One of the biggest things that separates amateur stitchers from experienced stitchers is whether your finished product is warped and wrinkled or flat and smooth. For my first year or so of stitching I worked diligently to try my absolute best to keep my fabric smooth, but still somehow ended up with occasional wrinkles in my hoops. After much trial and error, I am happily sharing with you three incredibly simple and (somewhat) fail-proof methods to keep that fabric smooth (and they involve absotutely no ironing).
Tip #1: The "No-brainer"
Keep the fabric inside your hoop as tight as humanly possible while you stitch. Do this by pulling it tight and then tighten your brass hardware to keep it in place. Make sure to keep a close eye on your fabric and readjust by pulling it tight as it (inevitably) loosens and bunches on you as you stitch. I typically pull my fabric tight every time I switch threads or stitches.
Tip #2: The "Keep it Loose"
Don’t over tighten your stitches!! I used to think that I wanted my stitches to be pulled as tight as possible; well I was WRONG. You want them to be taut not tight. When you over tighten them it bunches the fabric and even the best of stitchers can’t make that go away. Be especially mindful with long stitches as even the slightest tightness makes this happen.
Tip #3: The "Best Kept Secret"
This is my all time favorite embroidery tip I'll ever share with you. After about 2 years of embroidering I discovered this and now I do it to every single hoop I make. Once you are done stitching and you’ve cinched your hoop fabric in the back (but before you back with felt, if you’re doing that), run your water and get it as hot as possible. Then run your hoop under the water for about 5 seconds making sure to get all of the fabric equally wet. Set it to dry sitting upright on top of a clean towel. This not only removes that pesky water soluble marker (goodbye random blue stains) but it sort of shrinks your fabric making it tight, smooth and beautiful inside your hoop.