1. Print a template(s) of your embroidery design so you can plan the embroidery layout. Place it on the item (garment, home décor, craft or quilt) and critique its placement and size.
2. Build a test stash. Keep a test polo shirt, stretchy t-shirt, terrycloth towel and common items that you embroider on all the time in your test stash. Use this resource when testing a design for a final project. Fill every available inch with test designs then toss it when there’s no more room for additional tests.If you’re stitching on plain fabric, always buy more than you’ll need so you have material to use for a test stitch-out. So many problems can be avoided by stitching a test of the design with the fabric, stabilizer and thread combo that you’ll be using for the final project.
3. Press the fabric - use starch and steam to get the fabric to behave. Press the stabilizer if it’s wrinkled so it will lay flat behind the fabric.
4. Hoop on a flat, sturdy surface, not your lap. Ironing boards work in a pinch but best results are achieved when hooping on a solid surface, such as a cutting table and mat. Use the lines on the mat to square the fabric in the hoop.
5. Select the right hoop for the job. The best hold is achieved with the smallest hoop for the design. For instance, a 4” x 4” hoop is the best choice for a 2 ½” x 3” design.
6. Insert a fresh needle when starting a new embroidery project.
7. Learn how to use simple embroidery editing software. You probably don’t need a full-blown digitizing system but a simple sizing and editing program can do 75% of daily embroidery tasks. Rotating, merging, mirror imaging and sizing designs are the top four chores I do to almost every design I stitch.