Fast frames for your embroidery machine

By on March 19th, 2021
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What are Fast Frames?
free machine embroidery designs
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Do you struggle to hoop certain garments? Does it take forever to get a project secure and straight on your machine?  Well maybe it’s time for you to check out Fast Frames. Fast Frames are a hooping system that you literally don’t have to hoop. They come in several different sizes and work with many different types of embroidery machines. Many people who use them LOVE them and some actually abandon their regular embroidery hoops altogether.

How do Fast Frames work?

The easiest way to explain how Fast Frames work is to show how they differ from regular embroidery machine hoops.

Traditional embroidery hooping

When you hoop a project with a typical embroidery hoop, you must remove the embroidery hoop from the machine. Then you need to take the hoop apart. An embroidery hoop is comprised of two pieces, an inner ring and an outer ring. To secure a project in the hoop, you must lay the stabilizer and the garment over the outer hoop. Then you press the inner hoop into the outer hoop, sandwiching the garment and the stabilizer inside.

How do you use Fast Frame embroidery hoops?

The process is quite different when you are working with Fast Frames.

First of all, you don’t need to remove the Fast Frame from the embroidery machine between projects assuming that you want to stick with the same size frame you used on the previous one.  You simply need to stick a piece of adhesive-backed stabilizer onto the underside of the hoop.  The sticky surface is exposed through the window of the Fast Frame. Then you stick your garment on top.

While it isn’t necessary, some people prefer to clip their item onto the Fast Frame. Clips provide an extra bit of security that your project will not move around while the machine is stitching.

When you are done embroidering, removing the project is easy.  All you have to do is tear the item from the stabilizer.  This will leave a hole in the remaining stabilizer that is still stuck to the frame. Before you start your next project,  you just slap a patch of adhesive backed stabilizer (with the paper already peeled off) over the hole from the backside.  Therefore, from the topside, you will once again have a complete sticky surface within the borders of the frame. Using this method allows you to save quite a bit on stabilizer as well!

Frequently asked questions

What type of embroidery machines do Fast Frames work with?

Fast Frames work primarily with multi-needle embroidery machines. (You can see a list of the complete list of compatible embroidery machines on the Fast Frames website.)  The reason why Fast Frames are only used with multi-needle machines is because you must be able to access the under side of the frame. Single needle home embroidery machines rest on an arm which prevents you from easily accessing the underside of the frame.

Using Fast Frames with a multi-needle machine
Photo provided by Kara Getman of Embroider It Plus and used with her permission.

What type of stabilizer should you use with Fast Frames?

Fast Frames are intended to be used with sticky back tearaway stabilizer. They stabilizer sticks to the underside of the hoop and your project sticks to the stabilizer exposed in the frame.
However, if you don’t like (or have) this type of stabilizer, you can also get away with using standard tearaway. You just wrap your stabilizer around the frame, and clip it in place.  Then, you can float your project on top, securing it with additional clips or sticking it on the stabilizer using temporary adhesive spray.

Are Fast Frames magnetic?

Fast Frames are not magnetic.  If you use strong enough adhesive-backed stabilizer, magnets are not needed. Learn more about magnetic embroidery hoops.

How do you attach a Fast Frame?

The top of the frame connects to the back of the machine.  The little black knob on the back is what is holds the outer part of the frame onto the machine. Then you simply slide the hoop into place to get your project on the machine.  You can use many different sized hoops that slide right in, but the outer piece stays on the machine while you are using your Fast Frames.

how fast frames attach to the embroidery machine
Photo provided by Kara Getman of Embroider It Plus and used with her permission.

How do you clean Fast Frames?

Fast Frames, like all types of embroidery frames can get pretty gunky. Fortunately there are a number of products and processes that can get your Fast Frames looking as good as new.  Some of these effective cleaners include LA Awesome, Goo Gone and just soaking them in Dawn liquid soap.

Are Fast Frames the same as EZ Frames?

No, they are a different brand but the work very similarly.

What are the benefits?

Well, first of all – they are FAST! Not having to unhoop and rehoop every project is a huge time saver (hence the name: “Fast Frames”).

Another benefit is the ease in which you can align designs onto garments. I personally think that it’s quite difficult to push the two pieces of an embroidery hoop together while keeping the item straight.  Not having to worry about securing an item in the hoop allows you to focus completely on alignment.  Using Fast Frames makes it easy to center items using the folding method.

Fast Frames are also more durable than typical embroidery hoops that come with your machine. And, the mechanics of them make them less breakable.  It is quite common when hooping to use so much force to push the two hoop pieces together that you end up snapping the hoop in half.

Finally, Fast Frames allow you to avoid hoop burn. The pinching of fabric between the inner and outer hoop of a traditional embroidery hoop can leave a mark on your fabric that can be a bit of a pain to get rid of.  But when you use Fast Frames and lay the fabric on top of the frame, you won’t have this problem.

What are the downsides?

Despite all of the awesome benefits of these unique frames, there are a couple of downsides. One common complaint is the width of the frame itself. In order to be able to adhere the stabilizer on the backside of the frame, the frame width needs to be more substantial than a typical embroidery hoop. But, the extra width of the frame cuts down the maximum embroidery area.

Also, when you are constantly sticking stabilizer to the back of your frame, it can get a little sticky. And the sticky residue will attract all sorts of fuzz and strings. So, your Fast Frames can get pretty gross pretty quickly. In addition, that nastiness can transfer to your fingers and is generally unpleasant to work with. One way to protect your Fast Frames is to cover the underside of the frame with blue painters tape to protect it from the sticky.

Let’s face it.  They are not the most secure hold in the entire world.  But in most instances, they work well enough.

Where can you buy Fast Frames?

While you can always go to the Fast Frames website to buy your Fast Frames, you can also get them from other retailers like Amazon. Just be sure that you purchase the correct frame for your embroidery machine.

Can you buy Fast Frames individually or do you have to buy an entire set?

Yes.  You can buy them individually. But, you can also purchase the whole kit that has various hoop sizes in it.

Sometimes, if you purchase a used embroidery machine, a set of Fast Frames might come with it.  I have seen this offered as a selling point frequently from people trying to sell their embroidery machine.

an assortment of fast frames
An assortment of different sized and shaped Fast Frames. Photo provided by Cindy Green of Embroider It by Design and used with her permission.

So, ready to speed up your embroidery hooping?

If you decide to invest in some Fast Frames, be sure to buy the right type for your embroidery machine. You might also consider buying a used set. If you clean them up – they are as good as new!

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What are Fast Frames?

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