All About Embroidery Hoops

Hoops for Machine Embroidery

An embroidery machine comes with at least one hoop, if not several. Hoops are commonly referred to as 4" x 4", 5" x 7", and so on. That measurement refers to the size of the sewing field and not the actual size of the hoop. Every embroidery machine has a sewing field limit that will be noted in the machine manual. Single-needle machines recognize the hoop that is attached and will not allow you to stitch a design that is larger than the attached hoop; it also won’t stitch if the design has been moved out of the sewing field.

It gets a bit more complicated than that. A 4" x 4" hoop does not actually stitch a sewing field of 4" x 4"; rather it fills a sewing field of 100mm x 100mm. Since the metric system does not convert evenly to imperial, the embroidery industry has taken the liberty of rounding off the numbers in inches. So what to do? Read your manual, learn the true size of your sewing field, and make the best of it!

As a rule, it’s best to use the smallest hoop available for the design. That means if your design measures 3" x 2", a 4" x 4" will provide the best stabilization on the fabric for that design. It doesn’t mean you can’t use a 5" x 7" hoop; it means the fabric will be held tighter in a 4" x 4" hoop. There may be several reasons why you would opt to use a larger-than-necessary hoop for a design: you’re adding more than one design, a garment detail (such as a button, pocket flap or rivet) may obstruct a 4" x 4" frame, or you’re struggling to hoop absolutely square for a design that almost fills the frame.

Standard Embroidery Hoops for Single-Needle Machines

Standard embroidery hoops provide the strongest tension on fabric for the embroidery process. Fabric and stabilizer are secured between two rings: the inner ring, which is a fixed size, and the adjustable outer ring. The tightening screw on the outer ring allows for different thicknesses of fabric and stabilizer. The outer ring has an attachment that slides onto the machine and is recognized by the machine. The fabric/stabilizer lays on top of the outer ring and under the inner ring.

 

Magnetic Hoops for Single-Needle Machines

Magnetic hoops grasp the fabric/stabilizer combo together with a flat, firm hold. Since the fabric lays flat between the two frames, it can be pulled, tugged, and adjusted right in the frame without any fabric distortion.

Snap Hoop Monster

Snap Hoop Monster is a magnetic, stand-alone hoop, recognized by the machine. The fabric/stabilizer combo is sandwiched between the two frames and enables the embroiderer to make minute adjustments to design placement right at the machine. Snap Hoop Monster simplifies many continuous embroidery projects and can handle a multitude of fabrics, from stabilized cottons to heavy terry cloth. Snap Hoop Monster comes with a Magnet Shield that is used to separate the frames during storage.


Border Hoops/Continuous Hoops

Clamp-style hoops were designed to stitch borders on the edge of fabric. They grip the fabric between two frames that open and close. They are machine-specific; check your machine manual to see if there is a border hoop available for your machine.

 

Standard Embroidery Hoops for Multi-Needle Machines

On a multi-needle machine, the standard hoops were designed for tubular embroidery on finished goods. Commercial embroidery hoops secure the fabric/stabilizer combo between two rings: the inner ring, which is one size, and the adjustable outer ring. The tightening screw on the outer ring allows for different thicknesses of fabric and stabilizer. The inner ring has two attachments that slide onto the arms of a commercial machine. The fabric/stabilizer lays on top of the outer ring and under the inner ring. Because the inner ring attaches to the machine from the top of the hoop, excess fabric falls over the outer ring, under the attachment points. This design allows for true tubular embroidery.

Magnetic Hoops for Multi-Needle Machines

There are three types of magnetic hoops for multi- needle machines that are ideal for tubular embroidery such as pant legs, sleeves, pockets, and more.

Quick Snap

Quick Snap capitalizes on a multi-needle machine’s free arm feature and is ideal for tubular embroidery such as pant legs, sleeves, and pockets. Follow the steps on this page to use Quick Snap.

When Quick Snap frames are attached to the machine, the machine detects an 8" x 12" hoop. It is the embroiderer’s responsibility to load a design that fits in the opening of the frame and not rely on the machine’s detection. Use of the trace feature is strongly encouraged.

Snap Hoop Monster for Quick Snap

This attachment replaces the arms on the multi-needle machine. The metal bottom frame is inserted into the attachment. Fabric/stabilizer is sandwiched between the top and bottom frames.

Multi-Needle Monster

Multi-Needle Monster is also a flat, magnetic hoop and has two points of attachment. It attaches to the machine just like a standard hoop—brackets slide into the arms. To make full use of the free arm, the magnetic frame sits under (or below) the metal frame. Multi-Needle Monster is recognized by the machine as a standard embroidery hoop.