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Target Rulers

I use target rulers to quickly find the middle of a quilt block, pocket, placket or other embroiderable area.  Once placed on the fabric, I slip a target sticker into the hole, aligning the crosshairs. Then I confidently remove the target ruler and hoop the fabric.

Once the hoop is attached to the machine, I center the needle over the target sticker, remove the sticker and embroider the design.

Ninety percent of the time, I’m comfortable with that process. But 10% of the time, I need a little more reassurance.  So I tape the target ruler to the fabric and hoop the fabric. I make sure the legs are not caught under the inner ring.TS2BL

Once attached to the machine, I move the hoop to center the needle over the crosshair.TS3BL

Then I activate the trace feature, also known as the trial key. TS5BL

I touch one of the four center points (top, bottom, left and right) of the perimeter of the design. Then I proceed to the next center point always keeping an eye on the needle to see if it continues to align with the target ruler’s crosshair.TS4BL

If the needle hits the target ruler right on the line, then I know my design is exactly where I want it.TS6BL

That’s a simple step for solid confirmation.

Of course, I could use a printed template of the design and perform the same steps but sometimes I don’t have access to a printer or more than likely, the printer is out of paper, ink, or both!  There’s always a work around when you have reliable tools in your embroidery studio.

Blog image DIME

What is your favorite tool in your own personal embroidery studio? One lucky comment will be chosen to win an $100 gift gertificate to





  • Belinda Germain

    My favorite tool is a simple sliver of soap. I use it to mark my fabrics. No worries about “disappearing ink” pens leaving marks, or Frixion pen marks coming back. It is simply soap and I know it will wash out!

  • Ennis A

    My favorite tool used often is a piece of rubberized/vinyl drawer liner to lay my hoop on while hooping. Keeps the hoop from moving around and always makes this process easier and quicker. More time to actually embroider!!

  • beth d.

    my favorite tool is pencil erasers that fit on top of the screw on the embroidery hoop. It makes it much easier to turn the screw. I also print and cut out a printout of the design to put on the fabric in the hoop.

  • Chris Vick

    I have these rulers but never thought to use them with my 10 needle in this manner. I’ve wondered how to make sure the alignment is correct beyond the perimeter of the sticker. Now I know. Thanks! My favorite tool a pair of tweezers, without which I couldn’t get accurate placement of my sticker, get those little thread pieces out,etc.

  • Pam R

    My favorite is the PAL — Perfect Alignmeny Laset. It has made a huge difference in my embroidery skills.

  • Sandi Cunningham

    BLUE PAINTERS TAPE! It doesn’t leave gummy residue, but it does hold things well. It works to secure, mark a line or edge, holds all my little threads as I snip them, tapes the strands of thread to the spool before I put them away. This little “steal” from the guys’ toolbox is the greatest thing since hemostats in my sewing room!!! I can even label things with it!

  • Lynda Case

    I have to say that my favorite tool is my embroidery machine

  • Colleen

    Personally, I love my PAL. Yes, I could use my camera, but most of the time I am trying to squeeze into the smallest hoop possible and don’t allow any wiggle room so the PAL helps me every time, but honestly my family and I use it for non-hooping projects too. My favorite is for framing my machine embroidered projects. They used to be so crooked until I remembered my PAL. Eileen is a genius in my book.

  • Betty Ann

    I love my PAL. Makes it easy to position my garment on hoop – I don’t usually hoop garment, just stabilizer.

  • Maga

    I haven’t got a target ruler or sticker (not available where I am) so I am using a template and I am terrible at hooping BUT my laser embroidery foot for my emb machine is fantastic. The little llight that shows where the needle will hit the fabric has helped me no end.

  • Chris House

    Most favorite tool in my embroidery studio is the closed door. It gently conveys many messages. I’m creating, I’m working, I’m concentrating. It’s a glass door, so lets in light and anyone can see I’m at the machine.

  • Karen Poole

    My favorite tool is actually a spray! Temporary spray adhesive 505, I use it to adhere fabrics to the hoop with appliqué it to adhere the top fabric to the stabilizer especially when “floating” the fabric, and it also holds fabric to the bottom of the hoop when making ITH projects.

  • Francine

    My favorite tool is the camera. I draw cross hairs with chalk.

  • Denyse

    My favorite tool is the laser line. I can follow it and know that I’m on the right track.

  • Kate

    rubber shelf liner and very small 90 degree “L” ruler without a doubt go hand in had to be my favorite embroidery line up tools. Other than that a long curved scissor for snipping threads. thank you always for your hints, experiences and tool ideas.

  • Becky Thompson

    I simply couldn’t embroider without the PAL. I have a lot of alignment tools from DIME which really help but being able to see the crosshairs once I’ve covered the hash marks with the project is invaluable. It has totally changed the way I embroider.

  • Cathy Ervin

    Time…and there is never enough of that!

  • Nancy Sherr

    Gel pens and sharpie type colored markers. They do a great job of filling in little boo-boos on finished projects. Saved me any number of times.

  • Linda Lee

    I have two favorites. First my target stickers and second my computer for YouTube or Craftsy

  • Kathy Grant

    I’m fairly new at embroidery – but a tool I use a lot is my little curved scissors – makes it easy to trim threads very close. Thank you for sharing all your tips!

    • Hippie

      To think, I was cosufned a minute ago.

    • That’s an inventive answer to an interesting question

  • Joanne Dillon

    Oh my goodness how can we possibly name a favorite??? I love the target stickers..I use marking pens…..I have an area on my sewing island that is lined with rubber shelf liner to keep my hoop stable while hooping – I don’t think I could do it without that!! Oh..I watch classes and YouTube probably 4 times a week so the computer would be ever so important. My favorite machine out of all my machines would have to be the Alliance. What the heck…I love everything!

  • Nancy Weber

    My favorite accessory tool is a pair of pointed tweezers. They help with so many different jobs.

  • Kelly Sas

    Being a newbie to machine embroidery my favorite tool is the computer. It has: helped me find answers to all my questions, find design and education sites to learn about stabilizers, techniques, etc. and find machine embroidery groups on Face Book where I learned DIME and their helpful products, tips and support!

  • Denise H

    My favorite tool is a roll of double sided basting tape. Apply strips to the underside of the inner hoop. Line up everything and press the inner hoop to the fabric then finish hooping. It will all stay in place!

  • maria blecha

    My favorite wow , there are so many, I think my whole sewing room is my favorite!!!! My heaven!!! No seriously, the target stickers, and my embroidery’s Buddy.

  • Janet True

    Snowman target stickers are my favorite, they work with camera on machine to line up design.

  • Judie

    My personal favorite is the Clover Chaco Liner-Marker. It puts down an extremely fine line that just brushes away when you are done. It makes it possible to mark exact placement with no chance of damage to the fabric. It is inexpensive often qualifies for a discount coupon, lasts a very long time, and is available in several colors.

  • Karen S

    My favorite is your magnet set of hoops for my multi needle machine and of course the other aids to help me get the item hooped right. Now all I need is time to use them. Thanks

  • Valerie Brown

    My embroidery machine is my favorite tool. I just love my Ellisimo Gold. It sews and embroideries like a champ!

  • Pam

    Lint roller. After you clip those jump threads it is an easy clean up. Cleans your project as well as around your machine.

    If you are having to tear out a mistake- it is there for you.

  • Teresa

    My favorite tool is a plastic grid sheet. It helps me when I am not quite sure of my placement being perpendicular or parallel to a reference point.

  • Cheryl Belden

    Being fairly new to machine embroidery I have to say that this blog and other informative sites are my favorite !!! Thanks for all the tips and techniques

  • Lynsey Reuber

    My favorite tool is my PC and software for my machine. With both tools, I can go on to create things as endless as my ideas!

    I also use the PC to watch videos of sewing, read blogs and generally keep up to date on all the great sewing news as it comes out.

  • Cathy Bremer

    I tend to print out the design but I would love to know where you got that ruler! I love it! I’ve been using the snap hoops lately and it would be a lo of help.

  • Doree Shandera

    My favorite tool is my clover tweezers. They make getting those unwanted stitches out quickly and cleanly, so I can get back to the project pronto.

  • Christy Orr-Petrolawicz

    My favorite tool would have to be the tips and tricks I’ve learned from friends and other embroidery enthusiasts. There is always someone out there who has experienced the same issue you may be having that can offer great insight and a solution to your problem. A great way to meet new friends who share your same interests.

    • Lizabeth

      Dag nabbit good stuff you whanperspippers!

    • Messi plays all over the place. Messi has been part of a Barcelona attack with Eto’o and Henry that has scorched other La Liga defenses to ashes, and he’s close behind Ronaldo. So why exactly do I believe that Ronaldo could be the better player?

  • Becky M

    I love the target stickers. They are the easiest way I’ve found to mark my center point.

  • Carolyn

    My PAL alignment light. I still have the little one and I tape it down with blue painters tape. My second favorite is a centering ruler, top has regular inch measurements, bottom has the marking for the centering of the measurements on the top.

  • Janet Fishman

    My favorite tool for embroidery blue painters tape. I can tape down my template and hold it is place while I adjust the machine to get the design at just the right place

  • Joan Shriver

    My favorite tool has got to be my Brother Dreamweaver machine. Hardly ever a jump stitch to cut, does way more than I know about, so far!

  • Donna C

    I’m fairly new at machine embroidery but I found the hand tool I use most is the reverse tweezers…they never let go when they should not. I’m still collecting tho…who knows what I might dream up next.

    • Judy Browm

      I completely agree with you
      about the reverse tweezers. The help in so many ways- too numerous to list here. My favorite use is helping thread my needle. Great for older eyes.

  • Sara Redner

    My favorite tool would be the thread rack my husband made for setting up the colors for the current project. It holds 25 spools and I can put them in the order I need them. I set it on the desktop right next to the machine so I don’t have to jump up and get each different color off the racks on the wall or have them just setting loose on the desk.

  • Deb

    I don’t have alot of tools, even though I have been doing this for awhile, but I can’t seem to get my mind around metric, and so many designs on my software, and the grids on my machine are metric. My favorite is my engineers ruler that is inches on one side and metric on the other!

  • Cheryl L

    My favorite tools are my two Brother Dream Machine 2’s. I love, love, love them. I have been embroidering for 5 or 6 years now and I would not be able to produce the things I do, mostly embroidered quilts, without them. I enjoy your blog and learn any tip and tricks from it. Thank you!!!

  • Donna Collier

    I have a regular ruler that I use for marking the center of my stabilizer and then use 505 spray to hold my fabric instead of hooping it. I have not seen a target ruler, but I am going to look for one. Joanne’s is an hour away and the fabric store in my town mostly caters to quilting. I need to check out PAL for centering. Thank you for all your tips and blog.

  • Cathy Smith

    My favorite tool would be my camera for lining up my target stickers.

  • JD

    Like others mention here, my computer is my favorite tool. Because if I need ideas for projects or help with a project there is always someone out there somewhere who can help. Love your blog also.

  • Karen Williams

    I have so many tools that are essential to doing embroidery & getting it right, but I’d have to say printed templates. I especially like to use the clear transparencies (especially if I expect to use the design multiple times) or Print & Stick Target paper (semi-transparent). It helps to audition the design’s placement for extra assurance, also use my dressmaker’s form for t-shirts/knits. Curved scissors, tweezers, cushioned shelf liner & quilter’s chalk pencils/markers, target rulers & stickers — it’s like a pilot’s pre-flight checklist!!

  • Doreen Linehan

    My favorite tools are printed templates and scotch tape

  • Sonya

    My favorite tool is my brain…at 74yrs old the good Lord has blessed me so I can still learn how to use these high tech machines and emb software…

    • Ollie

      Hi Steven, SMO and SEO are both necessary. I definitely do not recommend using one or the other. Thank you for reading and commenting! Take caeroM,nyelle

  • Debbie D

    I use the target rulers and the magna hoops.

  • Bruce

    Embroidery machine is what I really like.


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