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Alignment and Placement Embroidery Tips & Techniques Hooping

6 Easy Steps Blog Tour

Welcome to the first day of my Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps Blog Tour! During the next two weeks, 6 Easy Steps will travel around the internet and make 11 stops, visiting some popular blogs. It’s a great opportunity for you to explore new blogs and win some giveaways on each stop. Each blogger is free to review the book, use the tools, inspire others with the information and make readers happy with giveaways!  So stop by these blogs and see what the bloggers have to say!

Today and on the final day, I’ll give away an autographed copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps plus the Sewing with Nancy DVD of my appearance with Nancy. You’ll have all you need to master machine embroidery! 

One of my favorite chapters in 6 Easy Steps is Chapter 3, Placement.  Placement is what separates shoddy work from professional results. It’s all in the planning; after all, these wonderful machines do the hard part – the stitching.  I never take a stitch without seeing the stitches first. The easiest way to do it is to print a template of the design in embroidery software.


Don’t have embroidery software?  Then stitch a template on sheer fabric or cut-away stabilizer.

Either way, you’ll have an image in actual size that you can use to place on a garment, home décor item or fashion accessory.  Now you’ll know where to hoop the fabric! 

You’ll find a target ruler in the back of 6 Easy Steps which really helps when centering a single design on a finished item, such as a napkin, quilt block, placket or cuff.  Target rulers are handy tools for every embroidery studio.  Position your template on the item; drop a target ruler over the template aligning both cross hairs. Then slip the template out of the way.  Drop a target sticker (also found in the back of 6 Easy Steps), in the opening of the target ruler and you’re ready to hoop.

Templates are priceless when planning continuous embroidery projects and you’ll learn how on page 30. If you’ve ever had fabric pop out of the hoop midway through a design, then you might already know how helpful templates can be to get you back on track.

Visit these fellow bloggers on the dates below but tell me what embroidery task you find most challenging to win an autographed copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps and the Sew with Nancy DVD.

31 Eileen Roche
1 Hoop Sisters
4 Think Crafts
5 Indygo Junction
6 Hope Yoder
7 Embroitique
8 Riley Blake
11 Machine Embroidery
& Digitizing
12 Nancy Zieman
13 Sealed With A Stitch
14 Eileen Roche

Here is your assignment for this week:

Tell me what embroidery task you find most challenging to win an autographed copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps and the Sew with Nancy DVD.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Share with us a fashion disaster that happened in your sewing room and you could win a copy of Perfect Placement Software. Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the drawing.

And the winner is… “When I got my first embroidery machine I was, of course, putting embroidery on anything that didn’t move. Well, I embroidered a beautiful tiger on my son’s black sweatshirt. The stitching was great but no one would really know that since it ended up just under his arm. Haha…I’ve learned a lot since then, but the Perfect Placement software sounds like a wonderful tool and I can’t wait to try it out.” – Becky

Congratulations Becky!




  • Karen U.

    I have a hard time deciding which stablizer to use for the fabric. Also it depends on what the article is.

    • Karen

      My biggest challenge relates to finding the right combination of embroidery technique and fabric and stabilizer combination…. There are endless variables here that all need to be right, in order to be totally satisfied with the end result….

    • Diane Stagg

      Getting designs embroidered on onesies 1-18 months sizes. Other than taking out the side and then serging it back together, I could use some help.

      • toddiej

        I have found two ways to embroider onesies.

        turn the onesie inside out after hooping. you can then hold back the areas that “flop over” the hoop as you embroider.
        i have found two different ways to do this. either use stick on stabilizer…be sure to baste around the design area before started the embroidery. it keeps it all flat and nice.

        the other is to turn it inside out…hope on the inside with the connection of the hoop..the wide part, coming thru the neck. baste around design area. you can then manipulate (hold up the outside of the onesie keeping the embroidery area clear)as your machine embroiders. after a few you will be a wiz at it. this works for me.

        try these if i am too confusing…

        hope this helps…it will become fun!!

  • Len P

    I have just received your “6 Easy Steps” book and am going through it like Sherman through Georgia. I love your tips and advice. My challenge, one of many, is basting. My machine does not offer that option….any ideas?

    • eileenroche

      Thank you for purchasing the book! Yes, you can download two basting files, one for the 4″ x 4″ hoop and one for the 5″ x 7″ hoop right here.


      • Len P

        Thanks a million!!!!

  • Carolyn Hutchinson

    Correct placement is a huge stress maker for me even with paper templates. I love the idea of doing a sample on sheer fabric!

  • Jean Lowenberger

    One of many of the challenges I have had in the sewing room was free standing lace. I did find a solution however, by asking other embroiders in the shops I have shopped at and from that advice found a wonderful mesh water soluble stabilizer!! All problems solved.

  • Judy Misener

    I am daunted by the thoughts of doing large designs that require spliting, although I have had the hoop since my first embroidery machine 6 years ago and have ammassed loads of advise, literature and tutorials. What is your method of tackling this task? Thanks in advance for your expertise. Judy

    • eileenroche

      I have several methods: templates, alignment marks and lasers are among the tools I use. But you probably already know how to do it. So here’s my advice: Just do it! Grab a piece of felt and tackle this task. It’s not as hard as you think. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

      • Judy Misener

        Thanks Eileen – I know you’re right! And I should know I can do it. Thanks for the encouragement. Judy

  • Elaine

    Placement and Hooping are my biggest problems. I usually get my husband to do it for me but here lately we always seem to get it just slightly off of vertical. Very frustrating!

  • Sherry Peterson

    I have trouble using the endless hoop and trying to figure out how to continue a design.

  • Fay LeClair

    Stitching very dense designs has been a challenge for me. Embroidering over layers of thread without breaking needles would be wonderful!

  • Gigi Barfield

    Continuous designs and using the alignment marks are confusing to me. Also hooping is some times a problem – I still have some pulling of fabric at times.

  • Betty

    I would love to win the 6 East Steps and Nancy’s video. I find my problem areas are placement and hooping. Also which stabilizer is best on each project. I never stop learning, wish I could remember everything. Ha-Ha.

  • Susan DeWitt

    My biggest challenge is type of stabilizer, how much, thickness, etc.
    The tip on stitching out a design on stabilizer is a great one. I upgraded my embroidery machine several years ago before they came out with USB ports in the machine. Now I have time to devote to sewing, with two little granddaughters, and have added “floppy” discette machine to use with my laptop and can add/use designs via internet. Is polyester or ratings thread better to use?

  • Pam Rohrkemper

    My biggest challenge is placement. Luckily, my software does print out templates and I use them but I still get ‘jittery’ when starting to stitch. Also, I get nervous because I’m not sure how the finished stitchout will look. Enough underlay or too much (bullet proof), the correct stabilizer, best combination of colors, etc.

    • eileenroche

      Test, test, test! Use an old t-shirt to test your designs. You’ll stitch more confidently on the ‘real thing’ once you’ve stitched a test.

  • Kathy

    I have the most problems with placement on clothing. I have adorable grandchildren and don’t want them wearing lopsided Tshirts. I’m fairly new to machine embroidery, and each one gets better.

  • C Cullingford

    When assembling a 3 D embroidery project my biggest problem is getting the buttons through the slots… any hints would be greatly appreciated.

  • Carol D.

    I was thrilled to see the list of machine embroidery blogs! One month into machine embroidery and I’m having the time of my life but have SO much to learn. Placement is at the top of the list, but stabilizers and proper hooping are close behind! I would love the opportunity to use 6 Easy Steps as a much-needed resource.

  • Peggy Schroeder

    Hi Eileen,
    I think the most challenging thing to do now is when the machine really messes up, jams everything, and the hoop comes off. Trying to get the design picked out and back in the original place to start the resitiching is hard to do. I stich a basting stitch before I start the design, and then I have started to mark all around the inside of the hoop (on the fabric) with a marker that is easy to take off. Then, if the hoop comes off, I just have to make sure I get the lines exactly right, and 9 times out of 10 this gets it back to exactly where it is supposed to be. I find that the more I have my machines serviced, the better they work, and the less I have these problems. For the last two years, when my family asks me what I want for Christmas, I tell them a gift certificate to the place that services my machines; and I am fortunate enough to have a daughter that listens and gets me one!! Maybe winning this book/CD, will help me with this.

    • eileenroche

      Good for you, Peggy! Sounds like you’ve been setting yourself up for success with every hooping!

  • Cathy Green

    You’ve started your tour with the perfect topic…placement is one of my challenges. Thanks for the tips, I need to remember to print first, stitch last.

  • beth daniels

    I find the placement of the designs to be the most challenging and making sure that the colors of thread are in order for the embroidery. Sometimes the color on my sewing machine shows a slight different color than the one I am using. The placement of the designs sometimes does not come out in the right place. Sometimes it is a little to the right or a little to the left instead of in the middle where I want it to be.

  • Daria

    Thanks for all the great tips/techniques! It makes us more confident knowing we have some back-up!
    My greatest confusion is when to use the specialty stabilizers, sticky, iron-on, etc. I’ve made the investment, but am afraid to use them thinking I’ve got it wrong and don’t want to waste the stabilizer or the item I’m embroidering on. Thanks for the help.

  • Michele in IL.

    I just bought my first ever embroidery machine. So everything is a challenge and a challenge I love to conqueror. Your new book would come in so handy and even if I don’t win it I will probably buy it.
    Thank you for the chance to win!

  • Alice M

    Continous designs and not always sure of what stabilizer to use.

  • Rebecca Grace

    Hmmm… It’s either the hooping or the stabilizing that’s really hard for me. If I knew for sure which one it was, I would “fix” whatever it is I’m doing wrong!

  • Paule-Marie

    Rehooping for a split design or a continuous border. Tried it once and totally blew it. I know practice makes better. But I need all the help I can get.

  • Cathy Van Daalwyk

    I kind of have two issues the first being what stabilizers to use. Does the brand of stabilizer matter? And the second being do I hoop it or should I float it. Is there a good set of rules to follow? Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  • Donna N.

    Figuring out the right stabilizers for towels so they aren’t too stiff. I make a set for each grandchild as they are born so when they visit they know which towel and washcloth is theirs.

  • Beth R

    Trying to determine what designs are most appropriate for what fabric is my most challenging task in embroidery. I tend to think that any design can be stitched on any fabric, but that is probably not always true.

    • Sandi Cunningham

      I have this same issue. I did a alpha bet with 3 small roses on a canvas bag. The roses were so stitch intensive that it jammed. When I ripped it out…nice hole. Do I really need stabilizer on something like canvas? Seems like I am just adding to the problem of dense fabric. Most of the time I just wing it on placement 🙁 I know your book would help me with this so all the towels are exactly the same!

  • Barbara McKenzie

    Stabilizers are always my biggest problem – maybe because I’m too impatient and don’t wait to purchase the correct stabilizer for my project?

  • Cynthia Slomovitz

    Once I figure out the placement, I struggle with getting it in the hoop straight, get so frustrated when I have to keep re-hooping! Figuring oh which stabilizer to use is close to th top of the list too!

  • Jane

    I have been machine embroidering for some time now but still have a fear of a bobbin with a little bit of thread left. I have had the machine pull down in the hole of the plate when I was out of thread. I still do not know why it does this instead of just stopping and letting me change the bobbin.
    So, I waste a lot of time because as soon as my Babylock shows me the low bobbin icon – I stop – change bobbins and keep the small bits of bobbin thread for applique placement stitches or simple redwork designs. Thanks for the chance to win!!

  • Robin F

    I have only been machine embroidering for a short time. My LARGEST problem is centering my design perfectly. I find this to be extremely challenging and frustrating?

  • Robin F

    I have only been machine embroidering for a short time. My LARGEST problem is centering my design perfectly. I find this to be extremely challenging and frustrating?
    Opps my email address is wrong on my above comment

    • LenP

      LOL!! I love it!

  • Rosemary O'Koren

    I do not know what needle to use when I embroider on fleece and knits. Sometimes I feel like I use too much interfacing or not enough.

  • Debbie St.Germain

    I never got lessons with my machine, the store closed down, so i haven’t even learned how to use the embroidery features, but I really want to. Would love to be able to make gifts and things for my kid’s new home.


    • LenP

      I was one of those idiots that bought my machine from the web. I have had it several years and am just now learning how to use it. What a boon this blog & the “6 Easy Lessons” is!

  • Judy Carter

    I think it so hard to place designs on a set of towels to get all of them centered and even. I have tried so many ways, and I never seem to get it right. I am afraid to try more advanced projects until I get the basics mastered. So pretty much, my wonderful, very smart embroidery machine is not very busy.

  • Meg

    Placement is so important. But lately I have been pretty good. This last weekend, I had trouble with all the colors coming up so very different than the pictures in the purchased embroideries. Isn’t there a program that can change one thread brand to another?

  • V Batty

    Most challenging in digitising/embroidering for me is to put lettering into a small space AND have it stitch out properly (and be legible)

  • Kathy

    Placement is a big concern,doing the multi hooping is another,but I love my machines.Choosing the right designs also, we have so many out there.Just can’t get enough of embroidery!!!!

  • Pat Duff

    Placement and correct stablizer is a chalenge for me I have not done alot of embroidering for fear of extream design mix ups.

  • Berenice

    I have finally become comfortable with my new machine (after a year), but still find myself praying before I start any project because I had issues in the past with items popping out of the hoop. I usually use sticky stabilizer for towels and fleece so I rarely have popouts, but sticky does not work for everything! Deciding what is the best kind of stabilizer is hard, especially if you can’t do a test stitch out on one-of-kind items.

  • Lisa Knight

    Stabilizer choices and working with metallic thread presents challenges.

  • Kathy Booth

    I think my biggest problem and frustration is hooping the lower right corner where my tension screw is. It is the last part of the hooping for me. Seems the outside hoop gets stuck and does not open as far as it should, making it much more frustrating than it should be.

  • Janet L.

    Selecting the perfect font and size for monogramming can be a challenge. In particular, monogramming for infants and toddlers-using a font not too small that it gets lost. Or, one too big that it is overwhelming in a small area. Another difficulty is trying to monogram on an item that has a bold print. The font and size may be perfect, but the monogram does not stand out because of the background pattern.

  • judy p.

    My biggest challenge beside placement is metalic thread. How to get it from looping.

  • Martie Dutro

    My absolute greatest challenge is finding the right design for the fabric. Not just a cutesy for the baby onesie or the mannish one for my husbands shirt. I mean will this density work for this fabric or will this design skew itself so the outline won’t align in the end. These are my most worriesome decisions when I am embroidering. How can I evaluate them beforehand. martie in ca

  • Linda Seemann-Korte

    hi! One of the biggest challenges for me is getting stabilizer thT is compatible with the fabric and design both. Sometimes, it is too little and other times too much! I also lie to remove as much stabilizer as possible once the embroidery is complete! Sometimes it creates problem!

  • Donna G.

    My biggest challenge is hooping the fabric so that it, and the design, are straight. I watched the series you did with Nancy and picked up several hints on doing a better job with this. Thanks for all of your tips!

  • Barbara Rowlan Wong

    First, deciding on the correct stabilizer and next hooping I’d say are the most difficult for me. Just writing it down and reading that others have the same problems is comforting! I just discovered after nearly 2 years how to print my design but I’ve not yet tried to utilize that new skill. Your book will be a big boost. I am a bit tired of having a home with all my mistakes and look forward to correcting them.

  • Kim Kerber

    I have had my machine just shy of a year, and I think this has been the best purchase I have ever made. I was only planning on doing some embroidery and then I discovered appliqes… Oh my. This is great. I think my hardest task has been centering and making sure I have it on there so I don’t have to throw it out. My daughter loves these shirts for her boys its less she has to buy since grandma does these cute ones.

  • Judy Wentz

    The part of embroidery I find most challenging is to reboot before the design is complete. Also, aligning co it outs embroidery.

  • Judy Wentz

    I meant to say rehoop, but my IPad loves to. Orrect me.

    • LenP

      Gotta love auto-correct.

  • Shirley

    I, too, think that choosing the right stabilizer is the biggest challenge. I keep a notebook of sample stitchouts where the stabilizer I used for that particular fabric and type of design worked so I don’t have to go back and reinvent the wheel every time.

    • LenP

      Thanks for the great idea!

  • Leslie Grevenites

    I have had my machine for two years now and only do little sewing projects with embroidery on it because every time I try to embroidery on cloths or bought stuff I just can’t get it to line up right or even once when everything was going right the tread brock and missed some stitches that I ended up having to hand sew them in. I have a hard time with hooping knits and keeping it straight, they seem to always go sideways on me. Is it the stabilizer? Thanks for listening to me and giving everyone a chance to win.

  • Pamela Black

    For me it has always been Perfect Placement!
    And now also the Endless Hoop I want to try also. Haven’t gotten up the nerve to do it yet.
    I decided to take your Newbie, Intermediate and Expert Bucket List and work through it. I am still on the Newbie!.

  • Barbara Stickle

    I always worry about design density, the fabric and the right stabilizer. The best solution I’ve found Is to find a similar fabric and do stitch-outs. That is time and thread consuming but I’ve had less failures.

  • Janet

    Finding small alphabets that stitch out well…I mean really small (less than 1/4 inch.)

  • MaryAnn Pippen

    My biggest problem is hooping my fabric and getting the placement correct. I plan to try your tip of using sheer fabric to help plan the placement.

  • Agnes B. Bullock

    Placement is my biggest headache!

  • Becky

    The top problem I have is the loose nut operator at the embroidery machine and after that it is placement, placement, placement with the occasional problem with the size of the design. I tend to make designs too small for the area. It seems I can mark the center of my stablizer in the hoop and mark the back of my item but seem to get he design running up a hill or down especially on polo shirts. I would love to win an autographed copy of the book and absorb more knowledge and fun.

  • JudiC

    Choosing the correct stabilizer is still a challange for me even after years of practice.

  • Gail Beam

    Placement and alignment are my two biggest challenges, especially since most of my embroidery involves names or designs on sweatshirts or t-shirst.

  • Liz Tius

    Precise positioning is what I find challenging.

  • Jeniffer Sterland

    One of my biggest challenges was getting the hoop perfectly straight on the fabric. [I am blind in one eye, and things tend to finish up slightly on the diagonal even though they look straight to me].
    My solution has been to not only mark the central point of my design with an air-erasable pen, but to also mark the vertical and horizontal centres out where those marks are on my hoop should be. That way the design is ‘straight’.
    Perhaps there is a better solution in your book?

  • EllenB

    The biggest challenge for me is continuous embroidery on large designs or areas. I know I just need to practice lots. So I guess another big challenge is having patience and not thinking I have to be perfect right away.

  • Pam M

    My biggest challenge is using each of my (many) embroidery designs at least once in my lifetime LOL! Seriously, I still get the jitters when hooping not only regarding perfect placement but getting the tension on the fabric and the stabilizer right too.

  • Sue R

    One of my biggest challenges was which stabilizer best works so there is no puckering. I’m getting better at it but still happens on dense designs on occasion. Another huge challenge for me is split designs. I have the Macro hoop for my Janome and never used it yet. It intimidates me to even try. I don’t like messing up on a project so I just avoid it all together and use my next size down and don’t go larger. Bothers me to know that I have the hoop to do so though. I am a huge fan Eileen!

    • Vivian Luzar

      I also have the macro hoop, but now have bought a Baby Lock Ellisimo. I think the place you bought your machine should teach you how to use the hoop and how to split a design. I tried the embroidered quilt that was on tv by Eileen, but screwed it up, and just need to keep practicing. It will come.

  • Denise Vollmer

    I always find placement the most difficult. Things always seem to slip when that hoop ring is engaged. I almost always use the sticky stabilizer to just avoid the whole thing. I know it’s holding me back in what I could create!

  • Judy

    My biggest frustration is embroidery on infant and other small items- especially hooping and stabilizer.

  • Nancy Weber

    I find hooping correctly the most challenging. I prefer to hoop stabilizer and not the item, but I don’t like using either spray adhesive or sticky stabilizer. And of course pins are not always an option either!

  • gayle

    I love to embroider T shirts for my grandchildren, as they are getting older I need to make sure that the placement is right otherwise they won’t wear them.

  • Paulette

    I struggle with splitting a design. I can figure out the splitting I just can’t seem to align it properly to sew the parts back together. I love big designs to use on jacket backs and pictures in my own home decorating but can not seem to master the technique to aligning the parts of a design back together at the machine to sew with out any spaces showing.

  • Krystyna

    My biggest challenge comes with embroidering on t-shirts. I need to constantly watch to be sure that somehow the parts of the shirt I have secured off to the side don’t mysteriously flop over or under the hooped area. Once I had to finish an embroidered shirt and get it into the mail that day since it was intended as a birthday gift. Part of it got snagged and there was a huge thread jam. I panicked and began cutting away the thread — and ended up making a hole in the shirt! There was no time to start over, so I looked at it and decided to make the hole bigger and make it look intentional and covered it with a lace overlay. It came out OK, but not as I intended it to.

  • Cathy

    I tried to embroider on cotton knit and after many attempts with different stabilizers I was unsucessful. My machine started out fine but eventually stitched a hole in the knit just at the end of the project. I even tried placing stabilizer on top and bottom of the knit. I hope you can share the correct procedure for stitching on different fabrics.

  • Linda

    My biggest challenge is fear of a mistake. I think and think until I’m beyond the point of actually embroidering! I need to go ahead and make a few mistakes so that I can improve!

  • le floch, anne

    T-shirt placement still drives me nuts me at times…and I’ve done a few. embroidering necklines seems to be the worst!

  • Vicki B.

    as a newbie my biggest problem is which stabilizer to use.

  • Pam

    Placement, stabilizer, needles and thread are a challenge for each project as each one is unique due to the design and fabric. I take notes on each for future reference.

  • Linda

    love it. i am new to machi emb and would like to advance.
    thanks, LInda

  • Sandi Cunningham

    My stitch field is only 4×4. Even though I have the machine do a practice run through the stitch field, sometimes the edge of the embroidery foot hits the edges of the hoop. Of course, I can’t finish the design and it knocks the timing out. This book might help me get it placed right every time and understand what I am doing wrong! (and save me the cost and time of a repair!)

  • Vicki

    I haven’t been embroidering for very long and my biggest problems are placement and hooping. I ordered the Perfect Placement software the other day and am (not-so) patiently awaiting it’s arrival. Hooping is SUCH a pain, tho! Especially stretchy knits. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but it’s making me just a little crazy. Hopefully I’ll learn quickly!

  • Vicki

    Placement gets me every time. I think I have the garment positioned in the hoop perfectly and then I take it out and somehow the design has traveled to one side of the garment and is off-center.

  • Karen Frank

    I have trouble finding the correct stabilizer for dense embroideries. It always seem to pucker – maybe I am trying to embroider on fabric that isn’t strong enough for that particular design.

  • Deborah

    Placement is so tricky…If you get it in the right spot..then it is crooked…grrr. I think your tools would help so much.

  • Ruby

    I still find that hooping is the most difficult task for me. I’ve tried everything and it still takes me an hour or longer to get the fabric hooped straight.

    • LenP

      Me too! I just did some practice pieces today, and each one took me 30+ minutes to hoop…and that’s practice.

  • Linda W

    Understanding basic elements of embroidery designs would probably help me the most. I would do better selecting the correct design, stabilizer and fabric so they would all work together to produce a great-looking embroidery.

  • Sharlene

    I have a difficult time knowing how to use all the different types of stabalizers-there’s so many to choose from!

  • Margaret

    Like others, my biggest problem is placement. I’ve had to trash things not getting the placement right. 🙁

  • Violet

    My hardest part of machine embroidery is making sure the template and stitchout are the same. Sometimes I think I line up perfectly but the stitch out isn’t so perfect. Perhaps it’s my hooping? Maybe I need to take more care in the hooping. So hooping may be the most difficult part of machine embroidery for me. Thanks for asking, and thanks for the giveaway and new book.

  • Pamela Wall

    Hooping, placement, getting designs to transfer to my machine…..Maybe if I used it more this would become automatic.

  • Donna F

    I’m right there with everyone else. Placement is always and issue and sometimes picking the correct stabilizer.

  • Cindy Amend

    My biggest problem is getting towels on the hoop and then keeping the edges from jumping onto the hoop. I need to constantly babysit the towels. This is especially a problem with thick terry towels. Too much towel and no place to go with what isn’t in the hoop.

  • Cindy S

    The hardest embroidery project I did was a Christmans gift of a velvet vest that had 8 designs on it and I used metalic thread on all the designs. Trying my patients is a nice way to say how I felt.

  • Kathy Meyer

    My biggest problem islacement. Even with the basting feature, I have to remove and re hoop several times to get things as straight as they need to be.
    It is particularly frustrating when trying to do a matching set and having things off center.

  • Anne Marie Reilly

    I find large designs that require splitting very daunting. I haven’t tried many and the two that I did try didn’t turn out the way that they should.

  • Rita Dougherty

    I like the ruler with the hole in the center to place the perfect sticker. Will have to check this item out.

  • FashionedByRose

    Hooping so the design is in the right place. No matter how hard I try, I never manage to get the item to stitch where I thought it was going to stitch.

  • Brenda Melahn

    I have had my machine for just over a year and still find most things challenging until it starts to sew .. then I just sit and watch in amazement. My biggest challenge is still placement — getting better, but I still stress until I “see” the finished product on the project! Love your blog — wish I had found it months ago!!

    • eileenroche

      Welcome Brenda! Glad you found the blog!

  • Cheryl

    My biggist challenge is getting started! I’m intimidated by my embroidery machine. I’m afraid I will mess something up. Cheryl in San Diego

  • Kathy M

    My biggest challenge is continuous embroidery. And then a close second is choosing the correct stabilizer. Wish there were more classes around for the basics.

    • LenP

      Me too…hey Eileen, how about doing a class on Craftsy?

  • Sheila

    Placement! I’m kinda new to this. I usually manage to get it just a little crooked! When someone wants me to embroidery something they have purchased, I have a big fear of messing up.

  • Kate Petrosky

    My biggest challenge is eliminating puckers on the finished product. I’m getting better at this, and experiment with various combinations of stabilizers, but still end up with some surprises.

  • Judy M.

    I have had an embroidery machine for over 2 years and have hardly touched the embroidery portion of the machine. I have lots of designs, but they are a bit intimidating to me. I struck out the other day when I tried to practice stitching a design for my daughter. I tried this around six different times before I found out that I needed to make adjustments to my sewing machine to do the embroidery. Of course after I learned this after I watched your video with Nancy and finally decided to look at my owner’s manual. I think the design is looking better and I think I may be able to move to the next steps. I could really use the advice your book would provide for the stabilizer, hooping and placement for adding this design to a scarf for my daughter and her Big Sister at her sorority. She wanted this before she went back to school, but I guess it will take a bit longer til she has the scarves. Your book and Nancy’s DVD would really be of great assistance for me, since I now realize that I need to confer with books and watch DVD’s before I move forward. Thanks for the chance to learn more about a beautiful sewing element that I want to get better at by just using my machine and designs more often and of course taking advice from the experts.

  • Fay LeClair

    I have had some problems stitching through very dense designs, without breaking numerous needles. I have tried different brands, sizes and styles of needles, but the same result…the needle broke. Most designs stitch fine, but I have a couple that have been a real challenge (Hummel designs), and of course they are ones I would really like to finish!

  • Calla Ferguson

    The most challenging task for me is lining up continuous embroidery designs. It seams no matter how many times I measure and mark the placement something goes wrong! Either the lines don’t meet or it comes out crooked. I can’t wait to try your 6 steps…if anyone can help it’s you Nancy!!

  • Bonnie

    Getting something hooped just right is always a challenge., so can always use suggestions for that!

  • RSM

    Hooping. Getting it to hoop exactly where you have the placement in the center. It seems like it always moves left or right or up or down when close the hoop.

  • Doree Shandera

    Mu biggest challenge would be picking the stabilizer. My finished projects don’t have the feel that I would like. More body armour than butter.

  • Linda

    I’ve been machine embroidering for several years, but I feel that getting the item hooped with correct stabilizer and placement is still a challenge. I appreciate your tips and am looking forward to the blog tour.

  • Susan

    Color choices, I don’t always like the color scheme of the design…and then what do I put this design on that I just had to have, so that it will look professional?

  • Linda Tuttle

    My biggest challenge is placing the design on the fabric. I really need to get myself some of the target templates. Thanks for all your great tips!

  • Anne

    I find it difficult to place a continuous embroidery on a sheath dress so it will not fall in an embarrassing position on the body.

  • Darlene Jacolik

    I always have some trouble with embroidery on small, ready made clothing like onesies.

  • Sherrie Lilly

    Challenging myself to embroider on something different than quilt blocks. I did the Designs in Machine embroidery Little Black Tees. The Jackie went well but the Penelope I had trouble with the small points on the Free standing lace laying flat. I have completed several Hoopsisters quilts but had trouble on a couple with the raw edges of some pieces fraying loose from the embroidered seam. I need to learn the techniques to prevent this. And last but not least continuous borders alignment.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    I am trying to work up the nerve to combine quilting and embroidery. I have your book about this. I just haven’t been able to get there yet plus my big machine is being repaired and they have been waiting for a part for about 2 months.

  • Bev

    Adjusting the density on the embroidery letters on monogramed towels gives me fits!

  • Jane

    I’m a beginner and placement is just one of my problems. I’m just not real comforable with it yet, afraid I’ll mess it up.

  • Betsy

    I find both continuous and split designs to be very challenging.

  • Chris

    The thing I find so challenging, I’m afraid to even try is stitching out those multi-paneled designs. That when put together you have a gorgeous huge panel. Hopefully I’ll get the courage this year to finally give it a try

  • Kathy Schmidt

    My most challenging problem is actually finding the time to embroidery & learn more about embroidering. I have started up a homebased embroidery business…& I mean started but as I work full time also (at least for now) finding the time & energy to take on projects is daunting. Upgraded to a 15 needle machine, but still learning to use it. It’s a learn as I go operation right now. I have learnt soooo much from reading & trying stuff on this blog as well as watched you on Sewing with Nancy. Thanks for all the help Eileen, I need it.

    • eileenroche

      You’re welcome, Kathy. Keep at it – it will get easier!

  • Alice White

    Contiusious Embroidery Projects and Words.

  • Barbara Kratz

    The hardest task for me is lining up my design centered and straight on knit shirts. It is so hard to tell if they are centered properly until they finish. I definitely need to invest in some centering tools. Which ones are best?

    • eileenroche

      Barbara, I would have to say the PAL2 is the best alignment tool that I ever used. It clamps to the table and stays still while you hoop underneath it. When used with a template of the embroidery design, centering is easy and flawless.

  • LeAnne L

    Most daunting for me is the stabilizing and not getting puckers in thin fabrics.

  • Blanche Jacobsen

    One of the hardest things are picking colors,like if a rose needs different shades.

  • Beth

    For me the most difficult thing is actually picking out a design. I agonize over what would look good on the item I’m embroidering.

  • Judy Forkner

    Doing a large design that requires multiple hoopings freezes me in my tracks! I’m scared to tackle it unless I have an expert right there to hold my hand.

  • Charlotte

    My biggest challenge is finding the time to do all the things I have planned. A full time job takes most of my time and I have to really be creative to get in my sewing room. Then I have trouble hooping correctly the first time.

  • Fran

    Right now it is all a challenge, as I have just set up my machine. Watching your video series with Nancy was the catalyst that got me started as my machine had been sitting there staring at me for a couple of months! I did my first quilt label this morning and it turned out great, but understanding how to position designs, what hoops to use, what stabilizers to use are all huge questions to me. I will be taking my first lessons in March as we are a couple of hours away from my dealer, and I am relying a lot on the generosity of people like you who do such marvellous tutorials on line. Thanks!

    • eileenroche

      Fran, It really helps if you’ve worked with your machine a bit before taking your first lesson so practice a bit before you take the lesson. Make notes of some of your challenges and ask your instructor how to work through them.

  • Marge Geraci

    The biggest challenges I have is in trying to do split designs. I think I have tried every tip I have read anywhere but, I have not found the correct one that will help me even come close to getting any of these correct. I need help badly with this disaster in my many challenges of machine embroidery. One other huge challenge I have is placing the design on a button down front shirt or blouse I have tried many times but most of the time they do not come out correctly. I really need the help of this book badly.

  • Martha

    Add me to the placement team! Mostly when I want to do sets of things–like towels or pillowcases. I want each one to line up perfectly with the others. Thanks Eileen for sharing all your experience!

  • Karen

    Most of the time I have the most trouble picking a design to use or if I have the design than it’s what to put it on or where to place it.

  • Hope Yoder

    I love this new book and thanks for letting us give away a free copy to our blog entries at

    I love your centering rulers and have used them for years. Was glad to see you included a free on in the new book “Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons”. What is the largest centering ruler you can buy separately? I would love to see you make a full centering grid sheet that are 12″ x 12″ (or close to that size) and would be even better if it could somehow fold like your rulers, to save space when storing or taking to class. Love your products.

  • Doreen

    My most difficult task is hooping straight. Even though I usually use a template I find that I am often a little bit off.

  • Ilana

    My biggest challenge is placement. I’m fairly new to machine embroidery and I’ve shied away from any designs with which I have to rehoop to continue the design. Sadly, a lot of the design I want to use require rehooping.

  • Kristine Brown

    Great fun. My biggest problem is placement. Deciding where to place, and successful embroidery on knits. Use a fusible for knits, but still get puckers. Floater?

  • Barb S

    My biggest problem is which stabilizer to use. I’ve had items that turn out great and some that after washing they look terrible! The puckering is the worst! I press the designs when done with a dry iron, but the worst is t-shirts. Another problem is placement of multiply designs, I’ve done a few projects, but usually stay away from them.

  • Susan J

    My biggest challenge is stabilizers. I probably have 50 rolls of various types and several pages of instructions and i am still puzzled every time I go to embroider. i am getting better at using some of the newer stabilizers, but I am always tempted to go back to the “old faithfuls” (medium tearaway and cutaway). i was very excited to use a new washaway stabilizer when i embroidered stand alone lace snowflakes before the holidays. One down more to try…

  • Linda Burwick

    When I retired from teaching a couple of years ago, I bought an embroidery machine. I thought I would do a lot more embroidering than I do. After wrongly placing a neckline design and embroidering on the neckband (for an example of my goofs), I am a little afraid to try other projects. Your book sounds like it might help give me confidence to try again.

  • Mary Frances Horton

    I just purchased, read and highlighted your book. It will become my machine-table top reference! I started using the tools this week and LOVE them. I also just bought PAL and love that you have videos demonstrating everything you sell.
    Spent last weekend helping my sister feel more comfortable with her embroidery machine- such fun. Would like a copy of the book for her!
    Biggest problem- so many brands of stabilizers out there that it’s hard to know what to use for what fabrics and designs.

  • Vivian Luzar

    I have downloaded the embroidered quilt pattern from your website, but am still having problems joining continuous quilting. I just cannot seem to get them lined up.

  • Barbara

    I can think of only two right now, and both have to do with precision and taking the time. The first is putting those in-the-hoop quilt squares together accurately, and the other is getting the design exactly on the crosshairs I’ve placed on the garment. Both are a matter of slowing down and using the tools at my disposal. . .

  • Patti King

    My biggest problem is puckering. I do a lot of verses, poems, etc. with designs and have a terrible time with puckering between the words and letters. I’m assuming that I’m not using the right material or stabilizer or both! Also, when I do an applique, I can’t seem to trim it right — I either have edges showing after it’s finished or I cut too closely and it pulls apart! Thanks for your site and all your help.

  • Vicki

    It would seem that I’m having a problem with the tour! I couldn’t ever find the post for yesterday’s stop (thinkcrafts), and am not able to post a comment on today’s website. Am I the only one having these difficulties?

    • Agnes B. Bullock

      I am having the exact same issues! No one else posted on their day of the blog hop and today’s hostess’ website won’t accept comments! VERY FRUSTRATING!

  • valerie csmith

    My biggest challenge is that I am new to all of this and there seems to be so much to learn–I want to know it all today

  • beth

    My most challenging bit (and I have a lot of challenges) is getting things placed/aligned in multi-hoop designs. So many factors affect multi-hoop projects. I have a hoop that will do 5″ x 10″ or 5″ x 15″ and even so, embroidering a “scene” that covers a 20″ square is a challenge. Preparing the fabric and choosing stabilizer play in and then there’s the getting that combo into the hoop in exactly the right spot and with exactly the right rotation. HELP!!!

  • Cathy D Adams

    I have a problem with continuous designs such as borders, I have a hard time lining them back up.

  • Carol F

    My biggest challenge is remembering that where I need to center my project is not really the “Center” of the hoop. The only marks that are really centered are the vertical ones. The horizontal ones are off “Center” on the hoop, and I can’t seem to get my brain to adjust that the project is really centered using these marks.

  • Kathy S

    I find it difficult to get the proper tension for heavier weight home dec type fabrics or denim. I usually have to do two or three test designs on scrap before I can get the appropriate tension for the designs. I end up loosening the top thread tension so the bobbin thread does not show.

  • Cecilia

    My biggest problem is figuring out which stabilizer to use. I don’t use my embroidery machine on a regular basis, so I have to read the manual and start at the beginning each time. I think that your book would help me. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  • Christina

    My biggest challenge is hooping bulky or big items where it isn’t necessarily bulky in the hoop, but has a lot of excess to deal with around the machine.

  • Debbie G.

    My biggest problem is getting letters to line up when having to move the frame to embroider words that are longer than my frame.

  • Enis

    My biggest embroidery challenge is lining up endless designs. I never seem to get them just right. I use templates and the little stitch marks that my machine makes, but the design never really line up exactly. Most times no one knows about these little boos boos but me, but I’d really like to get that problem solved.

  • Sheila Forrest

    Hi Eileen,

    my biggest challenge is finding the right embroidery design, where to place it and the stabilizer to use. As a result of these challenges I don’t embroidery as much as I would like to out of fear. My last project was big sister and little sister shirts for my granddaughter and her new sister. I made put the embroidery entirely on the wrong side on the big sister shirt. Thank goodness I had another shirt. I had waited till the last minute to make the shirts, they turned out ok but I think I could do better if I had more confidence in my decisions about the fabric, designs and stabilizer for my projects.

  • Tammy Fincher

    My biggest problem, like so many others, is the placement, hooping and the correct stablizers to use. I have 2 grandbabies and I can’t tell you how many onsies, T-shirts, etc. that I have stitched together (fronts to backs) while doing my designs. I always think I have it placed right and all excess fabric out of the way but more often than not, I stitched it together and then it is ruined-even when I try to pull out the stitches !! What is my problem ?

  • loralye winkes

    Hi there, I hope that this is the right place for the contest question to go? here it is: what is the best way to “mark” your fabric when creating a contiuous line border? thanks serw much for a great informative & creative mag! love it!

  • Joan A Bauer

    My challenge it to find the time to do embroidery. There are so many other things calling my name. Organizing, laundry, husband,and so on. I happy to find this blog, I really need the book to inspire me on.


  • CeCelia

    My biggest problem is lining up big designs so that they don’t look like 2 separate designs. Thanks for hosting and sharing your tips.

  • Cleary Kipe

    The hardest thing for me right now is getting everything in the hoops right. and figuring out what stabilizer to use. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • kandy

    I think the most difficult is always getting things lined up as I feel they should. I have many of your tools and would love to find this in my sewing room as well.

  • JD Little

    The hardest thing is the placement and feeling like I have gotten it right.

  • Tammy Thomas

    I have trouble with making the t-shirt or knit pants to stiff once you do the embroidery on them. My grandbabies are little and I dont like the stiffness on the front of their shirts

  • Leona

    Biggest challenge is design placement especially if it is a multiple hooped design.


  • Kathy Schmidt

    My biggest challenge is actually finding the time I Want and Need to embroider.

  • Lynn D in NC

    I’m a novice, so I’d say placement, but really everything is a challenge. I’m learning on my own, so I know these educational tools would be very helpful.

    • LenP

      You are not alone, I’m a total novice too. Good luck!

  • Linda E in AZ

    My hardest task is deciding how to properly stabilize and center the design.

  • Laurie

    Hardest for me even after doing this for 9 years is getting fabric hooped correctly so it’s not too tight and not too loose.

  • Brenda Howard

    I have issues with getting my fabric centered in the hoop tight enough because of some limitations with my arm and that I am in a wheelchair and can’t get a good angle or pressure on the hoop.

  • Carma

    Placement of the design for clothing items, because of size of the design in relationship to the size of the person and clothing item and how it may fit them. Sometimes it just doesn’t come out as I had intended.

  • Jeanne Higgins

    Right now I am challenged by the puckers that form around my embroidery designs, especially on light weight fabrics.

  • Kay

    I find choosing the correct stabilizer for the design and fabric is the.
    most challenging task in machine embroidery. There are so many options available

  • Kelly

    My greatest struggle is placement and hooping…I hate to admit it, but I have ruined things by either not having a big enough hoop, hooping it in the wrong place, hooping it upside down (yes, the picture and words were upside down because I placed the shirt in the hoop so careful to get the right spot, but neglected to pay attention to the hoop’s top and bottom). Overall, ruining items is my greatest frustration.

    • Vicki L

      LOL! I did that not too long ago! I finished a detailed and beautiful design, and when I unhooped it I had stitched it sideways on the shirt. I was NOT a happy camper. It will make a pretty pillow, though, so it’s not a total waste.

  • James

    Picking the right backing is probably the biggest issue causing designs to pucker. Wax paper can work pretty well as a cheaper method, but I think it is best to invest in professional quality stabilizer as well as water soluble topping.

  • Miu Miu Online

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I to find this topic to be actually one thing which I feel I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely vast for me. I am taking a look ahead in your next post, I will attempt to get the grasp of it!

  • Lisa Szabo

    I would love an Ellisimo Gold 2. I am really enjoying embroidery and I have a very old machinel

  • Johne655

    I value the post.Thanks Again. Awesome. ggddgdagcggd

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  • Patricia312

    Hello, I was in the middle of embroidering a design and had a power issue. Unfortunately, my system reset to the beginning of the design and I cannot figure out how to advance the system to the next step. Can anyone help me with this? Thanks!

  • Patricia312

    Disregard my previous question – I finally figured it out – YEAH!! 🙂

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