How to use an embroidery hoop

In this post, I'll show you how I prepare an embroidery hoop for stitching. The most important thing to keep in mind when preparing your hoop is to make sure your fabric is as tight as possible. Tight fabric will make stitching much, much easier (especially if you're new to embroidery).


Hope demonstrates how to use an embroidery hoop.
I'll be using a 4" beechwood hoop, linen fabric, scissors, and a screwdriver.

I've provided detailed photo and written instructions for how to use an embroidery hoop in this post; if video instruction is easier for you to follow, you'll find a brief video tutorial at the end (feel free to jump ahead!).


Grab a cut of fabric that's slightly larger than the size of your hoop


You'll be trimming this fabric a bit more later in the process.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
I'm using a 4" beechwood hoop and linen fabric in this example.

Determine which direction your screw will face.


Generally, I recommend that you keep the screw to your right if you're right-handed, and to your left if you're left-handed.


Hope demonstrates how to use a 4" beechwood embroidery hoop.
If you're right-handed, I recommend keeping your screw to your right.
Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
If you're left-handed, I recommend keeping your screw to your left.

Separate the outer hoop from the inner hoop.


The "outer hoop" is the portion of the hoop with hardware at the top; the "inner hoop" is the solid circle.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
Inner hoop on the left; outer hoop on the right.

Place your fabric over the inner hoop.


I like to keep the "weave" of my fabric straight up and down, versus a more diagonal direction, but that's just a personal preference.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
This helps me to be sure I've centered my hoop correctly.

Place your outer hoop on top of your fabric and inner hoop.


If it doesn't fit, you may have to loosen the screw just a bit.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
Loosen your screw so that the outer hoop can expand to fit over the inner hoop.
Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
Place the outer hoop over the inner hoop.

Gently tighten the screw - but don't tighten it all the way just yet.


At this point, the screw should only be tight enough to keep the inner and outer hoops together.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
This gentle tightening will help keep the inner and outer hoops together.

Tighten your fabric all the way around your hoop.


Again, your goal is to get your fabric as tight as possible! Tighter fabric makes stitching much easier.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
Pull your fabric all the way around your hoop.
Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
Pull your fabric all the way around your hoop.

If your hoop's hardware has notches, you can use a screwdriver to get it even tighter.


This isn't always necessary. However, with the beechwood hoops I'm using in this example, I find that it's a super helpful step that allows me to get my hoop as tight as possible.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
I love a hoop with notches on the hardware!
Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
This helps me to get the fabric much tighter!

Tap your fabric to make sure it's as tight as it can get!


It should sound like a drum made out of fabric.


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
If your fabric isn't as tight as a drum, you're not done yet!

Trim the excess fabric.


I like to trim the excess fabric around my hoop, leaving about 1-2" all around. I've found that if I leave the corners un-trimmed, I'm more likely to accidentally stitch the excess fabric to the back of my hoop, which can be super hard to fix!


Make sure you leave enough fabric so that you can still back your hoop once you've finished stitching.


Note: I'm using proper fabric scissors in this example, but you don't need fabric scissors for this step - just use whatever scissors you have available!


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
Make sure to leave about 1-2" of fabric all around your hoop.
Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
This trimming prevents me from stitching the excess fabric to the back of the hoop.

And now you're ready to start stitching!


Hope demonstrates how to use a beechwood embroidery hoop.
This hoop is ready!

Video tutorial: How to use an embroidery hoop



I hope this was helpful! If you're interested in the hoops I used for this post, I have a few 4" beechwood embroidery hoops available in my shop! That said, I also love to use bamboo embroidery hoops (which you can find pretty easily in most craft stores) in my kits.