My method for aligning multi-hoop designs works best with a light box or light box set up.
This is the method I use to create large designs like the ones you might create using one of embroidery design collections: Hardangish Rainbows, Cutwork, Pillowcases, Prisms Amour, Fantasy Applique, Monogram Potpourri and more.
For a ‘Master Template’, print a paper template of the entire design. If you have a computer program that will allow you to put the entire design together onscreen, do that. Then print it actual size. This master template is 6.5 x 11 inches.
My embroidery software program allows me to do this. When I print the whole design actual size, it prints on several sheets of paper. It creates registration marks on each page for aligning the individual pages. I tape them together trimming the excess margins as needed using a rotary cutter and mat.
Alternatively, print the “individual” designs. Cut them out and tape them together creating the whole design for a ‘Master Template’.
Fold the master template in quarters to create the x/y coordinates for the whole design. This is needed to align it with the fabric.
The x/y coordinates are shown here in black on the master template.
You will also need templates of the individual designs.
Print paper templates of each individual design and cut these out.
Be sure the x and y coordinates are drawn on each one.
Shown here this design is divided into 6 parts. Each part will be hooped into a 4×4 hoop and sewn to create the whole design.
Prepare you fabric as you normally would for embroidery.
Fold the fabric in quarters to create the x/y coordinates and mark with a washable marking pen (shown here in blue).
Using a light box or light box set up, place the ‘Master Template’ on the glass with the light turned on.
Tape it onto the glass.
Place the fabric on top aligning the blue x/y coordinates on the fabric with the black x/y coordinates of the Master Template.
Using the individual paper templates, place the first one on top of the fabric.
You should be able to see the master template design through the fabric using the light box. Align the design of the individual template with the design on the master template.
Hint: For darker fabrics cut off the overhead light to see through the fabric. This is how I did the Fantasy Applique blocks, borders, and corners.
Tape or pin the template in place. Pin thru the fabric and individual template only.
Once the first template is in place, repeat this process for the second one. I usually put 2 templates on at a time before starting to sew.
Hoop the fabric/stabilizer as you normally would using the x/y coordinates on the individual paper template to align it with the 4×4 hoop and hoop template.
NOTE: The x/y lines on the master template and the fabric are only for placing those 2 together. It does not apply to the individual templates.
I prefer to hoop only the stabilizer.
Using a ruler mark the x/y coordinates with a washable marking pen shown here in blue. I used the quarter marks on the hoop for alignment.
Spray the stabilizer with spray adhesive.
Place the hoop on the light box.
Lay the fabric over the hoop aligning the x/y coordinates on the stabilizer with the x/y coordinates on the individual paper template.
Once aligned, press the fabric onto the spray adhesive. Pin around the edge of the hoop with straight pens. I prefer my pins be a little bent for this.
Be sure to pin close to the outside edge of the hoop so the machine will not hit any pins when sewing.
Bring up the design on you machine. Rotate, mirror, whatever needs to be done, before placing the hoop on the machine.
Once the hoop is on the machine align the needle at the center x/y intersection printed on the individual template.
Once you have done this, write down your machine settings (rotation, mirror, left/right/up/down, etc).
Remove the pins from the template.
Remove the template.
Sew the design.
Repeat the above process for the next design.
This shows the second template hooped and aligned at the machine, ready to remove the paper template and sew.
Once you have sewn the first series of designs, return to the Master Template.
Place the fabric on top and realign the blue x/y coordinates of the fabric with the black x/y coordinates of the Master Template.
It is ready to repeat lining up the next 2 individual templates and sew some more.
Shown here the next 2 designs are aligned and ready to be hooped.
This shows all 6 templates sewn.
This method works well for me for any size design including very large designs like the Together quilt. This design is 19”x 32”. I hooped it 27 times.
I use this same method for embroidering multiple designs on garments as well. I hope this method works good for you too.
Shown here sewn on an 18” pillow.
This pillow was made for my friend Cyndi
She was my Secret Pal 2002.
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