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My entry-level embroidery machine finally has compatible magnetic embroidery hoops, and I love the new possibilities.
For instance, I can use my embroidery machine to easily finish quilts without hooping or using stabilizer. I can also work with delicate fabrics like leather or vinyl without worrying about hoop marks.
Even projects that used to be challenging to adhere outside the hoop have become effortless to embroider, and I am so thrilled.
Read about this alternative to traditional embroidery hoops. Plus, when and how to use a magnetic machine embroidery hoop!
Magnetic Embroidery Hoops Use Magnetic Force To Secure Blanks
They either have two frame pieces that snap together or a bottom metal frame and a set of magnets that sit on top.
In contrast, with traditional clamp embroidery hoops, embroidery blanks are secured between an outer and inner ring. This method can leave imprints and marks on the blank, which is not usually the case with magnetic hoops.
I Love My Magnetic Hoops!
Magnetic hoops are even better than traditional embroidery hoops in some hooping situations.
However, not all hoops are of the same quality, and not all machines will work with all hoops. And, of course, magnetic hoops can only be used with specific projects.
Even though they’re pricey and have a limited scope of use, I still think owning at least one magnetic hoop is a great help.
I now have an Embroidex hoop for my Brother SE1900 machine, and I have two dime Snap Hoop Monsters and a Brother magnetic sash frame for my Brother Luminaire XP2. I’m amazed at how often I turn to them now!
When to Use a Magnetic Hoop
While I initially purchased my magnetic hoops for a few particular applications, I’ve now found them invaluable in many, many embroidery scenarios. Check them out below!
First, magnetic hoops allow you to quilt continuous embroidery designs without hooping your quilt sandwich. No more unscrewing, pushing, and trying to maneuver bulky quilt layers into a traditional hoop while perfectly matching design start and stop points.
And even though one alternative to hooping quilts for embroidery is floating the fabric, this works better with stabilizer, which, of course, must be removed after embroidery.
With a magnet embroidery hoop, there’s no need to use stabilizer, which saves time and keeps your quilt looking perfect on the backside.
Also, magnetic hoops are more forgiving. If I improperly hooped with a traditional hoop, I usually had to start the process again to fix alignment issues. With magnetic hoops, you can easily make small adjustments by simply removing the magnets or frame and tugging the fabric.
Before my magnet hoop, I used my walking foot for geometric lines (boring example above) or trekked to our local library and stood for hours using their longarm for free-motion quilting. (Adding intricate quilting with my home sewing machine is not something I enjoy.)
Now, however, I can have my embroidery machine easily quilt for me using my new hoop and continuous embroidery designs like the one above on my most recent puzzle quilt.
Let’s just say having my machine do the quilting makes my final projects look way better than when I quilt them by hand! (Check out some FREE embroidery quilting designs also!)
2. Unhoopable, Bulky Projects
Other bulky projects like fluffy towels, thick blankets, and puffer jackets are perfect for using a magnetic hoop. Or, projects with thick seams or buttons like embroidered denim jackets that won’t fit inside a traditional hoop.
3. Delicate Fabrics
Furthermore, items like leather jackets or large pieces of vinyl that traditional hooping will damage respond better to magnetic hoops in some cases. No one loves hoop burn!
4. Eliminating Raised Edges
The low edges of certain magnetic hoops also allow embroidery blanks to lie flat rather than being elevated to rest on top of a traditional hoop edge. (Example: embroidering a doily, as shown above. Those pesky regular hoop edges were a problem when I did that project!)
Other examples of projects that may benefit from the lack of a raised edge include slippers, shoes, hats, and even cardstock.
5. When You Want Fast, Easy Hooping
If you have arthritis or other reasons that traditional hooping may be painful, magnetic hoops make hooping significantly easier. Lining up blanks and hooping with magnet hoops is also faster once you get the hang of it.
Just watch your fingers with some of these bad boys, as the magnets are strong.
How to Use a Magnetic Embroidery Hoop (By Type)
All magnetic hoop brands work differently, and not all options are compatible with all machines. It’s thus essential to determine the type(s) that work with your machine to know what you can embroider and how to use them.
Here’s an overview of several brands and types of magnetic embroidery hoops and how they work.
1. dime Monster Snap Hoops
First, Designs in Machine Embroidery has its patented Monster Snap Hoops, which you can use for one-step hooping with minimal hand strain.
I recommend using dime’s magnetic hoop compatibility chart to determine compatibility and availability for your machine. Compatible machine brands include Brother, Janome, Baby Lock, Bernina, Husqvarna-Viking, and Pfaff.
What’s great about dime magnetic hoops is they work for many single-needle machines (with hoop sizes 6″x10″ or larger). Multi-needle Snap Hoop Monsters are also an option for many Brother, Janome, and Baby Lock 6- and 10-needle machines.
For my Brother Luminaire XP2 embroidery machine, for instance, dime Monster Snap Hoops come in the following sizes:
I have the 10.5″x16″ hoop that I use when quilting and the 5″x7″ hoop for smaller projects like embroidering towels.
The huge Snap Hoop works GREAT for quilting, but some other hooped fabrics sag in the middle because the hoop is just so large.
To use the Snap Hoop, detach the two metal frame pieces.
Lay your fabric (and stabilizer, if required) over the bottom frame. Then, snap the top frame back to the bottom, which is easy thanks to the magnetic forces.
If the project is misaligned, adjust the fabric by lifting, shifting, and replacing the top frame. (Be careful with your fingers!)
If doing continuous quilting, all you need to do is lift away the top hoop over the machine body and shift your fabric before snapping the frames back in place. No need to even remove the top frame from the workspace when rehooping quilt sections!
As a note, something I learned the hard way is to NOT remove your Snap Hoop from the machine by using the top magnet frame.
I’ve accidentally pulled it off my embroidery projects, decentering them and ruining future stitching. So, if you need to clip applique fabric or trim jump stitches, remove the hoop from the machine while holding both sides of the frame.
Also, if you have problems getting the two hoop sides aligned, consider purchasing dime’s Hoop Setters to make hooping easier! (These are the little metal L shapes on the sides of the hoop that help keep the frames aligned.)
2. Mighty Hoop
One of the best magnetic hoop options for multi-needle embroidery machines is the Mighty Hoop, developed initially to work with leather and Carhartt jackets.
As a single-needle machine user with no direct experience here, I’ll leave the video by an expert above to help you learn the differences and see how to use the Mighty Hoop!
Just make sure to check with the company for compatibility with your machine before purchasing.
3. The Amazon Version (aka The Only Magnetic Hoops Compatible with My Brother SE1900)
The magnetic hoop for my Brother SE1900 is not a genuine Brother accessory, as Brother does not currently make one for that machine. (Neither does dime for that matter.)
However, for my Brother SE1900 and many other entry-level embroidery machines, Embroidex has marketed a magnetic metal hoop. I have the newer 5″x12″ one right now and love it. (I recommend purchasing extra magnets for a better hold on tricky fabrics, though.)
Below is a small selection of hoop options for more entry-level machines to check and see if you, too, can get a compatible hoop for your machine!
- 5″x12″ (SA445) for Brother PE800, SE1900, and others plus Baby Lock equivalents.
- 5″x7″ (SA444) for Brother PE800, SE1900, and others plus Baby Lock equivalents.
- 4″x4″ (SA443) for Brother PE800, SE1900, and others plus Baby Lock equivalents.
- 4″x4″ (SA432) for Brother SE400, SE600, SE625, PE535, and others plus Baby Lock equivalents.
- 6″x10″ (SA441) for Brother NQ1600E, NQ17000E, NQ3600D, NQ3700D, NQ3550W, and more plus Baby Lock equivalents.
- 5″x7″ (SA439) for Brother Duetta, Quattro, and others plus Baby Lock equivalents.
Now, to use the Embroidex magnetic hoop when quilting, simply place your quilt sandwich on top of the metal frame. (No need for stabilizer!)
Then, position the magnets around the edge of the frame. Slide the hoop into your machine, and that’s it!
To embroider leather, vinyl, or other items, you can use this magnetic hoop almost like a dime Sticky Hoop or a Durkee frame.
Simply stick a layer of self-adhesive sticky stabilizer (tear-away or water-soluble) to the base of the hoop, and press the item to be embroidered to the sticky surface. Just make sure to clean off the stickiness later to prevent drag when using the hoop without sticky stabilizer.
Of course, you also have the option of setting up the hoop like more traditional “floating” where you use magnets to hold stabilizer and then attach the embroidery blank via spray adhesive, a basting box, painter’s tape, or your favorite method.
4. Genuine Brother Magnetic Hoops
My Brother Luminaire XP2 embroidery machine also has a 7″x14″ compatible Brother-branded Hoopnetic Magnetic Sash Frame that came with its purchase. (If you want to learn more, check out part number SAMS360 on Brother’s website.)
It’s really easy to rehoop between stitching parts of a quilt using this magnetic hoop as you can leave a couple of magnets on and just pull the fabric. Plus, the magnets can be used to smooth fabric, which makes for a tighter hooping than my Snap Hoops.
One big downfall, though, is because of the bulk of the hoop (it’s REALLY heavy in comparison to dime Snap Hoops, and the magnet power is super strong) the max stitching speed you can use with it is 600spm. Since my machine can embroider at 1,050 spm with other hoops, this stinks a little.
Also, it’s difficult to take in and out of the machine when doing applique trimming.
Brother has expanded their magnetic hoop availability for many of their machines, so you can check for machine compatibility on Brother’s website. In order to use some of the newer hoops on your machine, though, you may need to upgrade your machine’s software.
Cons & Troubleshooting
Now, while I’m fascinated with my magnetic hoop, I’ve found not all projects lend themselves well to it.
1. First, stretchy fabrics with dense designs really need to be hooped or secured where there’s absolutely no movement.
While Brother’s magnetic hoops absolutely prevent fabric movement, the DIME and generic brand large hoops do not have as tight of a grip on fabrics. This can mean movement during embroidery, which can cause design puckering or distortion.
2. Another limitation is for smaller throat machines. Even though a magnetic hoop makes quilting more accessible, it is still difficult to keep excess fabric from the work area. There’s only so much space to roll the excess quilt inside a smaller throat space and not be in the middle of the hoop.
3. After adding embroidery to quilt sandwich corners, I also learned making my backing and batting much larger than the quilt on the sides makes it easier to use a magnetic hoop. Otherwise, the quilt corner just flops in the middle of the hoop unless I use stabilizer to hold it.
4. Always preview your design and ensure the needle will not hit the magnetic hoop at any part during the embroidery process. My Luminaire oddly enough doesn’t always register the right size Snap Hoop.
5. Be careful with magnets around computerized parts of your sewing machine. Appropriately used, these hoops should not be an issue. Improper use may cause issues, though.
6. Don’t forget to check with your doctor before use if you have a pacemaker or use other devices affected by magnets. There are all sorts of scary warnings on my Brother Sash Frame!
7. Lastly, these hoops are pricey! That’s the main reason I only purchased a few. Costs add up fast if you want magnetic hoops in multiple sizes.