Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (62) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Embroidery Hoop Talk: Binding Both Rings


Amazon Books

When it comes to embroidery hoops, there are hoops, and then there are Hoops. Ideally, wooden embroidery hoops are made of smoooooooothly finished wood, and have good, strong metal hardware on them. The screw that tightens the hoop hardware normally has a slit in it, so that a screwdriver can be used for tightening the hoop further than the fingers can manage.

There aren’t a whole lot of Really Good wooden embroidery hoops available in the world today, but there are some. Hardwicke Manor hoops are a favorite of mine. If you’ve been reading Needle ‘n Thread for a while, this probably doesn’t surprise you, as I’ve covered the subject several times! Today, my purpose isn’t to be redundant. Sure, we’ve talked about embroidery hoops before. We’ve discussed what makes a good embroidery hoop, and we’ve talked about binding embroidery hoops. I’ve told you why I bind my hoops, and I’ve even shown you how to bind your own embroidery hoop if you want to.

So, why more hoop talk?

Binding Both Rings on Embroidery Hoops

The thing is, I rarely bind both rings on an embroidery hoop. It’s usually just the inside ring that gets my attention. Once the inside ring is bound, the added stable tension on the fabric is divine! No more re-tightening, no more tugging on fabric. Once it’s in, it’s in, and it makes for very nice, taut fabric without much fuss. Not only that, the binding lasts – oh – for eons. I bound one hoop that I use regularly about 7 years ago. And it is still bound. So it’s worth the work.

But about a week or so ago, I was using a small wooden hoop that’s not quite the same quality as Hardwicke Manor embroidery hoops. It’s an “ok” hoop, but it isn’t grand. The wood is “smooth enough” – but not polished smooth; the hardware tightens, but… it bends a bit. You may well wonder why this particular hoop? It is only about 3″ in diameter on the inside of the rings, and it fits really well over a lot of the motifs I’ve been adding to my spot sampler. It’s just such a Nice Fit. It’s such a wee hoop. It’s so darned…. cute. I wanted to use it!

So I set about binding the inside ring, and that was all well and jolly. But then, as I was working on the sampler, I placed the hoop just where it closed over some previous stitching, without expecting any problem.

Binding Both Rings on Embroidery Hoops

The culprit is there. Just under the binding on the outside ring, you can see part of it peeking out, because I moved the twill tape just to show you! (I bound the hoop before taking the photo – what a doorknob!) On good hoops, this part of the hardware that attaches the tightening mechanism on the outside of the outside ring is usually sunk into the wood somewhat. On this hoop, it isn’t. And oh, what damage those little metal bits can do!

I realized too late, but I didn’t want to vanquish the itty bitty hoop to obscurity!

So I bound the outside of the hoop, too. Binding the outside is a little trickier than binding the inside ring, because you’ve got that split to deal with. I simply stitched the twill tape together on the outside of the ring, on each side of the hardware. It holds well (I was surprised, actually!).

Binding Both Rings on Embroidery Hoops

The little hoop is now better than ever! I’m supremely happy with it.

So if you’re stuck using a hoop that isn’t quite up to par – maybe the wood is a bit rough, or the hardware isn’t “sunk” into the wood on the inside of the ring – do yourself a favor! Pick up some twill tape at the sewing store (narrow for small hoops, a little wider for large ones), read up on how to bind an embroidery hoop, and go ahead and bind both rings. You’ll be so glad you did!!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(11) Comments

  1. Hear hear! I have had the inside rings of my hoops bound for years, but bound the outside ring on one of them just the other day, for similar reasons to yours. Works a treat now.

  2. G’day Mary,

    I’m really gratefull for this info and the “how to bind” post too in which I immediately identified why I have some irksome problems with my hoops.
    Thank you.

    By the way, a doorknob is a pretty useful kind of gadget you know, even if it can’t think for itself! 😉

    Cheers, Kath.

  3. This is a great idea! I think this way I’ll regain some hoops that are put aside since I’ve gained a Hardwicke Manor from you 🙂

    Yesterday I wrote about a trouble I’m having. doing a long hem using ajour stitch: if I go straight when I reach the corner there are too much fabric and the corner becomes distorted. Do you know some trick to solve this?

  4. I bind the inner and outer rings of the hoops I commonly use for embroidery on batiste. It grips (and protects) the fragile fabric so much nicer. You’re right: the binding part can feel like such a hassle, but once it is done, it stays put for a veeery long time.

    A doorknob? I think not!!!

  5. Dear mary,
    Shall you kindly explain the difference between broad chain and heavy chain stitch?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi, Viji – broad chain only passes through the last loop formed, while heavy chain passes through the loop-before-last (so, under two loops). Hope that helps! ~MC

  6. This week, I’ve been wrapping a piece of cloth around the screw bits of my hoop and yesterday the fabric in my hoop started slipping and acting up.

    I kept skipping around your previous hoop talk posts, there’s just so much good information here. Glad you revisited the topic.

    I’ll be binding my hoop(s) in the next couple of days!

    Good prep work makes the embroidery experience more enjoyable and so does all your helpful information!

  7. You know, I’d actually be willing to PAY somebody to wrap my hoops. I just hate the boring prep activities like that and lacing fabric to frames. Maybe someone should start marketing pre-wrapped hoops… I’d buy them.

  8. Have you ever tried Elbasee hoops? I swear by them. If you love your fabric taut as heck (and we all know you do) they are an absolute treat. They keep lovely even tension not matter how long the project has been in there (I’m definitely guilty of forgetting to put the project away for the night or setting it aside and forgetting it’s hooped)

More Comments