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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tap your fabric to make sure it's as tight as it can get!
It should sound like a drum made out of fabric.
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!
And now you're ready to start stitching!
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.