HOOP BURN….ewwwww

Hoop Burn (ewww)

Have you ever embroidered a beautiful design that stitched out perfectly and looks great – and then you unhoop it and see LINES where your hoop was? Ewwww, that’s hoop burn. Instead of doing the whole design again and making the hoop screws a bit on the loose side, you can hoop properly AND fix the hoop burn once and for all. And just for future reference, you need to hoop most fabric tightly in the hoop, or your embroidery will suffer – you might get shifting, puckering or other unsightly mistakes if you have not hooped properly. As I said in my last blog “your embroidery is only as good as your hooping skills” and that applies here too.

So how do you hoop without hoop burn? If you hoop properly you will probably get hoop burn on some fabrics. Stop trying to avoid hoop burn (and get bad embroidery) and accept the hoop burn, but fix it afterward!

What exactly is Hoop Burn? it is a nasty looking “ring” around your embroidery (no, nothing like ring around the collar, don’t worry) that makes embroidery look terrible. Here is a perfect example on some robes that I was stitching for a client. The material is a waffle knit light cotton fabric, and I hooped it properly in a 4×4 hoop (oh, Ii know it is a bit small for the hoop, but it was bigger than my smallest hoop, so I had to compromise there) With this kind of fabric, it is a bit stretchy, so you have to be careful hooping. I left a few extra marks on the fabric because I re-hooped more than once to get the position correct. (please note, it is better to re-hoop and start again rather than pulling the fabric in the hoop trying to fine tune your hooping. Please don’t pull on the fabric! if the fabric is even slightly stretchy, you will have ruined your embroidery by stretching the fabric before embroidering on the fabric – if you stretch it out in the hoop, embroider and then unhoop, the embroidery will be on stretched fabric and will not look nice – enter warped embroidery, puckering and a whole bunch of other issues).

how to fix hoop burnhow to fix hoop burn

Doesn’t that look terrible?? Yes. Yes, it does. And you certainly can’t give this back to a customer or give this to anyone, it looks terrible.

So stage 1, Hoop properly accept the hoop burn.
Stage 2, fix the hoop burn.

You may be very surprised to learn how to fix hoop burn. It is actually quick and easy, and it is used by professional embroidery studios worldwide. Ready for the answer?
That’s it. Instead of blowing off steam because you are frustrated, boil some water and have a cup of tea!

Let’s look at what is happening when you are hooping. You are taking the item (fabric) plus backing and compressing it into a hoop to hold it tight – and then making it tighter. What do you think happens to the fabric when you compress it tightly between two plastic pieces? It “burns” and leaves a mark. Of course, it is not actually burning, but it is compressing and dehydrating so to speak. It is similar to wrinkled clothes – you pop them into the dryer for a few minutes and the wrinkles are gone! In professional embroidery studios, they have a steamer machine – just a large machine that produces steam – the same ones that you use for wrinkled clothes. You can get the bigger version of this, or you can get a travel version. If you don’t want to spend any money, then have a cup of tea! Ok, well the tea part doesn’t matter, but the boiling water does! Pop on a kettle or even a pot of water and wait for it to boil. Once you have a good amount of steam carefully hold your item over the steam and your hoop marks will disappear! Remember, I said carefully – you don’t want to burn yourself or ruin your garment – you don’t need to saturate the fabric, just steam it a little bit. I suggest passing the fabric over the steam once and checking your results- that way you are sure you are not over steaming. If the hoop mark is still there, then pass over the steam once more, and so on, letting the fabric cool before the next steaming.
The results are amazing – no more hoop burn and your garment or fabric is as good as new!

fixing hoop burn

See the difference? The embroidery looks perfect, and you can’t tell where the hoop was at all!

FIX THE BURN WITH STEAM (and have a cup of tea for a job well done, too!)
And you will have beautiful embroidery on just about any fabric!

Until next time, Happy Digitizing and please hoop properly!

Sue B

PS.  Want to know more?  subscribe to my youtube channel and learn all you can about embroidery!

2 responses to “HOOP BURN….ewwwww”

  1. Carol Finck Avatar
    Carol Finck

    Thank you Sue. This will go in my tips folder..:-)

  2. Vanessa Page Avatar

    I remember way back when the embroidery machines first came out and people would use a screw driver on the hoop to make sure everything was tight then wondered why the hoop had split. Hoop Burn was seen all the time.

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