There are many reasons why machine embroidery designs don’t come out right, from the artwork being poorly digitized to a bad choice of stabilizer and more.

One of the more common reasons for this to happen is incorrect hooping.

Improper hooping is actually responsible for more problems resulting in poor design results from embroidery machines than most people think and when it comes to hooping, size really does matter!

Why Is Hooping Necessary Anyway?

The whole purpose of hooping is to keep the fabric being embroidering unmovable so it won’t stretch, tear, or shift while being punched by the needle at high speed.

Even though stabilizer is one means to do that, hooping is also important as it keeps the entire fabric and stabilizer combo from moving around while supporting the fabric for stitching.

Essentially, you can’t stitch a design without having it hooped, yet it’s essential to hoop it correctly if you want optimal results with your machine.

Hooping Gone Wrong

The two ways that hooping can go wrong with machine embroidery is when:

  • The fabric is not tensioned in the hoop well enough to prevent fabric movement.
  • The fabric ends up too loose in the sewing field because the hoop is too big.

When the hoop is too big for the design, the fabric may be correctly tensioned within it but still experience movement caused by the needle and thread moving up and down in the middle of that too-large space.

Think of it like you would a trampoline: the larger the trampoline, the more up and down movement you get with less effort while a smaller one has more tension and is harder to bounce.

How to Choose the Right Size Hoop

The wrong size hoop for your design on an embroidery machine can cause issues that might ruin your design.

Fortunately, picking the right size hoop couldn’t be easier.

Hoops used with embroidery machines come in standard sizes, so you’ll want to use the smallest hoop possible that fits around your design while allotting a little bit of space all around for the movement of the machine.

You can do that by choosing a hoop that has an interior sewing field dimension large enough that the design reaches the edges of that dimension but does not exceed it.

For example, since a 4” x 4” hoop has a sewing field dimension of only 3.94” x 3.94”, you’ll want your design to be no larger than 3.94” on any side.

That may seem like a close squeeze; however, because the next standard size hoop is 5” x 7”, this could be too big for a 3-½” design and could result in shifting and other problems.

If your design is a full 4 inches, you’ll have no choice but to use that larger size hoop, in which case a secure stabilizer is your best friend.

Pick Your Hoop Carefully for Great Embroidery Results

Every embroidery machine comes with at least one embroidery hoop and some, like the Janome MB-7 embroidery machine, come with more than one hoop.

In either case, it’s important to have a variety of hoop sizes available so you can always choose the right size for the many designs you’ll stitch with your machine.

Purchase extra hoops if you need them, as your investment in different sized hoops will prevent many embroidery problems and all the frustration and wasted thread that go with them!