Thumbtacks in Machine Embroidery: Four Great Uses


Among machine embroidery notions, a simple thumbtack can rank among the most useful. Who knew that something as tiny and inexpensive as a simple flat-head thumbtack could be so useful in machine embroidery? Here are several ways that I have used thumbtacks with great success.

Centering Designs

When you mark centering crosshairs on your hooped stabilizer, and also mark them or place a template with crosshairs on your project, it’s easy to center embroidery in the hoop.

Place a thumbtack face up from the back of the hooped stabilizer right at the center of the crosshairs.

Place your project over the hoop and press the center of the project’s crosshairs over the thumbtack, pressing it to the hooped stabilizer. Align the vertical and horizontal crosshairs of your project to those on the stabilizer and secure in place with glue stick, magnets, or temporary spray adhesive.

Placement of Fussy Cutting

If you need to fussy cut a specific area of fabric for an applique, make a template of the applique area by printing it out or stitching the applique placement stitch on hooped cutaway stabilizer without any thread.

Cut out the inside of the template so that you have a window for placement. Place the template window over the fabric you want to fussy cut and trace the outline of the applique. Place thumbtacks at each corner of your hooped fabric and stabilizer from the back. You can see a tutorial on how to make templates for fussy cutting here.

Fixing a Hoop Malfunction

When you have a project pop out of the hoop, and it will happen, you can rehoop it with near-perfect accuracy by using thumbtacks. The key is to have stitched a basting box before you started embroidering your project.

By stitching a basting box on newly hooped stabilizer, you can place thumbtacks at each corner and then place the interrupted project over the hoop, lining up basting box corners. See a tutorial on how it’s done here.

Lining Up Multiple Designs

You can also line up multiple designs by using basting boxes and thumbtacks. See a tutorial on how it’s done here.

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Debbie Henry - April 14, 2024

    Thanks for reading, Sharon!

  • Debbie Henry - April 14, 2024

    Thanks for reading, Lisa!

  • Lisa Lorence - April 10, 2024

    Great to know !

  • Sharon Schroeter - April 08, 2024

    These are so amart! Thank you for sharing!

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