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Alignment and Placement Continuous Embroidery Hooping

A new solution to squaring up fabric in the hoop

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Let me introduce you to PAL – Perfect Alignment Laser. I use PAL for common machine embroidery tasks: finding the center of a quilt block or pocket, squaring my fabric/design in the hoop and continuous embroidery.  First, I’ll show you how easy it is to set up PAL in your sewing room.

Once it’s set, use it to find the center of a project. Watch how quick this task is mastered.

If you struggle with hooping square, you’ll be amazed at how easy PAL can get you on the straight and narrow path to success.

PAL is great for hooping square but PAL is also ideal for more complex embroidery projects like continuous embroidery.  I know many of you struggle with continuous embroidery.  There are quite a few ways to tackle continuous embroidery.  The old school method is to print templates of the designs and use them to connect the designs.

Stitch the first design. Remove the fabric from the hoop.  Align the image on the template with the stitched design.  Tape the template to the fabric. Hoop the fabric, centering the template in the hoop. Stitch the second design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A newer method involves stitch marks or placement marks.  Some machines let you add these stitches to a design while some software programs feature easily-positioned placement marks.

However you opt to add them, the method for stitching is the same.  Stitch the first design with its alignment marks. Remove the fabric from the hoop.  Hoop tear-away stabilizer and stitch the alignment marks in the second design.  Spray the stabilizer with temporary adhesive.  Align the marks on the stabilizer with the marks on the fabric. Press the fabric to the sticky surface and continue.  Many embroiderers actually insert thumbtacks into the alignment marks on the stabilizer (tacks are inserted from the back of the hoop) and then puncture the fabric with the tacks for a seamless joint (image from Vol. 72 Designs in Machine Embroidery).

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

When I first witnessed this technique, I have to confess I was horrified.  Rarely is there a garment I’m working on that I’m willing to shove thumbtacks through.  But I did admire the accuracy.  I think that’s what got me thinking about a new tool and that’s how PAL was born.

Now let me show you what PAL can do for you during the complicated embroidery process of continuous embroidery. Watch how PAL perfectly aligns one design to the next.

I have been having a ball using PAL in my sewing room. It’s perfect for beaming a straight line on the sewing machine bed so I can stitch accurate seam allowances. But I showed PAL to my sister. No, not my Stitching Sister, Marie. One of my other sisters, Liz Scully, the real artist.  She’s a painter and immediately turned on PAL and beamed the crosshair on her canvas.  Now she uses it to streamline proportion drawing and the like. She told me other crafters would love this tool too – scrapbookers, rubber stampers, cake decorators and more!

For more information or to purchase the Perfect Alignment Laser (PAL) visit our website.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us what embroidery/sewing/crafting tasks you would use the PAL for and you could win a $25 shopping spree on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog




  • Claudia Pence

    I would use it to align all those decorative stitches tha are soooo hard to keep in a straight line, instead of using a marker.

    • Virginia Frazier

      I would use it to help with multi-hooping or endless embroidery for quilting

    • Rebecca

      I was making 3d poinsettias for Christmas and got confused and took the part I just stitched out of the hoop. OH NO!
      I thought all was lost, but no, wait. I got out my PAL and tried my best to rehoop my project. IT worked! I was able to restitch it and it ALL stiched out perfectly, whew, what a save!

  • Carol Seavitt

    This looks like a great tool. Usually, I don’t hoop my fabric. The stabilizer is hooped and I draw my lines on the stabilizer and then on the fabric with iron off markers. If I could place the laser at different positions for each of my hoops, this would save me a ton of time with making sure I’m perfectly centered. Very cool tool!

  • Anne Marie Reilly

    I purchased this for myself in December, and I plan to use it to help me stitch neckline designs and shoulder designs. I find both of these areas a little tricky to do correctly.

  • Bev Chapman

    I am always being asked to embroider names on hats and have a hard time getting them straight when they want them in odd places. I could definetly use this

  • Judy Lunsford

    I think it will be great use to align frames on the wall.It would help you make sure they were level and straight.

  • Linda Sorensen

    I love “making” fabric, usually with quilting designs. Then I use the fabric for handbags. “Making” fabric requires alignment in 2 directions: top-to-bottom and side-to-side. Despite my best efforts the outcome has been a bit hit and miss. I then use fussy cutting to “hide” the mistakes; this is wasteful of precious fabric and thread. I think the PAL would make this adventure much more fun!

  • Sherrie Lilly

    I will use it to finish the continuous borders on a quilt that I am embroidering now. I watched your short video on using the alignment marks and pal to line up continuous embroidery and the light in my head went off. Now they will be lined up perfectly. Thanks again for another great product.

  • Mizz Lizz

    Ball caps for sure~~!!

  • Patti Johnson

    I embroider a lot of sweatshirts & blankets & think this would be a great help.

  • Claudia Orozco

    WOW … this looks like a really useful tool … no more chalk, or invisible pen marks that take forever to disappear – LOL – I think it will be much easier to find the center of any project!!

  • Glenda

    I seem to always have more trouble aligning horizontally. So I think the Pal would really be a great help with this and the vertical. There are soo many other uses for the Pal. A great addition to the sewing room.

  • Lynette Brown

    What wouldn’t I use it on!! Towels, napkins, shirts, quilt blocks….. This is definitely is going on my wish list!!

  • Penny Martin-Holly

    I would love to use this to line up the embroidery designs on Scrumptious Sweats. It would make it soooo much easier and a lot more fun. Although Scrumptious Sweats is fun to do anyway.

  • Roxanne Ricchio

    Yay!!!!! Just what I need!!! Centering designs and hooping is the
    most difficult part of machine embroidery for me. This is so great. I will use this when embroidering on the purses that I make and everything else I embroider. Thank you!!!

  • Lawana

    What a terrific product! I would do sooooo much more embroidery if I had this. I spend more time getting things hopped straight than I do stitching

  • Doris Van Peeren

    Watched all the video on what PAL can do and it is an amazing tool. I am looking forward to using one. Keep up the good work with your magazine. Doris Van Peeren

  • Danni Armstrong

    I would use it for continuous embroidering and for finding the middle of a design. I really like the idea of taking an embroidery design and running it around the bottom of a jacket and up over one of the shoulders of the back of the jacket to the collar. It would be such fun to play with.

  • Jolanda Ingram

    I would use it for helping me to align embroidery on black fabrics.
    I love to embroider on black and it always difficult to line up designs as you cannot really see through the material to aline and to work with templates as also difficult. I am from South Africa and here this product is not yet in stores so I would like to be the first.

  • LeAnne

    PAL looks fantastic. I want one. I would use it for lining up my multiple-hooping projects and alignment on garments where you want to get it in just the right spot. Continuous borders would be great too. I really can’t think of anything I wouldn’t use it on.

    I’m going to mention this to my sister who does a lot of needlepoint. It would sure make centering those designs on the canvas a whole lot easier than counting holes.

  • Bonnie Gray

    I could have used this when I made a boat bag for a friend. Inused a marking pencil because I did not have an invisible marker that I could see on the fabric. After I had embroidered the design I tried to remove the markings but It took quite awhile to get them to disappear. I wouldn’t have had that problem if I had PAL for that project. I ordered it as a Christmas present for myself and can’t wait to try it out.

  • Shirley R

    Ladies, let me tell you I could not wait to order one! I received it this week and it is absolutely everything described and more. What a joy it is to find the perfect center so easily! I’m working on a set of napkins right now with this tool. I urge you all to get one. It shows up easily on every fabric I have tried it on. This is a wonderful tool! And, last but not least, Thank you, Eileen, for making this available to us!

  • starrk

    This is a great tool to help align those purchased things that don’t lay flat or are too small to work easily– sleeves, baby clothing, yokes with gathers, purses, hats, etc. Especially good on fabrics with a specific pattern like checks and stripes! Great to align machine smocking.

  • Sharon Aiken

    I would not only use PAL for all my machine embroidery, but would use it for stenciling on both fabric and furniture.

  • Gail Beam

    I do a lot of my embroidery on sweatshirts, towels, pillowcases, and blankets for my grandchildren. Pal would be great to help be line up the designs and names!

  • Wanda H Leffingwell

    This would help me on my Quilts, and all kinds embroidery products!Pal would be a much needed tool for me to have! Wanda

  • Brenda McNeil

    I make alot of baby clothes and blankets… this would be worth a million to get these little items straight. Could also use it on some of the crafty, non-sewing items I make!

  • Stella Penalver

    I would use PAL and save lots of time lining up designs and names for all my embroidery projects for my 8 grandchildren.

  • Whitney H

    I’ve never even attempted continuous embroidery because of the alignment issue. I would use this for sure!

  • Judy

    I will use it for everything I embroider. I will take the wonkiness out of my work. No matter how hard I try, it seems things are just a little “off”. Sounds like a miracle to me!!!!

  • Patty Happel

    Ditto all of the above. Looks great!

  • Joan

    What a great product! I would use PAl to line up designs and monograms on projects for my grandchildren. Thank you for the generous giveaway!

  • Margaret Pepper

    Being able to get the designs centered perfectly in the corners of the stroller blankets I make would be so great!

  • Patty Sack

    I would use it to do a multi hooping center design in a king size bed quilt! I haven’t started it yet because I don’ want to mess it up!

  • Bridget Cheatham

    My husband loves the personalized t-shirts and caps I embroider for him…I can definitely see the PAL being a great help in that area. It’s pretty tricky to hoop square over a pocket, and the stiff fabric of a cap is so hard to work with. My machine has the ability to tweak a design that is not hooped perfectly, but it would be great to have it right from the beginning. Oh…and I must confess…I have the mega hoop for my machine and have never conquered a continuous design!

  • Vickie Yanik

    I am fairly new to machine embroidery, so I think this would be a great tool to have. I need all the help I can get in getting things lined up. I am a longarm quilter and I think it would come in handy for that too. Love your magazine!!!

  • Lynn

    Paper Piecing…for helping me express the ideas in my head in fabric.

  • Carol Morrow

    This looks like a terrific tool. I would use it to align logos on shirts etc. It’s always hard to get them aligned straight.

  • Linda Guenther

    I would use this allign multiple embroideries when making a “window scene”. I have only made one picture and it was a challenge to line up the window panes. This looks like it would make that sooooooooooo
    much easier!!

  • Donna G.

    So many uses! Getting borders straight, corners aligned, designs where they’re suppose to be, and the grain of fabric perfect1 What a neat tool!

  • Jackie

    I’d love to do a continuous border on a quilt I’m about to start. I would also use it to square up my wall hangings which for some reason are also a tad off in one corner or another. (still working on that) What a great idea!

  • Jean

    Looks like there would be many uses for this….towels, caps, etc.

  • Keri Tieman

    I haven’t done many shirts or projects….so this would be great for me to getting designs aligned in the correct place!

  • Cindy McCord

    Hi Eileen. Happy New Year!!! I can wait to use my PAL. I actually received 2 for Christmas – one from my husband and one from my best friend. So, my friend and I split the cost on one of them and we are giving it to our other good friend for her birthday this month!! I am excited to use it to center designs on my quilts.

  • Dawn Duke

    In order to get the maximum size on a communion table design, the design had to be squared in the Grand dream hoop, and then rotated on the fabric for correct placement. This PAL would have saved a lot of time.
    I’m new to your page, it looks most interesting.

  • Dani Beth

    I have been wanting to make a bed skirt with an all around design, PAL would make the task a joy !!!

  • rose pryor

    Wherever I would use pins or markers to make straight lines, or line up designs, or pattern pieces, or placement of designs within designs, on ready-made, and make to order. I don’t think I can live without it now!

  • Nancy Owens

    Eileen, What a gem you have come up with. This little “sewing” tool can be used in so many ways. I personally have 2 sons getting married in 2012 and I know “Mom” will be very busy. I could use this little PAL to make sure the wedding quilts are without error. Thanks for the chance to win the shopping spree. More importantly, thanks for a new PAL!

  • Judith Carlon

    I would use it to align up continuous embroidered quilting designs as well as aligning designs on t-shirts and sweatshirts.

  • Kathy Schmidt

    What would I use it for…….absolutely all my embroideries, no more struggling with hooping & rehoopin & rehooping trying to get embroideries lined up squarely, which I do time & time again.
    Love the Blog & all the helpful hints

  • Cheryl Bruce

    I have always had trouble lining up lettering and embroidery designs straight. I purchased a PAL recently, the more I use it the more things I find that I can use it with. Right now I’m thinking it would work great on lining up trims and wording on home made greeting cards. I’m finding it to be a very useful tool. Thanks for making hobbies more fun.

  • B Crowdis

    I would use PAL to make sure my designs are embroidered straight. Sometimes this is a problem for me. I monogrammed some Christmas stocking that were already make and getting names straight is difficult.

  • Denice

    Along with all the forementioned uses I would find PAL very handy for lineing up a group of different designs into a border. This is something I have found myself doing on a number of projects and it is allways a bit of a guessing game to get them right. I have at times had to add some extra fancy stitches to get things to look right when they ended up slightly miss-aligned.

  • Keri

    Awesome!!! That would save SO much time and frustration! It would give me a lot more confidence!!!

  • Nancy Kiernan

    I am the world’s WORST hooper. No matter what I do, whatever I try, I am always a bit off when finally finished. I have thought over and over–“I wish someone would invent something to make hooping perfect.” I have thought of dozens of things but nothing workable. I am working on a quilt for a shower for a great-grand child and can hardly wait to hoop the teddy bear on the quilt perfectly for a change. Cheers to the inventer.

  • Beth R

    I have already used this to help me get towels correctly lined up in the hoop, and I plan to use it for endless embroidery and for correctly centering other designs. I am also working on display posters for an organization of which I am a member, and am going to use this to help me line up the different pictures and wording descriptions that are going on the posters.

    I also used it to mark the upper design limit on each of my hoops – the upper part of the hoops for my machine is not used (it is extra space, I’m not sure why, but that’s how the machine embroidery system works); a few times I’ve found that I hooped fabric too high in the hoop. So I took the PAL, set it next to my machine, attached a hoop, and moved the needle to the upper limit of the embroidery area of the hoop. I marked each side of the hoop, and now I know when I’m hooping if I am getting close to the upper limit of my stitch area. Easier than guessing, and quicker than measuring each time!

  • josefa barrera

    I will like to used it in the mantel of the church
    the altar mantel if very hard to center correctly.

  • Anna G.

    I would like to use it when I split designs and have to put 2 or 3 parts together. I would like to buy it.

  • Diane Cockman

    I would use this for all multihooping and continued borders. It looks like it would really be neat.

  • Danni Armstrong

    Not only could you use this tool for embroidery, but it could also be used for Quilting. It would be great for lining up points when you need to align a triangle to a square prior to stitching them together. The point has to be in the center of the square.

  • Diane Paul

    I think this tool would be great for all embroidery projects. the hardest part of embroidering for me is getting the design centered.

  • Stacey Bible

    What could I possibly use this on? How about everything! I love to embellish clothing for my daughters and my best friend’s grandbabies. This would be perfect for hooping tshirts, onesies, jackets, anything I could possible think of.

  • Karen

    I would you use it for notebook paper, however if I had a kindle, that would be a nice keeper.

  • Lu Davis

    I am a “newbie” into the machine embroidery world. I can see this being used with everything that I would be hooping and stitching. At this moment in time I struggling with keeping everything lined up and getting it secured!! What a time savor!

  • Mary in AL

    I can see endless uses for the PAL, but would probably use mostly for embroidery as I’ve always had difficulty getting my designs centered. Your e-reader cover is by the far the best and most professional- looking I’ve seen. Cant wait to get some must finish projects done so I can make it.

  • BarbsFolly

    I love making towels and tea towels as gifts and the hardest part is lining up the fabric to get it nice and square. The fun and easy part is embroidering. This will give me more time for the fun and make my job easier. Hooray for this great innovative product.

    And the added feature of being able to sew straight seams is a super nice bonus.

  • Cathy

    What would I use Pal for, everything. I have been looking for something like this for such a long time and have even tried to do a poor likeness of Pal on my own. Now that I have seen it I have to buy it. Pal look like a solution to my placement problems. Thank you!

  • Carol G

    Eileen, hats off to you for bringing us such an innovative tool. All those alignment chores in machine embroidery would be so much easier with the help of PAL. In the past I called myself “The Hopeless Hooper” and though I have come up with some ways to make things work, none of them is as elegant as PAL.

    I was especially intrigued with the continuous hooping use and everything you illustrated in your videos. One other thought was that it could be placed up on a box to elevate it and used with one beam on the selvage and let the other show the crosswise straight of grain. With a large piece of fabric I can never see the markings on both sides of my cutting mat. Straight grain lines for cutting out napkins or any item that is being made from scratch.

  • Kathy Spanjer

    I hate hooping fabric–I never get it square. This looks like it would be very helpful, I’m sure I’d use it a lot.

  • Ginny Harris

    Hi Eileen,

    Ilove to embroider, but because of having a stroke, which left me with a paralyzzed left side,
    I have an extremely hard time hooping straight. Pal looks like a great tool to help me center designs. Thank you very much.

  • Patsy Sweetra

    Got my PAL this week, but would love to know where to get one of the cross-shaped rulers like the one in the video. Anyone know where I could get one? Thanks!!

  • Trisha Evans

    What an ingenious idea! I can see the multitude of uses for PAL. Thanks so much for the insight and glad I stumbled upon your blog today!

  • D. Henne

    This would be a great help for projects that require multiple hoopings.
    What great tools you come up with for us!!

    D. Henne

  • gwen

    wouldn’t designs that are designed to be continuous have placement marks incorporated, i have a singer ce 250 and am still learning

  • Evelyn Gonzalez

    Hi – I’d use it for centering names and phrases, since embroidering one name is not so hard, but embroidering first, middle and last name is very challenging to center, and centering a phrase, such as “Love to My First Granddaughter, Love Grandma Rentia” could be a nightmare to center without a really good centering tool! I’ve been looking for a good centering tool for ages, but am unsure which is the best. Don’t have enough experience at embroidery to tell the difference between different methods of centering.

    Thank you!

  • Dawn Satathite

    I bought the Pal 2 (can’t remember just when), tried it and loved it. Then because of illness it wasn’t used for quite a while. Now I’m back to embroidering but the Pal 2 only works part time. It seems to have a short in it. Most of the time it doesn’t work. But it was great when it did work.

  • Dawn Satathite

    Sorry. Had an incorrect email address. It’s [email protected]

    This was in regards to the Pal 2.

  • Denise Holguin

    Hi Dawn,
    I’m sorry to hear the product isn’t working! I’ll ask Customer Service to contact you.


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