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Just about every tote bag can benefit from the addition of embroidery but hooping one can be challenging. Here’s how I do it – on a single needle machine or a multi-needle.

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the tear-away stabilizer over the metal frame of Monster Hoop.

Turn the tote inside out and center the tote over the stabilizer (centering the target sticker).  Place the magnetic top over the tote. Use the edge of the tote as an alignment guide. If it’s straight, the design will be straight.  

Attach the hoop to the machine and lift the tote over the machine head. Keep an eye on the straps and make sure they are not caught under the hoop. 

Multi-Needle Machines

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the outer ring inside the tote and lay a piece of tear-away over the outer ring.  Insert the inner ring, keeping the target sticker centered. 

Or if you’re using Multi-needle Monster, then insert the magnetic frame into the bag, centering the target sticker. Position the metal frame on top of the magnetic frame and attach to the machine. 

Easy peasy!




  • Heather

    Wish we could get Monster Hoop in South Africa. Is there another way?

  • Maga

    I haven’t found the Monster Hoops in Europe either so I would like to see how to manage this with the ordinary hoops that come with the machines as I have not had great success trying to embellish ready-made totes or bags and have given up so now I embroider fabric instead and then make the totes.

    • eileenroche

      You can use the same technique with a standard hoop. Just follow the steps outlined above with your 5″ x 7″ standard hoop. Remember to turn the tote bag inside out before hooping.

  • Beth Wills

    Eileen, isnthe subway art for the market bag shown here available as an embroidery design to purchase?

    • eileenroche

      I created that design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

      • Beth Wills

        Thank you. I really like it

  • Gayle

    I had to resort to unpicking the side seams and resewing after embroidery. But after some really pretty floral designs done they made lovely gifts.