Is embroidery puckering a problem? These tips will help eliminate puckered projects!
Use the Smallest Hoop Possible
A good rule of thumb is to use the smallest hoop for the design size. That will keep fabric and stabilizer tensions within optimum ranges.
Don’t Pull Hooped Fabric/Stabilizer
Tap hooped fabric/stabilizer to make sure that it is nice and taut in the hoop. If it is loose, rehoop. Don’t pull on the fabric or stabilizer to snug it in the hoop.
Preshrink Fabric and Stabilizer
If you are using a polymesh stabilizer, preshrink it. Otherwise, you can lose from 1/8” to 1/4" in shrinkage. Before hooping, iron stabilizers with the same heat setting that you are going to use on your fabric.
Match Designs to Your Fabric
Mind Your Stitch Count
With regular cotton fabric, waves or puckers mean that the stabilizer used was not adequate for the stitch count of the embroidery design. One layer of medium-weight tearaway stabilizer are usually adequate for Bonnie’s designs but there are instances where you need a couple of layers.
When you're getting up in the 20,000-stitch range, you might want to use a couple of layers of a medium tearaway stabilizer. The higher stitch count needs more support.
Correct Stretching on the Bias
Woven stabilizers like polymesh allow a little bit of stretch. Fabric stretches on the bias and controlling that prevents puckering.
Stitching causes pushing and pulling on the bias as well as the straightaway. Layering stabilizers at a 45-degree angle gives a straight-of-grain line going right through the bias and maximum control against stretching and distortion of the embroidery.
Use the Correct Stabilizer
Stabilizer needs change according to the design you are stitching, the type of fabric you are using, and the project technique. Always use a cut away type stabilizer with knit fabrics.
Higher stitch counts need heavier stabilization and a more stable fabric to begin with. For example, putting a high stitch count design on chiffon will not give satisfactory results even if stabilized enough to prevent puckers as it will change the drape of the fabric. See a chart of proper stabilizer weights for stitch counts here.
Always Do a Test Stitch