Hooping is an essential skill that anyone who is using embroidery machines must learn to get the best results on their project. The hoop is the main stabilizer for the fabric, which must be well-supported for effective stitching on Janome embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S. By following the few tips referenced below, anyone doing machine embroidery can achieve hooping success and avoid the many issues that can spell embroidery disaster.

Proper Hoop Sizing

When choosing the hoop for any project being done on embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S, there are two important considerations: the frame must be as small as possible and there must be plenty of working space for the needle head. Smaller frames allow for less movement of the fabric, which results in fewer stitching problems. Yet there also needs to be enough space around the design for the needle mechanism to move without being restricted by the hoop. Choose a size that is large enough so the needle does not experience interference, yet is still as small as possible for the individual design.

Correct Hoop and Fabric Positioning

Hoops on embroidery machines are set up just opposite of how the hoop for a hand-embroidered project would be done. Hand stitching involves laying the fabric over the inner ring as the outer ring surrounds them both, and the right side of the fabric ends up on the top of the frame. Hooping on an embroidery machine is different because the fabric lays over the inside of the outer frame, with the inner frame pressed in from the top to hold it secure. When set up correctly, the fabric should be face up at the bottom of the frame, not the top. This little detail confuses may beginner users of Janome embroidery machines. Getting the hoop set-up right is critical for adequate fabric support.

What Is Tight Enough?

While it may seem that all fabric should be secured as tightly as possible, this is not always the case. Hooping is done to provide an easy surface for the needle to pass in and out of the fabric without leaving large holes or pulling out fibers. This does mean using a tight hoop in most cases; however, if the fabric itself has some stretch, caution is necessary. Over-tightening flexible fabric so that it stretches in the hoop will result in a distorted design once the tension is released, along with other damage as the stitching takes place. Because of this, stretchier fabric and material with a looser weave that could stretch needs to be secured carefully, evenly, but without distortion in the frame.

Not All Fabrics Can Be Hooped

There are a few fabrics that should not be hooped since doing this can cause permanent damage. Some of these types of fabric include napped material like velvet and velour, vinyl or leather, super fine fabrics such as silk, some linens, and any other type of fabric with a looser weave. Attempting to hoop any of these materials can lead to either crushing the nap, marking the top surface, or stretching the finer fibers. It will remain obvious after the embroidering is complete.

In all of these situations, it is necessary to hoop only the stabilizer and then proceed slowly with the stitching. It is highly recommended to test first with some scrap fabric in order to gauge whether the fabric is durable enough.  

Hooping on embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S is definitely a technique that requires patience and practice. Getting it right can make the difference between achieving a beautifully stitched design or dealing with all sorts of stitching problems. For the best results using Janome embroidery machines, be sure to practice hooping first to avoid problems and ensure the final design turns out the way it should!

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