Handy Tips

A Seam Ripper is a handy tool – it can be used for trimming backings & for removing unwanted stitches. To trim backings poke a sharp point through the backing to start & then just slide it around the design. For removing stitches place ball against the garment & remove the unwanted stitches by running along the bobbin stitches.

Spring Loaded Carpenter Clamps – great for hard to hoop items, load hoop with backing, put object over hoop & clamp.

Pipe Cleaners & Cotton Swabs – are good to clean lint & dirt out of hard to reach, hidden crevices & corners on your machine.

Spray Adhesive – you can spray on backing then adhere it to the garment to avoid stretching of T-Shirts etc.

Double Sticky Tape – lay down a strip of 2 sided tape on hoping area to keep slippery garments in place while they are being hoped.

Foam Packing Peanut – you can run your thread through a foam peanut to straighten out kinks in your thread, especially good for metallic thread.

Towel Backing Paper – if your going to do embroidery on towels this is good to use. When the needle punctures the towel, cotton gets on the needle & ends up clogging the bobbin mechanism; this paper prevents this form happening. Towel Backing Paper comes in a stack like typing paper & lasts a long time.

Pegboard – this is a must! You can make a wonderful storage system out of pegboard. Go toyour local lumberyard & have them cut you 2 (1 inch x 2 inch) 2 feet long pieces of wood & a piece of pegboard 2 feet x 4 feet. Attach the 2 (1” x 2”) pieces to each narrow end of the pegboard on the backside with 1” screws (screw through the pegboard from the front side & into the boards use 4 screws on each end so it won’t pull loose) then on one end put two sturdy picture hangers one on each end of the board, the 1” between the board & the wall makes it easy to move pegboard hangers around while the pegboard is attached to the wall. Now that your storage board is complete find a good place to hang it up, you can use a couple of heavy duty picture hooks & if you can find the wall studs you can nail the hangers into the studs then take a measurement & adjust the hangers on the pegboard so those hangers center over the hooks, by nailing into the studs you won’t have to worry about putting to much weight on the pegboard & having it end up on the floor.

There are lots of different types of hooks that can be used on pegboard, there are some long ones that work great for hanging the big thread cones, thread always sews better if it is stored correctly. You will always know where your scissors are if they are hanging on their special hook. Hoops look a lot better hanging on your pegboard than thrown in a corner or a box, & they won’t get broken by getting stepped on or having something piled on them.

On designs with large filled areas you can switch from #40 thread to #30 for better coverage.

Use polyester thread on any garment or item that will be subjected to bleach.

For hoop burns on dark fabrics you can use fabric sizing to get rid of them, spray the sizing on the hoop burn & rub it with your finger until it disappears.

Hoops – hoops with square windows make it easier to see if a garment is hoped straight, plastic hoops usually last longer than wooden hoops. Use the smallest hoop that your design will fit into.

To avoid backing from showing through translucent white garments you can use a washaway/tearaway backing sold by Lollingsworth & Vose Co. in Floyd, Va.When it is washed the backing partially dissolves & is removed in the wash water. A small amount stays under the stitches so you keep the backing where you need it without the disadvantage of it showing through the garment.

There is something called Tricky Film marketed by Gunold that is a backing removable with heat that is good for use on lace, silk, knit, satin & other delicate fabric.

Clean your embroidery machine after every use and oil, according to instructions, be sure to use an approved oil. NEVER use WD-40 it is a solvent not a lubricant & will ruin your machine.

Use wax paper between the hoop & machine table top when sewing on coated fabrics such as Cordura & also when sewing metallic thread to prevent skipped stitches, but you will have to remember to clean out the hook area more.

If you have super sized cones & want to use either a smaller cone or just want a second cone you can use a drill with a spade bit to wind thread onto an empty cone. Put the large spool on the floor & wind the thread onto the new cone, use your free hand to guide the thread evenly to avoid kinking, if you can’t get a good fit use some paper towel to make it tighter.

When you are doing embroidery on fleece use a sturdy cut away backing, don’t stretch the garment, fuse a cutaway to back of material (you can use a spray on adhesive) & hoop the two backings together. Use a water-soluble topping to keep stitches from sinking into the fleece.

You can test to make sure you have the correct needle/thread combination by taking a loose needle & two feet of thread, raise & lower the end of the thread, if you have the correct combination the needle will slide back & forth easily.

Tweezers – are good for holding the thread when you are trying to trim between things especially when the thread is really short. It is also good for picking away topping in small areas that are hard to get at.

If you have a hard time threading the needle because you can’t see the hole that well keep a white index card to put behind the needle & make the hole show up better. Or better yet buy one of those tiny wire needle threaders that are available at any grocery store in the sewing notions.

Hooping tips:

  • The fabric inside the hoop should be flat but not tight.
  • Don’t stretch the fabric in the hoop.
  • To increase gripping power, whap the hoops with bias tape, gauze, cotton twill tape, or non-sticky medical tape.
  • You can also glue velvet ribbon on the inside of the outer hoop & on the outside of the inner hoop to hold delicate fabrics like silk.
  • Use you palms not your fingertips to push the inner hoop ring into the outer ring. If you use your fingers you will end up injuring yourself if you have to really push down hard to get it in.
  • Don’t stretch knit fabrics when you hoop them, it will cause the fabric to pucker after it is removed from the hoop.
  • Tight woven fabrics like denim & satin jackets will sew well when hooped tightly, but light woven fabrics should not feel tight in the hoop.

Monogram sizing:

Style: Men: Women: Children:
Script name ½” to 5/8” ½” to 5/8” 3/8” to ½”
Script initials 5/8” 5/8” ½” to 5/8”
Block name ½” to 5/8” ½” to 5/8” 3/8” to ½”
Block initials 5/8” 5/8” 3/8” to ½”