Search here...

Has this ever happened to you? (The ongoing series!)

Eileen walked in to my office and in an excited tone, said, “I have something for you!”

Since it was around 3 pm, I was thinking it might be chocolate. No, it was better than chocolate!

We have a new policy at Designs in Machine Embroidery where we ‘celebrate’ mistakes by photographing them. It seems a waste not to try and use our foibles and mishaps in a positive manner.

Anyone who has ever embroidered can probably predict the mishap…

It looks great on top.

But flip the hoop over and you see the problem. I am certain anyone who has embroidered can relate to this mistake happening at least once.

We keep a crew on duty to help undo the mistakes we make.

It’s a full time job!

Looks like we caught Jack sleeping on the job or maybe we are overworking him?!



Here’s your assignment this week:
What’s your favorite method for mending a mistake like this? Throw it out? Use a seam ripper? Peggy’s Stitch Eraser? One comment will be chosen to win a $25 gift card to use on the DIME website!Gift-Card
The winner of last week assignment:
Tell me your favorite applique font from Five Star Fonts and you could win a copy of Machine Embroidered Monograms for the Home.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog 

And the winner is Betty S. – “I just love 5 star fonts website. have quite a few of the fonts, lately used college applique, chunky sports, the dot one, can’t remember the name. I like to applique and will try your method of pre-cutting letters. thanks Eileen for this reminder as I’ve done this for other embroidery projects.”




  • Jacqueline Johnson

    FIrst I curse and swear at the top of my lungs. Then I remove the hoop from the machine (still swearing) and I use a pair of these snips ( to gently get between the layers, and snip the threads holding the areas together. I then remove using my fingers the stray threads, and iron using steam to close the holes in the fabric if needed, pop it back on the machine, and go back over the parts I messed up on. Usually a pretty easy fix and I get to expand my vocabulary.

    • Donna

      Well put Jacqueline! That is exactly how I handle these unfortunate situations too. Especially the vocabulary enhancing component!

      • Kim

        LOL, I totally agree with you both!

  • Dorothy Le

    I wish Jack would come over and fix my mistakes. I hunt for the seam ripper(I have many, it should be so hard to find). And start unsewing. Hopefully my project will stay in the hoop.

  • Diane C

    Depends on the density of the design. First time it happened, I was fairly new and wanted to try a child’s onesy. Borrowed one so I wouldn’t have to buy one (my kids are too old for them). Ended up buying a new one to replace the one I borrowed.

  • Gina

    I have had this happen four times already. First time I ended up with a small hole…stitched by hand back together – not too noticeable. Second time project was totally ruined, trashed it. Third time I made another design on separate fabric and just added to the design. Fourth time project had a good sized hole in it (hole in bottom of reusable tote). I haven’t fixed it yet, but I plan to take another piece of fabric and cover the hole (or entire bottom) with a patch.

  • Wendy Ryan

    LOL – Can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. If I have extra fabric and not so much time. I will just start over again. Otherwise, if it is a dense design, I use a combination .of stitch eraser and snips. If it is a more open design, I just use the snips and seam ripper, unsew, rehoop with new stabilizer and stitch again

  • Judy

    Cut out the part of the design that is usable, sew around it, fray the edges and sew it back on something else. Sewing the design back on another towel. I did it as a gift, and they actually liked the mistake better.

  • Shelli Moon

    For this design, I’d use tiny scissors to clip the stitches so that I could get the extra fabric out and resew that part of the design. Then, if it were for me, I’d just iron the dickens out of the over-sewn part to try and ease the stitch marks out, and use it as is. If it is for someone else, I’d redo the whole thing, and keep this one for myself as above (or, cut out the design section, and do something else with it, like frame it, or applique it onto something else).

    If it is not possible to get the extra fabric out, I’d redo it on a new linen, and then use the rest of this piece for just fabric scraps–backings, test stitches, etc.

  • Jamie Mays

    I have totally done this before just leave hooped up carefully snip the stitches and take them out carefully back it up where it messed up and go bk over it slowly to make sure it sews good!! Easy Peasy!!

  • Cathy Van Daalwyk

    Yeah to many times to count! if its not to dense I will rip it out but if it is dense I start the project over. My question is WHEN WILL I LEARN TO CHECK?

  • Claudia Blakely

    After crying over a cup of decaf chai, I would pull out my magnifier glasses, and start pulling out those stitches with the aid of a seam ripper and tweezers. If it were not design of just simple stitchin (use of lines), I would just start over. Of course, listening to music by Enya, which always soothes me, would be a must, too! Yes, everyone has those accidents, which are going learning moments. Sigh!

  • Whitney

    It’s totally salvageable! I’d use a seam ripper to undo the folded portion, then put it back in the machine and forward to the stitches that were messed up to redo them. If it doesn’t line up perfectly though, it’s a press cloth or cleaning rag.

  • Deborah Warren

    Don’t unhoop it. Use a seam ripper and remove the caught part. Hopefully the design is still up on your screen. Put hoop back on machine and forward your machine to the stitches you need to replace.

    • Kari

      I am fairly new to the ball game, but how I even found this site was trying to find out how to move forward to the stitches that I missed. So my question is…how do I do that? Thanks in advance!

  • Diane W

    For that design I’d use a seam ripper. For a more dense one I’d use Peggy’s Stitch Eraser.

    • Kathleen De Verville

      Since I don’t have Peggy’s Stitch Eraser, I would use my seam ripper or the tiny little snip scissors and do the stitches again with a piece of stabilizer under the design in the hoop.

    • Kathleen De Verville

      Since I don’t have Peggy’s Stitch Eraser, I would use my seam ripper or the tiny little snip scissors to remove the Part that’s bad and do the stitches again with a piece of stabilizer under the design in the hoop.

  • Linda

    Unless this is done in a time crunch or is not “redoable” life is too short to struggle with a design this simple–make a practice piece out of it (which I always need) and wake that guy up for try 2!

  • 2ne

    I would pin the fabric so I know it is out of the way – then this would not happend. Always sjekk before embroidering.

  • Kristal

    Oh, yes. This has happened to me! When it does, I just have to walk away from my machine and come back after some time has passed to give me time to calm down and decide what to do. If I can save it, I try. Most of the time I just end up redoing it on another embroidery blank.

  • Heidi

    stomp my foot like my grandma — walk away for a moment or I would be tempted to throw it out, then put in a good movie to un-stitch by. grrrrrrrrr

  • Anne Marie

    I use either a seam or Peggy’s Eraser whichever is working better that day. If removing threads results in a hole, I turn the project into an appliqué. I am not as calm as this sounds either!

  • Gail

    That’s nothing. Don’t unhoop the project and carefully remove the stitches through the double fabric with a great pair of little snips. That design is light and airy so it wouldn’t be difficult to remove. Now more intense stitch designs, on the other hand, might need to be tossed. ALWAYS CHECK your fabric when inserting the hoop and make sure it is free and clear. Don’t be in a hurry.

  • Donna F

    Yes I would unstitch it (wrong section), add a new piece of stabilizer, like a sticky back wash away and re-stitch. When doing embroidery on ready to wear I try to always double check everything before hitting the start button.

  • Doris Van Peeren

    I put a design on the back of a blouse before the sleeves were put in. Well, it was too close to the seam allowance and looked awful. I got out my trusty Peggy’s Stitch Eraser and took out the 20,000 stitches. I didn’t put another design on and you really can’ t tell where the design had been – looks great.

  • Robin

    The very first time I tried to embroider on a shirt I had just made for my husband, I did this except it was a densely stitched design. After the heart attack when I saw what I had done, I got my stitch eraser and carefully got a large number of stitches out. After that, it was sit and pick out the rest stitch by stitch. As always, mistakes are just lessons that we need to remember and learn from. I have been extremely careful since then, and I usually check before I go too far in an area just to be sure. Once bitten, twice shy.

  • kbo

    I seam to attach my projects every now and then, after taking out the “oops” (THE SEAM RIPPERS IS A GOOD TOOL) I go back about 10 stitches before the BIG MISTAKE sew till it matches. BUT if I’m really frustrated and have enough fabric, I do another one.

  • Ann Smith

    Don’t remove the item from the hoop. Since the fabric is folded under the hoop, it requires the use of tiny snips to remove the stitches. Pull out all of the threads after snipping, take the item to your iron & press, then put back into the machine & re-stitch. This one looks like an easy fix. For other problems like birds nests, I use a men’s disposable razor on the back of the item to gently remove stitches – only on the stabilizer side.

  • Linda Hubbard

    While embroidering names on some beach towels, for my future
    Daughter in laws bridesmaid getaway I used a lowercase letter
    On the last name I was doing. I could have left it, but another
    Name already had the same first letter and looked beautiful.
    After spending the better part of an hour undoing stitches, I
    Had an Aha moment and used some dental tools to slip
    Under the stitches, and cutting them off. The crazy thing is
    I had these tools sitting on my work table the whole time.

  • KimeranStevens

    Leave the item hooped. Using tiny scissors carefully clip the threads that are holding the folded edge down. Remove all clipped threads from item. Reattach hoop to machine and advance the design until you come to just before the removed threads. Start machine and let restitch the threads that were removed. Stop stitching just when it begins to overlap the remaining stitches. Having done this on more that one occasion, I try to make very sure I have every article completely flat and not folded back on itself before I begin!

  • susanj

    First, I leave the room and do something else for a few minutes. Then a calmer me, I use my seam-ripper with light and magnifying lens…a lifesaver ( when I need to get just the right stitch(es) while the item is still in the hoop. Finally I try to restitch that part of the design (holding my breath to insure it lines up. The second and third step only work if I have A) not unhooped BEFORE I discovered the mistake and B) not deleted the design from the screen BEFORE I am ready to resew.

  • Vicki Stasko

    Those “Gremlins” will do it to you every time! Just look away for a half moment & they will flip your project up on it’s self & soon you will be stitching your project to it’s self. At that point I reach for my surgical seam ripper or if it is heavy stitching, out comes my Peggy Stitch eraser & my fine pointed Floriani scissors.. With much patience, I am soon putting my project back on track.

  • Ruth Campbell

    Well, after I get over the emotional part, I would start using the seam ripper. If a more dense design, if I can’t cover with an applique, etc., I just use it for stitch out trials.

  • Sherry Poole

    I have surgical knives that I use as a seam ripper – (now everyone has them for seam rippers, but much more expensive…) that I use first to slip between the material to cut the threads then if needed I use my mustache trimmer. I don’t have a stitch eraser but do plan on buying one soon. My trimmer is getting dull.. (not that I make mistakes — NOT — LOL)

  • Judy Morris

    There is also the idea of folding the other side to match the mistake. Hand stitch in place. Cover the back with another peice of fabric and put aside for a baby burp cloth. Babys are fresh and sweet. You could add either the word sweet or add a baby type item. A new use. I also like a previous idea of cutting it out and mounting on another peice. Have fun.

  • Suzanna

    Say things that I hope my children will not hear and repeat. Walk away until I cool down just a little bit. Find one of my numerous seam rippers and very carefully unstitch — hoping that everything stays in the hoop and I don’t have to start over.

  • Judy

    My friend did that to a baby blanket and through in the bin. I saw it and picked it up and took it home and reversed (unpicked) sewed as much as I could, without causing holes. Than appliqués over it. The person I gave it to had no idea there was a problem to start with.

  • Sharon Cuddemi

    This has happened to me! 1.) Here is my solution…….put the machine in reverse and it will ‘unstitch’ the stitches that caused the problem! Problem solved!!!!! 2.) Seriously though, I use the seam ripper and thread snips like everyone else uses. I also use a huge needle and tweezers to remove stitches. 3.) Throw the project in the trash and chalk it up to a learning experience. 4.) Next time I watch what I’m doing and don’t make the same dumb mistake!

  • Belinda Germain

    My first time I had sewn the design upside down on a left chest, 4,000 teeny, tiny stitches. I was determined to get it out as it was my only purple shirt and I needed it for my Red Hat meeting. It took me about an hour, but I did it! Sewed it on right side up and no one ever knew the difference. If it is a production item, best to just set it aside and continue with a new item. If it is a one of a kind item, patience and perseverance can win out!

  • Lori E

    Unfortunately, has happened to me more than once. On light designs I’ve been able to just clip the offending stitches (without unhooping of course). Once it happened with a very dense designs, so that one got thrown away as it would have been impossible to save the design. Live and learn.

  • Nancy Howard

    I have done this more times than I’d like to admit. I get a glass of wine, my sharpest seam ripper, and a pair of old tweezers. The secret is to be very patient and slow. I can usually save the item.

  • Sue

    Just did the same thing with a sweatshirt I was making for myself.

  • Terry Jones

    I get upset with myself first for not watching what I was doing then figure out how to fix it. I first remove the hoop from the machine. I carefully snip each thread where I stitched the edge into and free the edge. Put the hoop back into the machine and go back over the threads which I had to clip because of my mistake. Remove it from the hoop and steam the holes out. Sometimes I have to put a piece of stick stabilizer underneath the hoop it it tore it to much.

  • JudiC

    Been there Done that :o( For a light design like this I would use scissor snips to remove threads cleanup loose ends with a sticky lint roller & restich the embroidery design. Of course being the perfectionist that I am I may have to keep as a sample & start new anyway.

  • Carolyn Phillips

    I would rip with a seam ripper without taking it out of the hoop and then I would back up to the spots I took out and re-embroider them. If I had peggy’s razor ripper I differently would use it.

  • Tammie

    I hate it when this happens, and I’ve done it too many times. I usually sit and watch a movie while I unpick the stitches with a seam ripper. After they’re unpicked I put an adhesive-backed stabilizer on the back to give the fabric more stability and restitch the design.

  • Joan

    I have done this before also. I removed the stitches with my seam ripper and then placed the hoop back on the machine and restitched.

  • judit z

    Just did exactly this situation. Embroidered an anchor onto corner of minky blanket for baby boy. It is way to much to take out, but decided to cut around it remove the cheepy satin backside and replace it with another minky in the right color.

  • Chris

    I would do some swearing and maybe even some crying. Then get out the seam ripper and small scissors and start reverse embroidering!

  • Mary

    Just turn adversity into opportunity. Put it down to experience, vow not to do it again (well I can hope) and use the opportunity as an excuse to have a large glass of wine before starting again. Life’s too short to worry for too long and if that’s the worse thing that happens that day then it’s been a really good day

  • Edith Shanks

    I would either take it out or make something else completely out of it. You can make more than one thing out of that kind of material.
    That’s what mastakes are for.

  • Carol Seavitt

    Take out the mistake stitches; sew free hand with stabilizer and keep it!

  • Sue Anderson

    Well after I stop crying & cursing, I use a seam ripper to free the fabric. I do not remove the project from the hoop. Once it’s free I use the forward/backward button on the machine to take the design back to where the stitching stops and fill in the gaps. I work my way through the project until its finished.


    OMG! yes this has happened to me, but only once!!! lesson learned. I was embroidering on a sweater and the design was beautiful!!! I’m all excited and when I “tried” to remove the sweater from the hoop, what the!!!! I was done, I threw my sweater in the trash. I was done 🙁

  • Pat

    I have done this twice. Which is once too often for me. The first time was just after I bought the machine and was working on my sewing machine cover aka test design fabric. I stitched an elaborate heart with another design inside of it while a corner of the fabric was under half of the heart. I cut the fabric away from the design and use it as an example of what not to do when talking to other embroiderers.
    A teacher of machine embroidery introduced me to using hairclips for holding the fabric out of the way and I do use them most times.
    The second time I stitched extra fabric in was with a light design, so I unpicked the error area; went back ten or so stitches and restitched the design correctly.
    I have had an awful lot of near misses when I didn’t clip or check under the hoop for excess fabric. Whew!
    So now it is part of my stitching routine – choose colours; set up hoop; check hoop area for fall of loose fabric; stitch out when all is ready…. But mostly it is hope & pray that I remember to do all my steps!

  • Marcia Mation

    Well. Since this he happened to me more than once, it is much easier for me to just take it in stride. Besides the drama is of no help at all…. I know this from past experience.

    Now I just grab my battery operated razer and go to work. After a good shave I either begin over (of the mess is at the beginning or end) or find the position where the mishap began. It’s really not that difficult. If I can fix it, you can too!

  • Gail

    Had this happen on a tea towel…luckily I had enough fabric to cut off the offending part and seam the edge…a shorter tea towel but still salvageable

  • Kathy Heath

    If I have to, I use my trusty seam ripper, if not I start over.

  • Kathy

    Whenever I stitch a shirt, I pat my machine and ask it to play nice. I was stitching a shirt for my niece and thought all was going well until I got to the end of the word and turned it over. Same mistake as you!! I tried to rip it out with a seam ripper, but ended up with a small hole. If it was for me, I would mend the hole and embroider over it. But since it was a gift, I went out a bought a new shirt. Next time, my machine better play nice.

  • Leann

    Peggy’s Stitch eraser AND tweezers if dense.

  • Susan

    I did that on a shirt I embroidered for my granddaughter. I folded the entire sleeve on the underside. I started ripping but then discovered I had embroidered the shirt on the inside. It was a dense design; it took me all day.
    Sadly to say I trashed it. I love your site and magazine.

  • J. Coxsey

    Like others have said, for a design like this, I would leave it in the hoop, carefully pick out the stitches and then find the place in the design to be restitched and stitch! If it’s too dense to fix, rather than toss it in the bin, I save it and use it in some sort of mixed media or fabric collage if possible. You could also use the embroidered design in an in-the-hoop applique design such as a crazy quilt. Great way to repurpose and turn a mistake into a happy accident!

  • Carol

    Oh yes, I have done that more than I can count. That would be me picking every last stitch out & then start over!

  • Sally Richards

    I would rip it out with small snips being careful not to snip the fabric. Once the error is out, start the embroidery machine from the beginning and fast forward just before the error started. Press start and embroider the project. Cross fingers!

  • Jean Herm

    That particular design would be easy to fix. Leave it in the hoop and start with the seam ripper on the backside. Peel back the edge that is stitched in and work it out, peeling as you go. Then you can put the hoop back on the machine and advance to the area that need rest itching. Easy peasy. Although I’ve thrown out things that were more difficult to fix.


    Unstitch what I could to free fabric then restitch affected area.

  • Mary S

    I would try to make something else from it. A pillow for the pooch, a blanket for a doll with some quilting,(I cross stitched a towel for my employer one year for Christmas and saw that it was cut up for rags in the shop). Been there, but ripped out the stitches.

  • Marsha H

    After several mistakes that took many hours ripping out using a seam ripper I finally broke down and purchased Peggy’s Stitch Eraser. All I have to say is why did I wait ssssoooo long! I have saved many items from having to replace them. If you ever were hesitant, know its your best friend. A tip to share is practice removing a design with the Peggy Stitch Eraser before using it for the first time on the actual item. This will give you a better idea as too how much pressure needed to apply to the fabric.

  • Lana L Jones

    This has happened to me a few times…I quickly choose a couple of words from my embroidery vocabulary, wonder why I was in such a hurry that I did not do one last check, then take a close look at the situation to see if it is salvageable. If it is, I will use a seam ripper if seam ripperable. If it is more intense, I have used sandpaper to gently slice through the bobbin stitches and then use Clover’s Thread Tweezers (Tweezer with flat end and sharp point) to quickly remove the thread. If it is not salvageable…it is just thread and fabric I will start over.

  • Aprille Sweatt

    I would be thankful that the problem occurred on a design with simple stitching versus a very detailed design and that I discovered the design BEFORE taking it out of the hoop. For this particular design, I would remove the stitches with my seam ripper; reattach the hoop; and reverse/forward the design to the missing areas and re-stitch. I like to use a seam ripper with a smaller “hook,” which makes this so much easier. For more detailed designs, I use Peggy’s Stitch Eraser and a seam ripper.

  • Shelly

    I usually just redo the project because I normally mess up the material when I try to pull out the stitches. I set the messed up project aside with the hope of one day fixing it. So far that’s hasn’t happened. I waste more time and effort by trying to fix it.

  • Kathy Taylor

    This happened one time, and then I started using the hair clips, that come in all sizes, they look almost like a bag clip. Put the hoop on the machine, and then roll up any extra material all the away around the hoop, making sure all material is out of the way, and put a hair clip on material, to hold the material out of the way. Even works when you move the hoop to cut threads or change colors. I purchase the clips at the dollar store in different sizes depending on the thickness of the item I am working on,

  • Fay Engel

    The first thing I say is “I can’t believe I did this again”. Then after I calm down I get out my tools. Seam ripper, peggy eraser and a tool I bought from Cindy Losekamp. Depending on what happened, depends on the tool I use. A knit is impossible, as as hard as I try, always get a whole in the knit

  • Marilyn

    Not a comment but a question: What are the black-stitched symbols? I assume they’re not for centering, since the design is not centered in them.

  • Gail Beam

    This happened to me a bunch of times when I first started to machine embroider. I was able to use tiny scissors to clip the stitches and tweezers to pull out the stitches. Then I floated a piece of stabilizer on the back of the hoop and backed up the machine to restitch the areas of the design where the material had been caught underneath. I was not so lucky on s satin robe for my daughter and a t-shirt for my grandson, as the designs were to dense and I just ended up with large holes! Because this is a redwork or line art design, it should be easy to unpick the area where the material has been caught. Put the design back on the machine with a piece of stabilizer to float on the back of the hoop, back up the machine to redo the part of the design where the fabric was caught underneath and restitch.

  • Terri Willner

    Fortunately, my daughter is very patient and I hand things over to her with a seam ripper. She knows to keep them in the hoop. We’ve be been able to salvage quite a few of my “learning experiences” with this teamwork.

  • Ellen Perry

    On this type of stitching I would use seam ripper
    On bigger jobs I use Peggy’s stitch eraser
    Before which I would sign

  • Judy G

    As this is not too dense, like most others I’d carefully use my seam ripper to remove the offending stitches (working between the layers as well as picking individual stitches) without un-hooping and then re-stitch the area. If it looks okay when done (after a good steam ironing) I go on to my next project. If not, then I would start over with fresh materials.

  • Donna G.

    I admit I usually throw it out and start over. If it can be easily fixed I’ll give it a try, but my time is too valuable to spend time trying to undo big mistakes. Maybe I’ll get my own set of little guys to help me!

  • Shirley Clark

    I’m one who hates to waste anything so I usually try to rip it out and redo.
    I’ve even had some designs to jump the hoop, and I was able to line them back up and finish.
    I usually use a very, tiny seam rippers along with my little curved scissors, and a whole lot of patience!

  • Terry Senko

    I have a Peggy’s stitch eraser, but must confess I’ve never used it. If it’s not too dense a design, I’d use a seam ripper & snips. I think there’s only been one time when I created a hole (sweatshirt, dense design) and ended up tossing it in the rag bin. I’m pretty careful about checking before I stitch, though, so this has only happened a very few times. Maybe someone can come up with a clever saying, something along the lines of “measure twice, cut once”. That’s my challenge to the many smart folks out there: create a cute mnemonic.

  • Janet E

    Have had this happen twice in many many years. 1st time I used a few choice words and with a seam ripper very carefully took out the offending stitches. I write down the coordinates before I ever hit start, so was able to put back on machine and redo. The second time I had to use a stitch eraser and remove the whole design and then re stitch . Have not done it since – am very careful – but now since I have said that – watch me do it again!!!!!LOL

  • Shea Marshall

    I say a few choice words (ok, a lot) and then get out the seam ripper and thread snips and get busy. I HATE to waste a project! Last time it happened was two weeks ago to a kitchen towel. Fortunately I caught the mistake in time before it became too much (the design started stitching upside down and I caught it in the second color), but I decided to keep it rather than put it in the shop anyway. And I made sure to always continue to double check the design before starting the stitch out!

  • Kristi D.

    I would grab the seam ripper and go to work. Sometimes I need these things to happen to slow me down and make me watch things more closely. I know God has a sense of humor because I know he uses these things to remind me to slow down.

  • Tris Thompson

    seam ripper on back to remove offending stitches & release the folded fabric.
    Pin fabric so that it doesn’t happen again.
    remove top thread.
    On this design I would back track the stitching for the part removed & re-embroider just that part again.
    I would watch it very closely this time making sure hoop is put back on the machine carefully. Use needle position on machine to make sure it starts in correct spot. If worried, I’d also check placement with camera just to make sure.
    I hate to throw away an item or unpick more than I have to.

  • Cindy Garner

    I would leave the item hooped and gently pick out the over laping stitches with a seam ripper and tweezers. I would then steam the fabric to relax the holes. Then I would put back on machine being extra careful not to make same mistake and walk through stitches to only stitch the missing ones.

  • Michelle H

    Totally depends on the project and whether or not I have to get it done right now. Some things I have just trashed other times I have picked the stitches out with a seam ripper or sharp scissors

  • Rachel Price

    I embroider lots of towels and dish towels. When I make a mistake on a towel, I just cut off the side with the mistake and use the other half for a hanging towel. This way I get to embroider on the bottom of the half towel and make a towel topper for it. And embroider of the topper too! No waste and I can still use or sell it.

    • Sheila

      Excellent solution!

    • Sharon Kriesch

      I would do this too. But I would use the part I made my oops on as a pocket for an apron by folding the non oops side over to match and restitch the design by regular sewing after unhooping so matches the other side.

  • Sheila

    Wow, I learned about a couple of cool tools in these replies!

    I would remove the stitches in a light design like this one and restitch the missing pieces.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    I have done this more than once. It usually happens when I haven’t done any embroidering for awhile and forget to check everything before I push “Start”. I have never personally met Peggy but I am well acquainted with her eraser. Sometimes, however, I have to utilize all the methods you mentioned. How I recover is mostly determined by what the material is that I have embroidered on.

  • Berenice

    This has only happened once, on the last towel of a set for a wedding gift. After some naughty words and several hours of picking out a dense design from the terry cloth, I vowed that it would never happen again! So, every hooping is checked and rechecked. Edges are tucked, pinned or clipped out of the design area. I even check to make sure edges are out of the way during the stitch out. I hope I learned that lesson!!

  • Bernice Keller

    I’ve never been very successful at removing the stitches from a dense design, but this one wouldn’t be too difficult to remove the stitches and just go back over that area. Just awfully aggravating and time consuming. But we’ve probably all done something like this at one time or another, if not worse.

  • Pam Morrow

    If at all possible, I bin it – not a big fan of reverse sewing at all! Of course this usually happens on something that you can’t throw out (like one napkin of a set of six for example), so I carefully remove it using my trusty unpicker and tweezers, this task accompanied by lots of muttering and puffing and blowing. Pretty sure the word “stupid” gets used a fair bit too. Embellished with a few savoury adjectives.

  • Joanna Mackintosh

    Well, after a little gentle cursing (!!!) I find my stitch ripper and get to work. If it’s a dense design I’ll use the stitch eraser too but I always tend to make a hole that way!!

  • Linda W

    Leave the design in the hoop and carefully remove the stitches with a seam ripper and tweezers. Put the hoop back on the machine and restitch the portion I had to remove.

  • christy

    I just did a 3 month onsie, I know big mistake but I had some left over from before I knew better. Of course it got caught got a hole but I saved it with a patch.

  • Krissy Bonghi

    Yep, seem ripper and leave it I the hoop. I’ve learned to start taping fabric out of the way. Helps a lot. I once spent a week picking stitches from a baseball hat !!

  • jomimms

    depends on when I become aware of it… I am still not able to walk away from the machine when I’m stitching out an embroidery, so I’m hovering and watching everything. Now that I think of it, it may be because when I first started machine embroidery several years ago that I goofed and did walk away and had not completely skooshed the garment pieces away from the hoop action, and it must have been a significantly traumatic episode because the details are blocked from my memory! Scary! Probably will come across the piece someday as I audit the workroom as I may have tossed the item across the room at the time because it seemed impossible to fix. Oh my, am beginning to get a picture of a wonky design…

  • Linda

    Oops! Done this a few times myself. I remember once it was the sleeve of a t-shirt! I made the sleeve shorter! On this project, I would use my seem ripper and complete the design. Running stitches should be relatively easy to take out!

  • Sue

    For this type of mistake I would use the seam ripper with the design on the hoop.

    For the design I was doing a Patchwork Mickey on a sweatshirt it was a no brainier go and get a new sweatshirt . I also took the time to cut side seams in it soi could open it up.

  • Fern Mick

    I’ve done this a couple of times. If the stitching is not too dense, I use a seam ripper and then resew the design in the area that was messed up. I then iron and ease the treads around to smooth the design. If the stitching is too dense, I cut the design out and save it in my sample design basket for reference and a reminder to check that there’s no fabric wandering out of place under the hoop.

  • Carole D

    One like that looks fairly easy to fix, so I would use my curved Havel scissors and snip the design loose where it was overstitched, then back up my design and restitch the areas I had to removed. I have done this with many oops! when it is not too dense. With a more dense design, I sometimes have to throw the whole thing away. I once stitched a knit pullover back to front – that was a throwaway! Unfortunately it was my Mother’s and she seldom lets me forget when I sit down to embroider, so I have a built in reminder to check my hooping.

  • Darlene Graham

    Leave the project in the hoop and use a seam ripper to remove the errant stitches. Put the design in the machine and restitch the removed stitches.

  • Valerie Gwara

    depends on what the project is. I just did this with a silk crepe smock… VERY carefully used a seam ripper.

  • Laura Snider

    Ugh! Well, at least it’s a fairly open design!! Gentle removal with my favorite stainless steel seam ripper and a quick restitch would be my solution!

  • Beth H

    I have used all of these methods. It all depends on the project, the time of night, when I need to be done, how much fabric or thread remains, who it is for, my mood, how long I have been doing the project, and what is going on in the rest of the house(especially the people).
    I prefer using a seam ripper, a stiletto, and a good movie. I have even picked out the problem parts and tied off the stitches since it would be “okay” for the project.

  • Royce Zook

    For a simple design such as this I would pick each stitch and rework the affected area. I use a surgical blade seam ripper. For the one that really happened to me, the design was too dense and complex to rip and re-do so I cut off the legs of the jeans, moved the design up onto the thigh, stitched out again and she had a great pair of shorts. Luckily it has happened to me only the one time


    I would use a seam ripper, magnifier and bright light. Worth it!

  • Amy

    Going out on a limb here, but I would toss it and buy another towel. I just don’t have enough time to try to fix problems like this. Fortunately I have never had it happen on something that I couldn’t easily replace. I know this isn’t the answer you are looking for but it is my reality 🙂

  • Deborah Evans

    I would use my seam ripper and my “Uncle Bill’s Sliver Gripper” to take out the stitches. Then I would calculate where I needed to do the re-stitching and finish up the embroidery design.

  • marie zinno

    I love my Peggy Stitch Eraser and my scanning feature on my multi-needle machine!

  • Sandy P

    I am one of those that trows it out and starts over BUT I really like the way Jacqueline Johnson does so if at all possible I will try that first.

  • Laurene Shewan

    NO, I’ve never done that because I am extra careful when doing embroidery projects. If you believe that, I have a bridge in AZ I want to sell you! Essentially, I did what everyone else has said, ripped it out, forwarded the design, and restitch that section. Besides, it ONLY happens on items I’m giving away, so I never have to see it again!

  • Becky

    If I can start over fresh, I get the mistake out of my sight as soon as possible. If not, I heave a heavy sigh, get out my frequently used seam ripper, and get busy.

  • Donna B

    Ohhhh I so dislike those kind of “user error” mistakes. I’d be a bit irritated at first then I’d hoop new fabric, if I had it, and start over. Then I would use my seam ripper or small scissors to laboriously remove the messed up stitches. Reminding myself of what I use to always tell my kids. We always learn by our mistakes

  • mad14kt

    Patience is needed here 🙂 I would take my time and take it out! 🙂

  • Marilyn Weiss

    Usually a few deep breaths and a seam ripper….OK if no one is around a few “choice” words may be added to the process.

  • Ivalyn Jones-Actie

    My favorite tool to use is a disposable razor, the pink lady kind! It takes out lots of stitches quickly and doesn’t damage the fabric.

  • Judy

    If it is a onesie or a t-shirt, I usually throw it out. I always make a hole when ripping those out no matter how careful I am. For all others I use my surgical scalpel to cut the bobbin thread and use my tweezers to pull out top threads.

  • Rhonda Higgins

    This happens way too often, especially when I’m in a hurry.
    Thank you for the chance to laugh at ourselves and not feel
    like we are alone in these types of mistakes. By putting
    mistakes on your blog we all learn.

  • Paula Watson

    Oh how I “hate” when that happens!!! Depending on the design and the project, I will use a seam ripper and small, snipping scissors to take out the mistake. Depending on the fabric, this time consuming effort often is in vain. The stitches often compromise the fabric. Some times I just throw out the mistake and begin again.
    One time I was working on a fleece blanket for someone. Well, I ended up having to buy another blanket and start over! Needless to say, I lost money on that job!!
    I have learned to check, and double check, and even triple check before stitching!
    My best advice – be careful friends!

  • Kay Simolke

    Carefully cut the hoop out. Then remove as much of towel from behind the stitches as possible without ruining any of the embroidery. When you have removed as much excess towel as possible, iron on a layer of no show fusible stabilizer and applique your design on another item. You will be surprised at your creativity. I have gorgeous hand towels with applique designs on them. One came from guess what and the other one was stitched from part of the messed up towel. On the other hand, if it were a one of a kind item that could not be replaced from anywhere on this earth, I’d rip and redo. But I usually have an extra or a source for an extra. Years of experience and lots of mess-ups has taught me this .

  • Rhonda Potter

    I have done the very same thing, but my favorite tool to remove the stitches is not my peggy stitch eraser but my Eyebrow trimmer, pickup at the 99 cent store, works great. The blade is wrapped with wire so I have never cut the fabric, I use it all the time to take out seams, very easy to slide between fabric. Also us a lint roller to pick up all the thread

  • Nancy Weber

    I would take the seam ripper and get to work “unsewing”. I hate to give up on any problem without at least trying to save it and once worked for 2 years to remove a peacock feather design that was fine until the very end and then went wonky! Friends said “Throw that thing away”, but today I wear it with a lovely bird design in its place. Hugs.

  • Carolyn

    My first response would be my version of swearing, “AWWWWW MANNN!!!!
    Then I’d do a combination of stitch removing “equipment” depending on density. Once when making a tee-shirt for my grandson I doubled a part of the shirt under and had to cut a hole in the shirt to get it loose. I embroidered “oops” around the hole and sent it anyway (with a 2nd, perfect tee). He wore both, and the shirt has been handed down to his 6 siblings as “HoneyGram’s Oops shirt.

  • Frances Powell

    I use a seam ripper. Everytime something like that happens I say I am going to order Peggy’s Stitch remover, but I never do. I must be a procrastinator.

  • pateiwah

    swearing is a required activity, I use both languages, leaving in hoop or not depends on how bad it is and what it’s for. I keep a new seam ripper just in case they tend to be sharper and work better, also I have scalpels both 10’s and 11’s. snip skin scissors from a suture kit they are sharper and are really pointy. if I can get a thread loose on the bobbin side and pull that is good, I also like to clear off the little threads with packing tape, I found the “duck tape” brand to do a really good job. it will pull out threads that are a bit loose, as to salvaging the item or not depends on how bad I messed up. if nothing else it becomes a practice item, or one the grands can use. the theory is they can’t do a worse job, one grandson LOVES the things that are
    damaged, esp if he can wear it. he asked me to mess one up so he could wear it. I might have hit on a new tween style ‘must have’. we’ll see.

  • Gayle

    For this mistake a magnifying glass on stand with its own inbuilt light and a sharp and sharp pointed seam ripper and a tweezers is indispensable. Float some stabiliser behind before the correction is stitched.
    Almost same effect I used the wrong colour at a change and ended up with a bright green and white cow, that took ages and ages to unpick and redo with black, but now I can laugh about it.

    • Audrey

      So many good suggstions given! I don’t know what Peggy’s eraser is but will research it soon. Sounds like a great tool to have.
      After I get over the “how could I be so stupid!”, I put it aside until I’m in a better mood to deal with it. I just love Jack! I need him to come sit in my new toy golf cart Living in THE VILLAGES, FL FOR THE SUMMER. major travel is by golf cart over the area to shopping, clubs at the numerous Rec centers. Currently I know of 4 embroidery clubs (free) with lots of fun and help with other embroiderers. Jack would then be ready to “Fix It” for me.

  • Patty

    I use Peggy’s stitch eraser for my mistakes. Love it!

  • April

    I have never heard of Peggy’s stitch eraser but will certainly research it! I will sit there and patiently pick it out with my seam ripper.

  • Beverley HIlton

    I’d carefully pick out only the stitches holding down the extra fabric, then remove all the bits of thread with a wrap of transparent tape or masking tape with the sticky side out. My favorite seam ripper is Viking’s little grey original equipment model. It’s really sharp with a very small point.

    Since it’s still in the hoop, I’d put it back on the machine and move through the stitches until I got to the point where the stitches have been removed. Then I’d re-stitch the picked-out stitches, and stop when I’d done them all.

    In theory, that should give me a near-perfect stitch-out.

  • Julienne Burns

    First, I sigh and call myself an idiot. Then I rip out the offending stitches, put the hoop back in the machine and surf through the stitches til I find the spot and rework it. If it’s a BIG mistake, I walk away.

  • Wanda Rohle

    For an open design I snip the stitches from the back and put back into the machine and replace the stitches I need to. For a dense design I cut it out and use as an appliqué on something else. I have had it happen a couple of times but now I really just try to prevent it by double checking that the fabric not in the hoop is out of the way.

  • Joan M

    From what Claudia said, a cup of Chi tea and music by Enya, might be worth making the mistake. But, honestly yes, I have done this and without the above remedies, repaired one and had a beautiful dust cloth with the other. Now I check and recheck… many times.

  • Beth R

    Oh yes, I’ve done this more times than I care to admit – usually when I’m really excited about how a project is looking (“looks great, love the way it is turning out . . . Oh noooo!!!). But I pick up the seam ripper, grab the magnifying glasses and a bright light, and breathe deeply. Then I get to work and slowly remove stitches and figure out what part of the design I need to stitch over. Usually works quite well and turns out looking fine.

  • Deanna

    Yes, it’s happened to me. I have taken a seam ripper and sat down and picked it out. It’s annoying but mistakes happen.

  • Judy

    Yes been there, first the shock that it happened again… Then deep breath take it off the machine get my small embroidery scissors and seam ripper and start taking out the offending problem. Then I use tape on the top and bottom to pull off most of the threads or use my tweezer when needed. After threads are removed i then put back onto my machine and go back through the pattern usually overlap 10-20 stitches making sure it is stitching correctly. Then finish the design.

  • Saundra Romanus

    This has happened to me (more than once). I am so glad to read this and realized that this happens to other people too. I really enjoyed reading the replies! I thought I was the only dumbo! Once I was able to take out with a seam ripper and stich over. Once I threw the item in the trash and went to bed! I will have to look into that Peggy’s Stitch Eraser. I have never heard of this. Has anyone out there used it?

  • Sharon H

    I did this one time. One time was all it took for me to check and recheck….uggghhh, don’t like remembering it.
    What I did was catch a child’s apron tie under the hoop so it was basically embedded under the entire design. I tried to think of different ways to “fix it”, including just cutting the tie in two places and leaving it….but that would’ve looked pretty stupid, I think. Besides, it was an apron blank and no way to fix the too short tie. So, my solution was to leave it as it was, tack it to my bulletin board in front of my embroidery machine as a reminder to always, always, always LOOK ONE MORE TIME BEFORE HITTING START!
    So far it’s working for me! LOL

  • MoeWest

    This is why I have more than one seam ripper! I need that fixit crew!

  • Annie

    Yes it happend to me. Only once, from then on I always make sure that the material is not caught up again. It was a good lesson. The design that I have used was not to complicated, so I removed the stitches and resewed. My grandmother, who was a wonderful seamstress, taught me, not to be lazy….., but also not to waste ……

  • Sarita

    I use my Peggy stitch eraser after I take carefully out the hoop & very carefully use a seam ripper to take out the stitches, then straighten very carefully the embroider & keep on going. So far I’ve been lucky succeeding with this method, but I learned not to leave the embroidery unattended!

  • Lisa

    I keep in my sewing room something used to groom eyebrows. They have a long plastic handle and a cover. When the cover is removed something similar to razor blade is revealed. With a nice pair of tweezers or forceps and this tool this would ripping/picking would go quickly. I also like this tool when you get thread nests and can’t removed hooped item and there is a mess underneath. Shove it under and start cutting threads not article.

    • Wende

      oh yes………a couple of times. Now I check twice. But I didn’t know about this little gadget. If it’s the one I’m thinking of it runs about $10 in the beauty supply. Am I right?