Fine Heirloom Sewing, Smocking and Hand Embroidery

"Baby will be well and smiling in little garments made by Mother, Auntie, Grannie and loving friends!"

Please join me as I teach the old fashioned techniques and skills needed to sew baby clothes. You will find lessons that start at the very beginning and take you step by step as we sew little baby clothes together. May you find much joy and pleasure in making them.
It's easy and it's fun!!

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Friday, November 6

Embroidery Hoops Are Handy

Collection of old hand held  Embroidery Hoops.  Blue plastic one is new. 
Embroidery hoops have changed some over the years but still have the same purpose, to keep your fabric taunt and prevent the fabric from moving while you stitch.  While I don't use a hoop for most stitches, sometimes the hoop is very handy.  I use a hoop when I stitch Shadow Embroidery, Eyelets and several other stitches depending on the fabric.  I have used it to embroider on a flimsy silk fabric because with out the hoop, the fabric became distorted with each stitch. 

Jeannie's old girlhood Hoops (above).  The wooden hoop has felt on the inside ring to help hold the fabric taunt.  The metal hoop has cork on the inside ring to keep the fabric in place and a screw on the outside ring to tighten around the fabric.

Antique hoop has a lever on the outside ring that you move to tighten it around the inside ring.
This interesting hoop belonged to Mabel Rhodes Himmell (1900-1930) and dates to 1920 or earlier.

All hoops need a way to hold the fabric and prevent it  slipping easily out of the hoop.  The hoop I use today is a plastic hoop with a lip designed to help hold the fabric in place.

See the words printed on the inside ring.  They say "This Side Up" 

Gauzy Fairy Fabric on top of the inside hoop!
Place the inside ring of the hoop on the table "This Side Up" and lay your fabric on top of the hoop.  Loosen the screw on the outside ring all the way.

I put my initials on my hoop so I won't lose it in a class full of hoops.
Place the outside ring over the inside ring, holding fabric in place, and tighten the screw.  See how there is a little "Lip" on the top that keeps the fabric in place. Never tug on the fabric to tighten it.  This can distort the fabric.  You must loosen the screw, smooth the fabric in place and re tighten the screw.

Hoops come in different sizes.   For Heirloom Embroidery I like to use a hoop that is small enough for me to use a finger to push the fabric up a little as I stitch.  The pressure from your finger will help to create small stitches.

 Holding a 3" hoop in my left hand.
Hold the hoop with your left hand, pushing your finger up slightly underneath as you press down with your thumb on top.  This gives you the ability to manipulate your stitches and keep them small.


julia said...

I really should use my embroidery hoops when I embroider, but I rarely do. Perhaps it would look better if I did.

Jeannie B. said...

If you are not happy with your embroidery stitches you might try a hoop for some stitches. I always use a hoop for Eyelets and Shadow Embroidery.

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