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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Hooping those pain in the ass bodysuits

Yes, I said it.  Whether embroidery is your hobby or you’re starting a small home-based embroidery business, you’re going to be doing this.  WHY?  Because 1 they make great presents and 2 they’re guaranteed to sell.

So you purchase the bodysuit and please don’t do the Onesies Brand.  This is just my opinion because I know a lot of people still use it.  There are a couple of issues you may run into with the “O” Brand. 

For starters, they run extremely small.  I had actually gotten a few for testers when I first started this embroidery stuff.  Well I couldn’t and still cannot figure out why the 0 – 3 month long sleeves were longer than the 3 – 6 month short sleeves.   Now I have noticed they have made some changes to the packaging since I made that purchase, so maybe changes were also made to the sizing.

Also, if you’ve noticed, they are a very thin knit and while they may be excellent for silk screen, is that what they call it?  You know what I mean, yes while they may be good for prints or any type of artsy stuff, even paint, that is applied on the fabric, they are horrible for anything that involves needle penetration.  That sounds so nasty and I don’t mean for it to.

I actually love the Laughing Giraffe Brand.  And I am not getting a dime to tell you this but I tried them some time last year and I was very pleased.  I have also used on occasion Target’s Circo Brand, Walmart’s Brand (which is actually pretty good), Carters and others.  The thing is, regardless of which brand you get I have found that embroidery comes out best on Interlocking Knits that are no less than 6.4oz/square yard.  I’ve also stitched on 5.3 oz/square yard but prefer the higher count.

I went off topic here, so back to the hooping.  So yes, you purchase the bodysuits and can’t wait to get home to stitch something cutesy on them, maybe a monogram or lord forbid a large applique, then you attempt to hoop it.


After you manage to hoop it, and it attach it to the machine, it’s like you have this cave with a tiny hole staring at you.  YIKES!

You press your start button, you dare not walk away from it.  You stand there carefully pulling the fabric out of the way as it stitches the design.  Just stop it.  I don’t like fighting with cloth.  I know some forums suggest hooping just the stabilizer and floating the bodysuit, maybe stick a pin or 2, or use the adhesive spray, but I don’t really like taking chances like that and I don’t want to risk shifting.  Plus some of those sprays gum up your needle. 

So my solution was simple, clip the seams.  Yes it’s more work, because you have to stitch it back when you’re done but trust me, it’s worth the extra couple minutes.  I was so tired fighting and standing there with my extra long serger tweezers holding that fabric out of harms way.

Excuse the photos, I used my daughter’s camera.  I mentioned recently I only have a long lense for the Nikon.


I normally snip from right under the armhole straight down the side, but trust me, I have ripped that sucker from the end of the sleeve to the leg on occasion, opening up one entire side.  I applique a lot and sometimes a larger hoop is needed on those tiny things for those lengthy word phrases, you know the ones and again, I am over all the fighting.


Clip the 2 lines that look like straight stitch on both sides(not the left and right side but both sides where this stitching is) where my scissors rest, so that when you pull one end of the thread it doesn’t keep pulling past the point you wish to cut.  Take your scissors to the other end by the leg and do the same.  Now you’re actually going to do the 2nd part about an inch from the end because of how they stitch it.  You’ll see what I mean.


See how my scissors are in between?  Do that all the way down that side taking care not to cut the fabric just the thread.  When you’re done, pull from one end the 2 threads from the straight looking double stitches that you cut first and it should come right out.  Then just cut the thread away carefully from the 1” of stitching that remained by the leg.

(Please feel free to do this thread cutting business however you wish.  I just find this way of cutting the threads to be the fastest.  It takes me about 1 .5 minutes or less and that’s because my eyesight is bad)


So you have one side opened up.  Then you hoop it.  I am using the 4 x 4 here on a 3 – 6 month bodysuit.  The design is a small one


All hooped and ready to go


Excuse this.  I am out of black stabilizer lol


See how much leeway you have? 


Look at that. No more fighting.  I can actually sew something else on my sewing machine while my girl is working and not worry about the machine catching a sleeve. 

Okay so you’re done, now it’s time to close it up.  Easy, before I used to use the serger but I got too lazy changing those 4 cones of thread.  (I don’t like threading sergers.)


Threading the machine is way easier than the serger.


So I saw #16 and decided to try it and it came out great.  It will work for what you need it for.  So look on your machine to see if there is a similar stitch. If there isn’t, then use straight stitch, then go it over and use a zigzag on the edge.  It will look almost the same.


Just make sure you start to stitch maybe 1/2” over the remaining stitches that you didn’t rip out and be sure to line it up. 


Okay so we stitch the end


And there you go. 

In case you’re wondering, I usually use Pellon EK-130, the Fusible Tricot, on the back of my embroidery. 


It’s set on the Synthetics heat setting.  I actually give it a quick blast of steam. 


I took someone’s advice and started trimming the corners to see if it will prevent it from curling up and peeling off.  So we’ll see.


All done.  I apologize again for those awful photos.

Hopefully no one can tell that I actually had to rehoop this project.  It looks straight to me.  I do everything by eye, I don’t have the patience to measure and mark and all that mess.  It’s a fault of mine.  After I added the name to the design on my software it exceeded the 4 x 4 space and I didn’t want to use the 5 x 7 hoop.  I needed everything the size I had it, no smaller, so I did Kitty 1st, removed the hoop and moved it a little lower, then stitched the name.  I think it came out great.

That’s it for now! 

Will share some more tips again soon!  I am always learning and by no means consider myself well seasoned.  I just know what works for me and if it will work for you too then all the better.

I think the next post is going to be “Why the cost of embroidered items is what they are today”. We all know that a lot of people don’t know what a simple embroidery project involves, that is why they only want to pay $5.00 for your $25.00 item Winking smile  Night night, y’all!


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