Holding the Tough-to-Embroider Items

finished BagIf you think that you can't embroider items that you can't get into a hoop, or hold with self-adhesive stabilizer, think again.

There's another method that will let you hold big, bulky items under the embroidery needle. I embroidered this tote bag on my single-needle home embroidery machine and it came out great - even with the relatively complex design and lots of outlines.


Here's how I do these kinds of projects, keeping them held under the needle. I don't walk away from the machine using this method, but it is more secure than using self-adhesive tape for heavy or bulky items.

First, hoop a piece of heavy cut-away stabilizer in a hoop size that is generously larger than the embroidery size. You will need room along the sides of the hoop to apply double-faced tape as shown here.

The tape is what's special. You will need to get super-sticky carpet tape, or Google the brands TUCK and BROn.

Cut away the stabilizer just inside the tape as shown here.







Attach the item securely to the tape by finger-pressing it along all edges of the tape. in machine

You may find it easiest to turn the item in a different direction, so be sure to remember to rotate.

Slide a bit of stabilizer beneath the item to support the embroidery area. Then just stick by the machine until it's finishes.

It's a quick and easy solution to those hard-to-hold items!




Comments (7) -

I don't understand why you would cut away the stablizer and then float a piece.  What would be the difference if didn't cut it away.



Could you please explain the workings of the stabilizer trick?  I'm thinking it might make the hooped stabilizer stay in place better by not allowing the needle to pull directly through it, but I'm very new to machine embroidery and like to learn all the great tricks I can Smile



Hi, I too would like to know why it's beneficial to cut out the stabilizer if we float a piece anyway....

Thank you!


It would appear the sticky back stabilizer with the addition of the double face carpet tape is to create an in-the-hoop set-up without using sticky back on the actual project.  Sticky carpet tape can be more aggressive that the stabilizer.

When you use a sticky back stabilizer or spray adhesive, the heat of the needle can cause gumming and thread breakage.

When I use sticky stabilizer, I use Titanium coated embroidery needles.  They do not heat up and there is no gumming and thread breakage.

What a great idea.  I have some bags to do so I will be sure to try it.

I'm confused as to why you cut out the heavy cut-away stabilizer  too.

ChiariSurvivor 8/8/2016 6:41:45 PM

They were hooping heavy cut away stabilizer, not sticky stabilizer as one poster thought- this adds to the stability to prevent any pulling from inside the hoop, then cutting away the stabilizer so that there would be no remaining heavy weight stabilizer showing around the stitches on the inside of the bag. If you had a pocket  you were adding to the inside of the tote, then stabilizer showing may not be a concern for you. You would want the cut out portion to be just slightly bigger than the design size but in a hoop large enough to manage having the double sided carpet tape around the opening as well as the room to manage the rest of the tote bag being worked on. They then floated a piece of stabilizer- likely tear away, as they did not say, but either a tear away or an iron away, as those would be the ideal, as you are just wanting the stitches supported, as the little flamingos may have had stitches smaller than the weave of the canvas cloth, so the light weight floating stabilizer underneath would just be supporting those stitches that did not have the support of the canvas material, so a single lightweight layer, that would be removed once the stitching was complete and would leave no product remaining, that would have been seen on the inside of the tote bag when in use, just makes a more professional looking project. No sticky or spray would be needed that was a concern of another poster. If a material was being used that did have stretch to it, then the sticky stabilizer would likely have been helpful mounted over the the underside of the cut out so the sticky would hold it to the heavy cutaway and also then help hold the material in place over the cut out section, as well as you would also then need  either netting, scrap of recycled grocery bag or another light weight stabilizer to help  keep the stitches from sinking into the nap of the fabric. But again the choice of stabilizer would need to be one that would totally be able to be removed once stitching was complete, without distorting the stitches themselves during the removal of the stabilizer.  Keeping the hooped stabilizer from moving as well as keeping the material in place, is the most important part of how you hoop your items. You want it tight like a drum, so if the heavy weight stabilizer is still moving, what so ever, I would be sure to wrap the sides of the bottom hoop with elastic tape- like hospitals use to wrap around an IV site, the elastic sticky tape sticks to itself, this helps the stabilizer to not be able to slide as easily between the edges of the inner and outer hoops. Along the sides of the hoop is generally where stabilizer is prone to slipping , more so than at their corners. If there were a great deal of stitches in the designs, then having multiple layers of tear away would help to support the stitches in those types cases- If you use multiple layers then be sure to alternate their directions - north /south, east /west, or criss cross as some stabilizers this will help them to remain taunt and tight rather than becoming loose during high stitch count projects. Hope this helps explain why they may have made the choices they did in this project.

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Community Circle Highlights

Community Circle Highlights

There is not enough space to tell you all the wonderful information and special friendships that occurred in Orlando over the weekend of March 27 and 28, 2009.  I would not have the first idea where to begin, but I do want to attempt to give you a few of the best highlights that I got from the best darned Community Circle ever!  Well, from A (aprons) to Z (zippers) we just could not have wished for anything more.

Did I mention that the food and conversation were excellent?

I personally was unable to go to the Apron, etc., presentation, but I do know that they made some really unusual designs, including a ‘slip on’ single piece apron.  That Mary Mulari is one imaginative woman.  You can see her work and designs at:  http://www.marymulari.com.  Mary is doing interesting things, especially with zippers!  You just have to check that one out.

Then there was Rita Ferro.  If she is ever in your neck of the woods, you have to see her.  Not only is she a wonderfully interesting person, but has a sense of humor that will leave you in stitches - - - so to speak.  She wrote the book “Life is not a Dress Size” about 10 years ago.  You can still get that out of print book by looking on sites that have used books for sale.  Rita can help you to see the dream bed that will make you feel like royalty in a fantasy, wrapped up in softness and delight.  You can currently catch her on Facebook.

The next demonstration was from James Raymer of Dalco Home Sew.  Despite his ‘corny’ jokes, he managed to dazzle the crowd with some very pretty appliqué designs. Those have a total of 15 sewouts for some really nice embroidery with appliqué projects.  When he had the group test the heat applied crystals, they were standing 3 deep in line to play with the fun bling!  I even got into it and you will be seeing some great projects from me in the future!

June Mellinger gave a terrific demonstration of the newest Brother machines which caused more than one of us to faint!  Those machines do everything except diaper the baby, and frankly, they are probably working on that too!

We even had Rick Macali show us the Whys and Wherefores of Design Creations.  He really helped us to understand why digitizing is done as it is.  That makes us much so much better at doing our craft and he was so informative.

My presentation included some very helpful computer features and software that are free for anyone.  I also talked about motivation in business as well in completing our embroidery projects.  People shared their motivational tips as well.

One of my free and very useful programs is called “Snipping Tool.”  When you are on the Internet, you can select a portion of the information that you see on the screen and save it as a ‘jpg’ file.

You can save your ‘capture’ (snippet) in free form or rectangle:

Or you can capture the Full Screen:

As promised, here is the XP version of the “Snipping Tool” download.  This is the one to download if you are using the Windows XP operating system.  If you are using Windows Vista, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Start Button in the lower left hand corner and then Select Help and Support. 
  2. In the Search box, type Snip and press Enter. 
  3. Download the small program.

There really was a lot more, these were just a few of the things that made the Community Circle 2009 the best of the best!

May I suggest that you consider starting a “Christmas Club” just for yourself for next year’s Community Circle?  Just saving a few dollars a week can add up quickly and you will be delighted that you attend.  I know I am!

Comments (17) -


I guess I won't have to write about the Community Circle.  You said it ALL.  Thanks for getting me off the hook.  ;o)


LaRue-I so enjoyed meeting you and Ralph!  I can see friendships that will stand the test of time from this gathering.

Thanks for being there, and see you next year, if not sooner!


nmoore1965@msn.com 4/4/2009 8:26:21 AM

What fun it was to be at the CC and meet so many wonderful people. Thanks to Pat, LaRue, Rita, June, Cheryl and all the others that provided great information and inspiration. It is definately a "must do" for anyone who loves ME- whether a long timer or newbie!

Nancy in IN

thank you for the SNIPPY link.

I downloaded the snip tool and when I click on the icon and then try to select what I want to snip I get a black screen and what I snip is only black...

Forget it... It now works it is a great idea for cutting and pasting.

The snip tool is so helpful when you need to just get a little piece of information from any site.  I love sharing my information both in ME and computers!


So sorry to hear about the loss of your husband.  May God comfort you at this time.

Pat L


I'm glad all of you had a great time at CC. Honestly, I'm jealous! Oh well, maybe next year.

Thanks for the Snipet tool! This is GREAT! It will come in very handy at work when I have to write out instructions on how to do something on the computer that involves icons!!!

Thanks also for the Mary Mulari link. It looks like she has some interesting things.


This was my first and not my last Community Circle.  The many ideas taught by such talented artists, the camraderie and new friendships, and dining together with our newly-found friends was delightful.  All who were involved with this event worked so hard, especially those volunteers.  I truly appreciated Ann's appearance at such a trying time in her life.  I am so anxious to try out so many new ideas.  See you next year!  ....Hollye S.

lindaconklin 4/5/2009 8:31:48 AM

Gosh, I wish I could have been at the Community Circle. Maybe next year . . .  "Snippy" is really great. I have one problem that the "Shift+Drag" selects are reversed: the rectangular one does free-form select and vice-versa. I guess I just need to remember that they are backwards! . . . Linda C in MI

lindaconklin-I did not notice anything being backward, but you may have XP and I use Vista.  That is interesting, but as long as it works, it is a great tool to have available.

I hope people understand my enthusiasm about the Community Circle.  When we meet with people who have the same interests as we do, it is a lot of fun and excitement.  

Make new friends and keep the old . . .


Dear Ann:

Sorry to hear about your husband.  I know what you are going through as I have been there too.  Just remember that the good Lord does not give a cross that is too heavy to bear and He will help you through this, if you just ask.  Trust Him.  I know that the days and weeks ahead will be difficult but know that our prayers are with you.  God Bless.


Thank you for all your comments to Ann.  While she did attend a luncheon and dinner, I know her heart was elsewhere.

Ann is a courageous woman and appreciates all your thoughts and prayers.


flamiemimi 4/6/2009 6:32:47 PM

Dear Ann,

So sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved husband Bill.   I remember him from way back.  He was always a very sweet and kind man.  I know it is a tough time for you, but just wanted to send my condolensces and to let you know you and your family are in my prayers.  I was shocked to hear about this news, as I was unable to attend this year's Community Circle as I had other committments, but will try for next year's event.   In the meantime, hang in there and take good care of yourself during these difficult times.

Maeme - Daytona Beach, FL


Really was good to finally meet you.  I just got my computer back tonight so now I can get going on my embroidery.  Thanks for all the great information you gave and I look forward to much more.  Great blog by the way.  It was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones.

Linda J

Linda, it was my pleasure to meet so many enthusiastic and wonderful new friends.  

Perhaps my blog does not convey the friendship aspect enough.  These were not just people who were in the same place at the same time, they were kindred spirits and enjoying other like minded people.

The crowd was great!!


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