Many years ago, when I was just starting with embroidery I read some information about embroidery and running a successful business, and the thing I remember most was this:
“YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR HOOPING SKILLS”
That made a lot of sense to me at the time, but I didn’t realize the vast importance of this statement. For example, you can have a beautiful design that looks amazing on the computer, and when you stitch it out, it looks terrible. Why? It all comes down to your hooping skills! Hooping skills do not mean just hooping things straight or hooping difficult items, hooping skills also means knowing the proper stabilization for your items that you are embroidering. Hooping skills makes the difference between OK embroidery and WOW embroidery. Which brings us to the topic of today’s blog: FLOATING STABILIZER.
The message I would like to get across is “floating is for boats, not for stabilizer”. This is what I hear often in many, many groups “ I hooped 1 layer of cutaway and floated tearaway, and it still looks awful”. Yes, yes it will because that piece of tearaway is doing zero good. ZERO. Other than making your embroidery thicker, and possibly pulling down the stitches on the top to compensate for the thickness, floating is not doing any good.
Let’s look at this logically. What is stabilizer? Why do we even use stabilizer? Stablizer is a type of material that makes the pretty material more stable for you to embroider on. That is the key there, STABLE – meaning strong and sturdy. If you are floating something and not hooping it, how is it helping to make your fabric more stable? That floated piece is not holding your fabric still – it’s floating around under your hoop…floating free, like the wind, not providing stability to anything! If you hoop two layers of tearaway or hoop 1 layer of tearaway and float a second, which one do you think will be better? Guaranteed it is the 2 hooped layers because they are helping to make the embroidery more stable and strong, which translates into clear and perfectly placed embroidery.
Some designs that you may have will have a small black outline to them. And most of the time when you stitch this out, that small black outline will be out of registration. Why? Because the material wasn’t stable enough for the embroidery, that’s why! When things go out of registration it is because the fabric has MOVED because it isn’t stable enough. Having the material move 2mm to the left is going to be an issue for that small black line! And, if that line is out of registration, it will make your whole embroidery design look awful. The solution is not to blame the digitizer as most do, the solution is to provide more stability to your fabric in the hoop!
One of the things I spend my “free” time doing is teaching people the proper way of embroidery so that especially on your own designs, you get amazing results. People float all of the time, and some digitizers are putting floating in their instructions…and you are setting your customers up for a fail, and they will complain, and you are not doing your digitizing any justice by instructing people to float stabilizer to try and make your work look better. For best results, HOOP IT.
You can take your cues from things that are right in front of you. For example, Hatch and other embroidery software has this cool feature where you can pick a fabric type (cotton, leather, polyester) and Hatch will actually tell you what that fabric requires for stabilizers!! It is all right in front of you!! And please take note, not one of the stabilizer recommendations say to float anything – not a single one.
Ahhhh, the answer is right there!!
So what does that tell you? That tells you that the professional embroiderers that have been the top of the embroidery business for 30 years are not recommending floating any stabilizer!!! Why would you not follow their recommendations? (I mean that jokingly, of course, don’t take me too seriously here, but it is a good question!!) Wilcom knows their stuff, they have been doing it, and doing it well for 30 years, and they are the top of the “embroidery food chain” for a reason. So listen to them, and stop floating anything. You can float a boat, or a duck can float, but please don’t float your stabilizer!!
Hooping skills include being able to hoop properly, with the right tension, having the hoop tight enough, placement of the hoop so that the embroidery is straight AND USING THE RIGHT STABILIZER. And all of these things make a big difference to your embroidery.
Let’s say it one more time together “YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR HOOPING SKILLS “…. And say that to yourself each and every time you embroider a design – are my hooping skills correct? Do I need to do some research on what kind of stabilizer is correct? And when you have a design that has stitched and doesn’t look quite right, it may be the digitizer, but more often than not, it’s user error for lack of the correct stabilizer.
Let’s do this right – do not float stabilizer and let’s have some awesome embroidery stitching out!
Hooping skills: your embroidery will thank you!
aka The Economical Embroiderer
Want to learn more? check out my YouTube channel OMLEmbroidery. Everything I do is free. Yep, FREE. 100 + videos and counting. Learn and have fun.