabric more securely than plastic hoops. They range in size from 7.5cm (3in) to 30cm (12in). When you’re shopping for hoops, they’ll usually be sized in inches, going up in increments of an inch at a time. Oval hoops are a little harder to find, but make a nice alternative to their circular cousins.
Whether using your embroidery hoop for its original practical purpose of securing your fabric while you stitch, or to frame your finished pieces to hang on the wall, these instructions from Hoop-la! explain how to neatly fix the fabric into your hoop:
1. Loosen the screw at the top edge just enough to accommodate the thickness of the fabric. Separate the inner and outer parts of the hoop, place the fabric on top of the inner hoop and then press the outer one down firmly on top. If there’s too much resistance, loosen the screw a little more.
2. When the fabric is in place, you can gently pull at the edges to make any small adjustments. When it’s smooth and taut in the hoop, use a screwdriver to re-tighten the screw.
3. Once your project is stitched and stretched into an embroidery hoop, you may like to finish off the back so it’s neat and ready to display. There are various ways to do this, as follows. For an extra-neat finish, cut out a circle of felt and glue over the back of your hoop to cover all raw edges and knotted threads:
- Folding Over – this is the best option for lightweight or medium-weight fabrics. Trim the excess fabric from the edges of the hoop so you’re left with just 1cm–2cm (⅜in–¾in) all the way around. Spread glue over the back of the excess fabric and carefully press down against the inside edges of the hoop.
- Trimming Flat – this works best for thicker fabrics, such as wool or felt. Making sure your fabric is fixed very securely in place, trim the excess fabric flat against the back of the hoop.
- Gathering – this is a useful option if it’s likely you’ll need to remove the fabric from your hoop at any point, for instance to wash it. Trim the excess fabric, so it measures 4cm–5cm (1½in– 2in) all the way around. Fold over a 1cm (⅜in) hem along the raw edge and secure with a gathering stitch. Pull the thread ends to gather the excess fabric and knot to secure.