Embroidery machines can be used to create beautiful stitched decorations on clothing and other items. Yet getting the design perfect can sometimes be a bit frustrating, especially when the fabric wrinkles while the design is being stitched. Wrinkles and puckers are a definite concern when working on Janome embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S; however, by understanding how this happens, embroiderers can easily prevent it from taking place.

What Causes Wrinkles and Puckers?

There are a few recognized reasons why at the end of sewing a design on embroidery machines, the fabric might be puckered or wrinkled along the edge of the stitches:

  • Poor Stabilization - Stabilizers under or on top of the design are essential to support the fabric so the pattern can be correctly sewn. Choosing the wrong type of stabilizer or improperly hooping the fabric and stabilizer invites stretching and movement that can result in puckers.
  • Stretched or Shrunk Fabric - It is critical to properly hoop material for best results with Janome embroidery machines. If the material is stretched during hooping, it will pull back into place when released from the hoop, creating distortions and gathers at the edges of the design. Puckering can also occur after the item is washed if the fabric was not pre-shrunk..
  • Thread Tension and Speed - Thread pressure that is too tight can result in a tight design. This tension is sometimes due to machine settings or sewing too fast, which increases pressure. Once the piece is removed from the hoop, this tension can pull and distort the fabric, resulting in ripples and wrinkles.
  • Complex Stitching Designs - The more complicated an embroidery design is, the more prone it may be to gather. Detailed pieces that incorporate more stitches placed in different directions often end up tighter, which leads to greater pressure. Once the design is removed from the hoop, the same tightening and pulling as mentioned above may occur.
  • Displaced Threads - Displacement is when the needle repeatedly enters one hole more than the usual two times, rather than creating a new hole. This causes a tightening and pulling effect in those individual stitch holes. If displacement is widespread, it can cause wrinkles around the edges of the stitching.

How Can Embroidery Wrinkles and Puckers Be Prevented?

To reduce the chance of crimping and gathering when using embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S, it is essential to set the project up correctly on the machine as follows:

  • Fabric - When pre-shrink fabric will be used for machine embroidery, choose a weight and type that is recommended for the size, type, and complexity of the design. Reduce design density to avoid distortion and thread displacement.
  • Stabilizers -  Begin with having the right fabric stabilizer securely affixed to the material. If necessary, baste the design to the stabilizer for added security. Stabilizers should be chosen based on the design that is being sewn and the fabric type and weight so they perform as needed. The right type will reduce stretch and also reduce distortion and the chance of displaced threads.
  • Hooping - The piece must be carefully hooped to prevent the tension and fabric stretch commonly responsible for wrinkling. Improper hooping is the cause of a number of different embroidery problems, so it is something that should be practiced. Use a hoop aid if necessary.
  • Thread and Needle - Use the smallest needle possible for the design and sew at the slowest speed when wrinkling could be an issue. Adjust tension using a gauge. Rayon thread may perform better in these situations.

Each design stitched on embroidery machines presents new challenges for the embroiderer. Using the helpful tips referenced above, anyone using Janome embroidery machines such as the Janome MB-4S can anticipate the possibility of wrinkling and puckering and hopefully avoid it!

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