Search here...
Embroidery Tips & Techniques Hooping Lettering & Monograms

Need an Embroidery Miracle? Then You Need Friends in High Places!

Where do you turn when you need a solution to an embroidery dilemma? It started innocently enough with “Honey, can you embroider my name and phone number on this strap?” I naively responded, “Oh sure, I’ll bet it’ll be an easy thing to do.” Then he hands over the ‘harmless’ strap. From afar, it looked like camo canvas maybe camo neoprene. But once in my hand, my knees began to tremble when I gripped the…RUBBER backing! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Rubber? Really? Are you kidding me? Dang, I wish I hadn’t shared that joke about the lady who informed her husband that no, she won’t stitch a logo on his golf shirt because her machine can’t do menswear. I still chuckle at that line. But my sweet husband knows the truth behind that – it’s a joke he’s heard me tell in Stitching Sister events. He knows all of my machines ‘can do menswear.’

So off I trotted to the office with the noose, I mean strap, over my shoulder. I figured I’d start my research there – pour through all our technical journals, embroidery books and commercial magazines to look for a solution. My search led to nothing, not a clue on how to hoop or stabilize rubber-backed neoprene. So I did what I normally do when approached with a stumbling block. I climb around it. Avoid it. Make a path around it – like the elephant in the room. And mull it over for a few days. But not this time because in walked the most knowledgeable person in the embroidery industry. Deborah Jones.

She was here on official business – really big important stuff like what would we have for lunch. At the end of our visit, I remembered the noose – strap (gee, I keep staying that!) and asked for her advice. Without a trace of confusion or a moment of hesitation, she said, “Oh hoop it with wax paper. You’ll need something to lubricate the needle and thread as it exits the rubber.”

I looked at her like she handed me the Hope diamond. She looked at me like she sometimes does, “Oh you silly Yankee.” (Doesn’t matter how long you live in Texas, you’re always a Yankee if you imported yourself.) Then she left. I was perplexed, okay scared, so I worried for a few more days. And then I bought wax paper. I haven’t purchased wax paper in years and didn’t spot it the new fancy grocery near the office. I asked a salesperson where I would find it and she wasn’t quite sure what it was! After a minute she muttered something about packed lunches at grandma’s house when she was a little girl and then sent me to aisle 23. Anyway, I bought it.

The noose, I mean strap, is thick so holding it in a hoop was not an option. Sticking it down on hooped wax paper in a standard hoop would likely result in the noose, strap, popping off the wax paper. So I hooped tear-away stabilizer and two layers of wax paper (Why two? I don’t know, I bought a whole roll, so I figured I’d get my money’s worth) in Snap Hoop on a 10-needle machine. Snap Hoop is flat and will help keep the strap on the wax paper. I sprayed the back of the strap with temporary adhesive and pressed it onto the wax paper. Then taped it for extra security.

As you remember Deborah told me to ‘use wax paper.’ She didn’t tell me anything about hooping, adding stabilizer or adhesive. I was on my own there, I just tried to apply common sense (something most Yankees are not known for in Texas) and tame the challenge and well, git her done as they say here.

It worked! An embroidery miracle, thanks to Deborah Jones.


The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question:
Have you used Kreations by Kara’s designs? If so, do you have a favorite?  Leave a comment and four random winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate! Yippee! A shopping spree is in order.

The winner is:

Josie D: “I hadn’t heard of her before but what you’ve shown is awesome.”

Sara R: “There are too many beautiful designs to pick a favorite but I love FSL and the FSL Christmas ornaments are definitely some of my favorites.”

Janet F: “I used Kara’s butterflies on the lining of a quilted jacket. I smile every time I put it on, the inside is as pretty as the outside.”

Sara: “I have purchased her designs for quite some time now, the best is she has for every thing & every body, so talented, her creations are exquisite! Sad to hear she passed, but the talent runs in the family with her daughter. We are so happy to have Kreations by Kara for the magnificent, creativity & versatility we get with her creations!”


Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  The information you shared is very helpful as we continue to come up with fresh content you’ll enjoy!

Related posts:




  • Ennis A

    Wow seems so simple. But the strap looks thick. Not sure my machine would handle it. But glad for the wax paper hint. Economical and easy. Thanks for the info!!!

  • Nancy Weber

    Never would have thought of waxed paper as a backing to lubricate. I am sure to use this tip a lot.

  • Diana

    When I was young, my mom taught me to use it to clean the iron. Anything that is sticky, put a layer of wax paper. Gluing things together, lay it on a piece of wax paper, when it is dried, comes fight off. I have used wax paper for a lot of things

  • Karin

    Well, that’s sure a new one for me! Who’d have thought! My best use of wax paper is rolling out pie dough, but embroidering a difficult piece sure ranks a close 2nd!

  • Sue

    OK I have an embroidery dilemma, and I am not sure how to fix it. I have a t-shirt quilt I needed to quilt. I started in the center block, and while it wasn’t perfect (the t-shirt material bunched some), I went on to the next block. Disaster! This shirt had a lot of screen print material on it, and my walking foot dragged, and the stitches came out tiny(I was using a 3.0 stitch). I took the stitching out. So my question is – what do I do? Put wax paper on top? What needle do I use( quilting. embroidery, sharp, ball point?. Yikes!

    • Elise

      I always try to avoid quilting in the screen print area, using echo quilting instead. You might try some wss on top so you can easily remove it by washing.

  • Debra

    Thank for the info. I just read you can use press n seal for top stitching also.

  • Judy G

    So where’s the phone number? (LOL) Anyway, thanks for the great tip. Never would’ve thought…

    • Sharon R

      This is a partial repeat. There was a flap on the strap, she put it there so it wouldn’t be visible unless someone lifted the flap.

  • Barbara

    Wow, how useful is that! Sure glad I read this post! Now I have to figure out where to put it so I remember it! Thanks SO much!

  • Sara Alicea

    I use the sheet softener, then when I need to clean my iron, hold them with the hot iron with a protection not to burn my hands & always like a charm.

  • Wanda H Leffingwell

    wax paper , I have used in Sewing Room but never used for Embroidery , I will try this for sure!

  • Lex Appel

    Love, love, love Kara’s designs! They are so unusual & stitch up really well!

  • Natacha Shotts

    I have used wax paper for years in duplicating patterns of any kind. You can trace over it with a dull pencil or a ball point pen. But I really like the idea of using it for embroidery. Thanks for the tip.

  • Joyce Lockyer

    What size needle did you use to embroider the strap?

  • Marylee

    What a combination of Ms Deborah Jones and Ms Eileen Roche in a sewing room working together! I just attended a 2 day event in Sandy Springs, GA with Ms Jones and learned several other tips and tricks. Thanks for sharing this one. Happy Stitchin!!

  • Carolyn

    I love waxed paper. I FIND uses for it, but I never thought about embroidery! Will keep that tip in mind. Bet it would work on Koozies to keep the needles from getting dull so quickly.C

  • Robin Sankbeil

    Huh, To my friends, I am considered a knowledgeable & experienced embroiderer. Can honestly say, never encountered a rubber back object. Thanks for the info as this lesson taught me, there is always a solution! Betting, (wondering) if wax paper would work wonders on neoprene too???? Please keep the strange and difficult projects coming! On your blog, even experienced embroiders learn. Thank You!

  • Kati

    Thanks for all the wonderful tips you have for embroidery! I would have told my hubby it wouldn’t work…too thick to sew on!

  • Kathleen Hamill

    Love learning about embroidry tips and tricks.

  • Amy

    I would also like to know what needle and thread (assuming poly) you used on the strap. I can see this would be useful for a lot of the “guy” things they seem to have as their hobby tools.

  • Bruce

    Thanks for the info, now I have to figure out where to put it so I remember it! Thanks for sharing.