Hoop Malfunction: How Basting Stitches Saved the Day!

It’s happened to all of us. A project pops out of the hoop before embroidery is done. Here is how to fix it on any embroidery machine!

First, calm your panic. Most of the time, you can save the project. That is especially true if basting stitches have been used.

Why Basting Stitches are Important

We have seen how using a basting box in embroidery helps hold layers of fabrics and stabilizers in place. They are also useful when stitching thicker items like towels that require a topper. If you are stitching on mylar, basting stitches hold the film in place.

With multi-hooped quilt blocks, basting boxes help with proper alignment. Applique designs, like all of Bonnie’s buddies, use a type of basting stitch for placement and tackdown of fabric or GlitterFlex.

Most in-the-hoop (ITH) projects use placement-type stitches to baste batting or fabric to hooped stabilizer. That is the kind that was most helpful to me.

Fixing a Hoop Malfunction

There are various reasons for hoops to pop apart mid-project. Whether your design included a basting box or you added one before beginning. They can be a lifesaver.

Picture of machine applique in hoop with a basting box at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

The ITH project I was working on included a placement and tack-down stitch for adding and trimming the batting. It also tacked down the fabric. I used that stitch as registration guide for getting the partial project lined back up in the hoop.

Picture of backside of hooped stabilizer with thumbtack going through basted corner at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Hoop a new stabilizer. Run the tack-down stitch for the batting directly onto the stabilizer. Remove the hoop from your machine and place thumb tacks up through the back at each of the four corners.

Picture of front of hoop showing thumbtack coming through to align fabric basted corner on top of thumbtack at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Lay the hoop, right side up, on a flat surface. Take the partially stitched block, spray the back of it with a temporary adhesive, and place each of the four basting box corners over the corresponding thumb tack.

Important! Make sure to look at your design screen to be sure that you have the block arranged correctly in the hoop. You don’t want it to be upside down!

Picture of front of hoop showing all 4 corners of basting box with thumbstacks popping up through corners at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Carefully remove the thumb tacks, place the hoop back on the machine, and run the stitches you missed.

Disaster averted! The final quilting for this block stitched out perfectly. I hope this helps you some time!

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Debbie Henry - June 02, 2023

    Thank you, Lee!

  • Debbie Henry - June 02, 2023

    You are right, Susan. Built-in seam guides!

  • Debbie Henry - June 02, 2023

    Thanks for reading, Rebecca!

  • Rebecca Sloan - May 30, 2023

    WOW — great information. Thank you!

  • Susan Irene Edwards - May 30, 2023

    wonderful tip!! I love using placement boxes even on quilt block designs without them as it makes it easier to sew them together.

  • Lee Lendzion - May 30, 2023

    Your so right Do Not Panic doing this you might as well throw your project away I have not run a tack down stitch but will do sew now I just usually take my time and re hoop using the score from the hoop and then very carefully start putting an unthreaded needle on the last spot and with time get it but I Love your idea and will try Thanks happy Sewing day 😊

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