For those of you that don't know...I have a niece that is almost 9 months old. Up until this sweet girl was born...all the kids in our extended family have been boys so I have been thrilled to make some frilly and pink things for my sweet niece!
For her Christmas shirts, my sister-in-law requested that the designs be at the bottom of the shirt because Camille is always wearing a bib. She is a drooler. So the top of her shirts are ALWAYS covered up!
Up until now I had only hooped shirts to stitch at the top and center. I have a single needle machine and am sometimes intimidated by unusual hoop positions. Well, I tried it twice this week and I think hooping at the bottom is so much easier than hooping at the top and centered!
I took a few pictures of my process and thought I would share them with you in hopes that those of you with a single needle machine might want to try a different hoop option for a shirt too!
First, I should mention the shirts. I found these adorable blanks at Carter's on the clearance rack. They were less than $5, I think. I loved how they had ruffles and buttons at the top...so if Camille does happen to be without bib, the top of the shirt would have some visual interest to balance the applique design at the bottom.
When it was time to hoop the shirt, I put it on a flat desk with plenty of working room. Next I put my hoop in the shirt and then started to push it over to the right as far as possible. I wanted to stitch as close to the side seam as possible, so I even rolled the shirt a bit to the left so the right side seam was just inside the hoop. I had to be careful to keep my hoop straight vertically. It was easy for the hoop to become slanted while trying to position in this different spot...so be sure to check that you are parallel with the bottom of the shirt before you actually hoop. I hope the below pictures helps explain a little bit more...
One thing I did find with hooping at the bottom of the shirt is that the shirt was not quite as secure as when you hoop at the top. I decided to add a layer of tearaway stabilizer before stitching.
After the shirt was hooped and stabilized, I attached it to the machine and was ready to stitch. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make sure the excess shirt fabric and sleeves were out of the way. When you hoop at the top/center of a shirt for a single needle machine, I am always afraid a piece of the shirt will end up under the needle! This was so much easier!
I did use my Layout buttons on my machine a good bit before I started stitching. Every machine is different, but you should be able to test to see the farthest right your needle will go and the farthest to the bottom your needle will go and so on. If you aren't pleased with the positions, use your Layout arrows to shift the design up/down/right/left until it is placed where you want it to be on your shirt. In this case, I made sure that the bottom-most point was just above the bottom hem of the shirt and that the farthest right point was just inside the side seam of the shirt.
Here is one picture from the second shirt I did. I stitched our Raggy Christmas Tree design on this shirt.
On this shirt I decided to do all of the fabric cutting when the shirt was completely done. I always like to wait as long as possible to trim because I feel it keeps the shirt as secure as possible when hooped. For raggy designs I almost always wait until the shirt is completely done and cut once it is out of the hoop. I also feel I can cut better when it is out of the hoop. When stitching raggy designs, I usually use flannel or felt as my base layer to add some depth and additional fray...but in this example I used fleece! I think it really made the raggy stitches stand out at the rest of the design have a nice puffy feel.
So there you have it...my tips on how to hoop at the bottom! Hope it helps!