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Embroidery Tips & Techniques

The Final Steps for Professional Embroidery Results

We talk so much about planning embroidery and hooping fabric but we rarely discuss what to do with a project when we take it out of the hoop. Just like a golf swing, follow-through is important in embroidery.

Once the design is complete, remove the hoop from the machine. If you used a basting outline, remove it now from the wrong side. Also look for any thread tails that will interfere with stabilizer removal and trim them from the back.

If you’re using a standard hoop with a non-adhesive stabilizer, loosen the screw and release the inner ring, freeing the project from the hoop.

Hold cut-away stabilizer away from the fabric and trim the stabilizer about ¼” beyond the embroidery.

Examine the embroidery from the front. If there are puckers between solid areas of a design, or between two designs, slit the cut-away between the solid areas. This will relax the fabric in that area and most, if not all, puckers will iron away.

Use caution when ripping tear-away stabilizer to avoid distorting the fabric or the design. Hold the fabric while placing your thumbnail at the edge of the embroidery and gently tear the stabilizer at that point. If you used multiple layers of tear-away, remove them one layer at a time. The strength provided by the multiple layers during the stitching also gives added resistance in the tearing process.

Water soluble stabilizers should be removed exactly as stated on the packaging. With that being said, always, always, place the packaging inside the tube of stabilizer for future reference. When using water-soluble stabilizer, allow for the time it takes to wet and dry the fabric.

If your fabric is adhered to a tear-away adhesive stabilizer, place the entire hoop on a flat surface, right side up. Lift the fabric away from the adhesive outside of the embroidered area working your way around the entire design.

Flip the hoop over and gently puncture the stabilizer (with your thumbnail) along the edge of the embroidery. Any stabilizer remaining within the design will stay on the fabric.

Finally, it’s out of the hoop and the stabilizer is removed. Take a good look at the embroidery from the right side. Trim any thread remnants and pull away any topper that was applied. If any bobbin thread is showing on the right side, consider hiding it with a permanent fabric marker.

Press the embroidery from the wrong side on a fluffy towel to keep the stitches from flattening. Now, you’re really finished!

The Designs team recently attended the Sewing Expo in Puyallup, WA and brought home tons of information (have you seen what’s been happening on our Facebook page?) and a basket of goodies, including two of my favorite new tools – Lighted Tweezers & Magnifier and a Lighted Seam Ripper & Magnifier from our friends at Dalco Home Sew. Each tool features a LED light (never has to be replaced!) with a magnifying glass. Makes close-up work a breeze.

Tell me what your favorite embroidery tool/notion is and you could be a winner.


Last week we asked what your favorite embroidery blank is.  The winners of the towel blanks from are…Mary Haggenmaker and Paule-Marie!

Mary said, “My favorite embroidery work is done on kitchen towels. I have digitized several designs that have proven to be popular at the craft fairs I go to. I also digitized one for me. It is Grandma hanging out of a tree and she is definitely upset with the reindeer.”

Paule-Marie said, “I like towels and napkins. (yes there is an ulterior motive for them – I don’t have to worry about putting them in an embarrassing place!) I also like to use outlines and quilting designs to quilt my quilts.”

Congratulations, Mary and Paule-Marie!




  • Sandra

    My favourite embroidery tool is the bent tweezers to grab threads and lift thread loops out of the way when I am trimming the design. I don’t know how I managed without them.

  • Pam Duxbury

    My favorite tool is my Ott light. I can see the color of my threads even the different shades.

  • Lois

    My Favorite tool is my Heritage Cutlery Snips on a Lanyard… nice sharp curved blades… love love love them!

  • Mary Parker

    Hi Eileen,
    I missed going to the Sewing Expo in Puyallup too, was such great fun and classes when I went!!!
    My favorite tool is the little squeeze scissors, they are very sharp and curved to get close to those jump threads!!!

  • Enis

    I would have to say that my favorite notion is my curved tipped embroidery scissors. I always have them out and ready to use. And they sure get used a lot — trimming those thread tails, removing boo boos, trimming small pieces of fabric and stabilizer, and on and on and on. I also cannot live without my bent tipped tweezers. They go hand in had with the curved tipped embroidery scissors.

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    My favorite tool would have to be my tiny scissors!!! They are really good for getting into small places..

  • nancy minshew

    My favorite notion is new to me. It is called Hoop Grip. It is placed on the outside of the inner hoop and keeps the fabric from slipping.

  • Janet Recla

    I love doing quilts for newborns, I can play with all kinds of different designs for little ones. The parents oh and ah at the showers and think I have worked so hard, when really its all play for me.

  • Bernie Webre

    I have two favorites – Wonder Tape for my embroidery hoops. It holds the fabric in place to make the hooping process so much easier. My other new favorite is a “loop puller” to camoflague those annoying loopies that sometimes pop up – usually near the end of a stitch intensive design.

  • Kathi Miller

    I had a great time at Puyallup too!

    My favorite embroidery tool is my Easy Kut curved-blade scissors. I was introduced to them in a paper-piecing class with Carol Doak, the Queen of paper piecing. I use the curved-blade scissors for regular piecing and paper piecing as well as machine embroidery. They’re wonderful!

  • Jean Hollis

    Although it sounds like my favorite tool could be the lighted tweezers and magnifier, to date my favorite embroidery tool is the bent scissors that fit so nicely close to the fabric and under the needle. Never a chance of snipping the wrong stitch with them. For regular sewing, I like the thread snips that take just a squeeze for cutting threads! Such a time saver.

  • Peggy Schroeder

    I love my long, curved, tweezers. They make it easy to grab and pull the thread through. I also love my little curved, pinch handle scissors. No loops to try and stick these old arthritic hands in!

  • VickiT

    My absolute favorite embroidery tool is the Havel spring scissors. I LOVE them because they are excellent at getting the threads clipped on the back of any embroidery project.

  • rho

    My favorite tool is tweezers, so useful for many sewing tasks, like having another hand!

    • Margarita del Valle

      I have to agree. My favorite and most used tool is the tweezer. I have them in all shapes and forms. Also up there on the list are my collection of small scissors. All types for all tasks.

  • Kathy Schmidt

    My favorite tool I think would be my set of curved nippers from Nancy’s Notions for getting under embroideries when you get a thread nest or slight jam up while embroidering. I don’t know how many “holes” I ended up with before getting these. They are long enough & have just the right curve to reach under the hoop when in the machine & I haven’t had a problem since I got them. I am so glad that Eileen & Nancy are teamed up together, I’ve learnt so much from both. Thanks

  • Cassie

    I would have to say the curved fiskars embroidery scissors, it makes cutting the small jump stitches easier

  • Terrie

    It is hard to name just one favorite tool but my absolute favorite tool is my embroidery machine! Without my machine I would have to do all the work manually and that would take too long. I love my tweezers, needle threader, thread nets, various scissors and snips, lint roller to pick up snipped threads, the stylus pen I found that works great on my touch screen (no more fingerprints), my centering rulers, hoop templates, adhesive sprays, disappearing ink markers, and so many more. I guess it depends on the project I am working on because I have favorite tools that I use for different types of projects.

    I love tools, gadgets and gizmos that help me get the task done quickly.

  • Gail Beam

    My favorite notions are transparent scotch tape and a wooden chopstick. The tape is great to use for holding down pieces of fabric when doing applique designs, holding fabric down when using the fix stitch, lining up pieces of fabric, and holding down solvy used on top of towels or other items. The chopstick is great for turning fabric tubes, and holding down fabric when ironing, especially in corners or making my own bias tape.

  • Cindy McCord

    Hi Eileen! I have 2 favorite embroidery tools – the
    MAGNA-HOOP and the SNAP-HOOP. I absolutely LOVE both of these hoops because they make my embroidery so much easier and fun!! It is so much faster and easier to get items in the hoop straight and I no longer have to hoop things two or three times trying to get them straight in the hoop. Also, I don’t have to use all the sticky stabilizer I used to use with the conventional hoops that came with my embroidery machine. I absolutely LOVE both of these hoops and hope more of your followers try them – they will NOT be disappointed!!! I hope you and Marie are doing great!!

    • Cynthia

      I am having problems with the snap hoop. It is skipping stitches in my lettering that is programed into my machine, I have changed my density and tension and machine speed, nothing seems to work. I went back to my standard hoop and the lettering turns out perfect. Can you please give me some advice. I working on my Christmas quilt and I’m running out of time

  • Jane

    My favorite tool is the 4-inch double curved Gingher scissors. They can get so close when clipping applique and cut threads neatly. I can’t embroider without them.
    Jane in Kansas

  • Lesley

    I can’t live without my “quick unpick” as I tend to use it everytime I sew !!!!

  • Lesley

    And I do use it to unpick embrodery stitches when they go wrong to.

  • Doris Alvarez

    My favorite tool is something I found at Puyallup two years ago, my KAI scissors. They are absolutely the best scissors I have ever owned. Although a bit pricey, they are worth every penny.
    Doris Alvarez

  • Catie

    Hi there
    My newest favorite notions (love them!!) are the sidehopper scissors tiny tiny to get those pesky jump stitches between letters

  • Ms Maria Davis

    Hi my Name is Maria I’m living in Canada I’m looking for a agua cal fade the lar please do you sell this kind of soft because I’m interestd to buy . Please could you let me known. Thank

  • Ann Wright

    My favorite tool is the little squeeze scissors,they are very sharp and curved to get close to those jump threads & for my applique.I made a scissors holder so i can carry them in my purse too. I would love to buy them wholesale by the dozen. Thanks,Ann

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