What is a magnetic hoop for an embroidery machine?

By on January 21st, 2021
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Have you heard about magnetic hoops for embroidery machine but don’t really understand how they work or if they would help with your embroidery? I get it. Until recently, I had no idea what they were either. But now I’ve seen how a magnetic hoop can be a real game changer for a machine embroidery enthusiast.

In doing my research, one thing I’ve come to realized is that magnetic embroidery hoops are polarizing! Some people love them and some people feel like they are a complete waste of money.

So which is it? Will magnetic embroidery hoops help you with your embroidery process? Or are they a gimmick you should avoid?

What is a magnetic embroidery hoop?

A magnetic hoop is sort of like a regular embroidery hoop. As you are probably well aware, a regular embroidery hoop fits together with the  top piece of the hoop going inside of the bottom piece with the fabric and stabilizer secured in between.  This works great if the material is not too thick and the area you are trying to embroider is easily accessible.

A magnetic embroidery hoop is like a regular embroidery hoop in that the stabilizer and the item you are embroidering lay over the bottom hoop piece. However, it differs from a regular embroidery hoop in that the top piece of the hoop does NOT go inside of the bottom piece. It simply lays on top and magnets hold it together, sandwiching the stabilizer and item together between the magnetic pieces.

Not all magnetic hoops are the same.  Some magnetic hoops have a full frame as the top piece of the hoop while others don’t have a top frame, just individual magnets.

a magnetic hoop in use
A magnetic hoop used in the making of an in-the-hoop project. In this example, the stabilizer is secured with magnets and the vinyl is floated on top. Photo provided by Shaye Cooper and used with her permission. 

How to use a magnetic hoop?

Not everyone uses their magnetic hoops in the same way.  Some people just use the hoop to secure their stabilizer and then float the material to be embroidered on top.  Other people sandwich their stabilizer and projected together in the magnetic frame. It really comes down to personal preference.

Why use a magnetic hoop?

There are several advantages to using a magnetic hoop.

It’s a quicker and easier hooping process.

I feel like it takes me forever to line everything up and then when I finally push the pieces of the embroidery hoop together, my alignment gets all messed up.

It requires less strength.

Sometimes pushing the pieces of an embroidery hoop together requires a bit of an effort. It’s easy to overdo it which can cause your embroidery hoop to break.

You can hoop very bulky items.

Have you every tried to hoop anything bulky? It’s not easy.  A regular embroidery hoop will simply not snap together.  But, the magnets in a magnetic hoop are strong enough to hold an item in place, even through layers of fabric and stabilizer.  Quilters tend to like magnetic embroidery hoops for this reason: they will secure quilts for embroidery even with their thick layers of batting.

You can avoid adhesives.

I am a huge fan of sticky back tearaway stabilizer, however it is a bit more expensive than regular tearaway. And I always try to avoid spray adhesives because they make a mess.  If you can use your magnetic hoop to hold everything together, you don’t need to use anything sticky at all to hold your embroidery project in place.

You avoid hoop burn.

Hoop burn is when the outline of the hoop makes a permanent impression in the item your are embroidering.  It results from forcing the fabric to bend in order to fit between the two hoops when you use a regular embroidery hoop.

You can embroider all the way to the end of the fabric.

Just secure just two or more sides of your project in the hoop and leave a raw edge exposed. Assuming your design is lined up properly, you can embroider all the way to the edge.

Essential Supplies for Machine Embroidery

Do magnetic hoops work on any embroidery machine?

Some people mistakenly believe that magnetic embroidery hoops are only for multi-needle machines.  This is not the case. You can actually find a magnetic hoop for just about any embroidery machine. For example, if you visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery store, you can visit a page that allows you to select your machine model, and it will direct you to the appropriate magnetic hoop for your machine.

Any retailer that sells magnetic hoops will list the embroidery machines with which they are compatible.

What are the different types?

There are a few different brands of magnetic hoops that you can buy. Some of the most common include:

  • The Snap Hoop Monster hoops from DIME have a reputation for being super strong and durable. In fact, they are so strong that some users have a hard time pulling them apart. They are comprised of two magnetic rectangles that are fully magnetized all the way around the border to ensure a secure hold.
  • Mighty Hoops are another brand worth checking out. They have the reputation for being REALLY strong. They advertise that they will hold most anything, from thick quilts to Carhartt jackets.
  • Embroidex Magnetic Hoops are much less expensive than the other two brands, however aren’t quite as secure. Instead of having a top frame, they have a serious of magnets that you use to secure the fabric and stabilizer to the bottom frame.

Always remember to check the compatibility of the hoop with your embroidery machine!!

Tips for working with a magnetic hoop

  • Double sided tape can help secure your project. Simply put a row of double sided scrap booking tape along the edge of the bottom hoop. That way, when you lay down the stabilizer, it stays put.  All you have to worry about is the fabric you are hooping.
  • Invest in extra magnets.  If you purchase the Embroidex style hoop, extra magnets can really help you hold your item in place.
  • Make sure your bottom hoop is the right way round. If you are using a magnetic hoop with a separate frame piece on the top, make sure you have the orientation correct. The magnets work better if the top frame is oriented one way vs. the other.
  • Watch your fingers! Getting your fingers pinched between the magnets can be very painful.

Alternatives to a magnetic hoop

Intrigued by the idea of a magnetic embroidery hoop but don’t want to shell out the dough to get one? Check out this clever hack. Simply tape magnets around the inside rim of the outer part of your embroidery hoop. Then lay down your fabric and stabilizer over the hoop bottom. Attach the magnets on the front side of the fabric to hold it into place.  Genius!

This hack will work with either the SewTites magnets made specifically for sewing and embroidery. Or, you can go the REALLY cheap rout and buy name tag magnets which are a fraction of the cost. They aren’t as pretty but work just as well for a lot less.

DIY magnetic embroidery hoop
Tape magnets around the inside edge of your embroidery hoop. Photo provided by Charlene Weston and used with her permission.
DIY magnetic embroidery hoop
Place the other side of the magnet on top of the fabric and stabilizer to hold your project in place. Photo provided by Charlene Weston and used with her permission.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to order some magnets for my embroidery hoop. Any hack that makes my embroidery quicker and easier is worth a try!  Especially if a $8 set of magnets work as well as a $200 magnetic hoop.

Good luck!

xo

Julie

Essential Stabilizer for Machine Embroidery

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2 thoughts on “What is a magnetic hoop for an embroidery machine?

  1. Curious as to how using magnets attached to your regular hoops turned out. Were you satisfied with this arrangement or did it push you toward purchasing one of the magnetic hoops?
    Thanks for all the good info.

    1. I actually don’t use magnets. Just sharing what I have learned from other people.

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