Can you embroider without a hoop?

back stitch embroidery

Why do all the books and teachers always tell us to embroidery in a hoop? Can't you stitch without one?

In short, yes, you actually can!

But there can be a danger of puckering. Hoops are designed to keep the tension of ground fabric even at all times so that it is neither understretched or overstretched. Because in both cases it leads to your fabric looking squeezed. 

It is also often more convenient to do needlework while the fabric is fixed in a hoop stand or a frame, so that you can put both hands at work.

However, puckering can also occur if you use an embroidery hoop. Ultimately, it's all about how you well feel the tension of the fabric.

embroidery process

While working on my embroidery journal pages, rather than embroidering on a larger piece of fabric and then cutting it a necessary size which would result in having extra stripes of fabric, I don't know what to do with... I found myself preferring to cut the page out first, and then embroider on it.

Using a hoop in such circumstances turned out to be inconvenient so I did something else.

embroidery backside

I applied fusibleinterfacing material to the back of the fabric before stitching.


  • The fabric stays the same, not overstretched, not understretched.

  • The “sheet” of fabric gets a little thicker and heavier, which I like more for a page.

  • This second layer of the backing is very useful for ending and starting thread in many occasions (You can start and end thread on the interfacing without anything to be visible on the “face” of the needlework).

  • It prevents the fabric from fraying.


  • The fact that the fabric stays the same doesn't mean that it can't pucker if you pull the thread too tight. Be gentle.

  • If you hold the fabric in your fist too hard, it will crumple and it might be hard to iron it out. So, once again, be gentle.

In regards to the journal in particular, I also think it would be better to apply interfacing to a larger piece of fabric and then cut it in several pieces of the page size. But, as usual, I forget and do it the weird way :D

P.S. Happy World Embroidery Day! 


  1. Hi Amina, love the tips you are sharing on your blog, thank you so much!


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