January 13, 2012
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Have you ever wondered whether it matters if you first trim the top or the bottom of your machine embroidery work?
It’s best to trim the top first, so that when you trim the back, you can gently pull on the bobbin tails to secure the trimmed thread end inside the fabric for a neater appearance. Incidentally, this is one of the advantages of automatic trimmers on multi-needle machines. The trimming is actually done by blades that are beneath the needle plate, accomplishing the trimming from below. The mechanism that you see on top isn't cutting, rather it is pulling the trimmed thread into a holder.
If you used topping, resist the temptation to rip away the topping material as soon as you remove the hoop from the machine. The topping is still doing its job. When you are trimming jump stitches, the topping acts as a buffer to protect delicate fabrics from being nicked by your trimming scissors.
Trimming the Back
Long jump stitches over 1/2" between letters and design elements should be trimmed to prevent them becoming snagged.
It also prevents the wearer from wondering if they should trim these stitches or worrying about snagging them.
The stabilizer should be trimmed about 1/8 to 1/4" away from the embroidery. Leaving more can create an outline of backing that is visible through the fabric. Leaving less can cause the embroidery to have a sunken apperarance.
To avoid nicking the fabric while removing cutaway stabilizer, keep the fabric visible at all times during backing removal. Some people accomplish this by holding the item by the stabilizer, allowing the item to "hang" during trimming. I also suggest using short blade (5 inch) embroidery sicssors rather than larger shears.
If the item will be worn by an infant or child, contains metallic thread or has threads that aren't completely secured, seal the embroidery on the back with a soft, permanent fusible covering like TenderTouch by Sulky.