Fixing Block Bubbles

When you’re making blocks in the hoop, whether for a wall hanging, a quilt, or really any composite project, the regular order of operations is: stitch a placement line, place then trim batting, place background fabric, then stitch out the design.

I’m not too worried about this bubble, since the project is for my own home and won’t be terribly noticable when it’s in place at the top of a tall wall.

Sometimes the batting has enough “grab” to hold the background fabric, sometimes not; the photo above is what can happen.

To fix that, you have a couple of options: the first is tape. There are several embroidery-specific tapes, like OESD’s Expert Embroidery Tearaway Tape or Floriani’s Pick Perfection Tape. And some like to use paper medical tape or low-tack painter’s tape. I like OESD’s when I use a tape in embroidery, either their tear away or their wash away. Depending on the weight of the fabric and the density of the stitches, you may need a little or a lot of tape.

For keeping background fabric in place on embroidered blocks though, I prefer a second option: adhesive spray. It can be a bit messy, but I’ve done it enough that I can get sufficient adhesive on the back of the fabric without too much over-spray. I like it because it’s quick, I don’t have to worry about placement – not getting it under any stitching – and I don’t have to remove anything afterwards.

This happens to be my favorite brand, but there are many options out there; try your local quilt shop if your embroidery store doesn’t carry any.

In case you forgot to use either of the above options, here’s what you can do (if you catch it before your main design stitches out, that is.)

Forgot to put the sticky stuff, so the fabric bunched up

Flip the hoop over. I learned early on from a dealer that embroidery stitches are easier to remove by cutting the bobbin thread first. Clip the bobbin thread in several places, with either tiny scissors or a seam ripper. Be careful not to puncture the stabilizer.

You probably only need to clip the outer line of stitching that’s holding the background fabric. Depending on your design, it may be different.
Tweezers can help with the little bits of thread left.

Flip the hoop back to right side up. If you clipped enough bobbin stitches, the placement/ tack down thread should pull right up. Realign your background fabric, adhere with your preferred method, and go back to work.

See you here next time!

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