Four Ways to Secure Items in the Hoop

Securing Items in the Hoop with

How you secure projects in the hoop depends upon what you are embroidering. Fortunately, we have several options! The best way to secure items that you are embroidering is to hoop them in the traditional fashion. Hooping helps to hold stabilizers and fabrics in place to ensure proper tension and stitch alignment. When hooping isn’t possible, for whatever reason, you can try these techniques.

Basting Stitches

Basting stitches are temporary stitching around the outside of your design area that holds the item you are embroidering in place on the hooped stabilizer. After embroidery, they are snipped and easily removed.

Picture of machine embroidered Halloween cat in hoop.

Spooky Buddies

They are useful not only as a method of securing items in the hoop, like thick towels, but also help with positioning designs and even in re-hooping projects that pop out of the hoop.


Some embroiderers like to pin items to hooped stabilizer. I have never had much luck because I tend to stretch the stabilizer while trying to insert the pins. Curved safety pins, like those used to baste quilt layers together, worked best (so long as I didn’t snap them closed).

Picture of fabric pinned in hoop ready for machine embroidery.

The only pins I use with any regularity are T-pins, which secure hooped fabric to stabilizer to prevent it from slipping in the hoop. You can see how it’s done here.


Picture of Bonnie using glue stick to secure item in hoop for machine embroidery.

One of the most popular ways to keep items from shifting in the hoop, is to use a temporary adhesive. Sprays and glue sticks are common, particularly for stitching applique and in-the-hoop (ITH) designs.

Tape is another useful tool. I started out using painter’s tape but found it was not sticky enough to hold fabric and batting securely. Following the advice of others, I have found that transpore medical tape works even better.


When you don’t want to baste, pin, or tape your item in place, magnets are the perfect solution. I’ve used them when stitching items that were impossible to hoop or pin like stuffed animals.

Picture of magnets holding fabric to stabilizer in hoop ready for machine embroidery.

Magnets are especially useful when stitching on vinyl or making embroidered cards. See how well magnets work here.

Which is your favorite way to hold items in place while embroidering?

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Debbie Henry - October 22, 2023

    Thanks Sandra and Sandra!

  • Debbie Henry - October 22, 2023

    It kind of depends what I’m working on Denise, but I probably use the basting stitch and glue stick most often!

  • Debbie Henry - October 22, 2023

    These magnets are a game changer, Sharon!

  • Sharon Class - October 19, 2023

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be trying magnets the next time I make a card!❤️

  • Denise - October 19, 2023

    I like the second one. Which one do you like?

  • Sandra Hugo - October 19, 2023

    Great tips to remember! Thanks

  • Sandra D Sievers - October 19, 2023

    thank you , very helpful

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