To understand why
this happens, we'll need to look at the "science" of
embroidery. When we stitch on fabric, we add weight and
tension to the fabric. We add stabilizer to the fabric to
provide a firm foundation. There are three main types of
stabilizer: cutaway, tear-away, and water-soluble.
Tear-away and water-soluble stabilizers are attractive options
to embroiderers, as they're removed from the back of the
fabric, leaving a neat-looking finish. Cutaway stabilizer
Even though tear-away and
water-soluble seem appealing, they're not the best choice for
most fabrics. Most fabrics need a firmer foundation, and a
permanent backing, in order to get the professional and
precise results that we love.
One of the most important
factors in getting excellent results is choosing the right
stabilizer. If you're seeing shifting and gapping in your
stitchouts, please check the Fabrics 101 articles. Those
articles give stabilizer, needle, and design recommendations.
The articles are free for your use. Follow the tips and
techniques for the fabric that you're using.
mentioned that shifting, gapping, and misaligned stitches are
most often caused by using the wrong stabilizer. There are
other causes, too:
- Loose (or no) hooping. Some
embroiderers will hoop the stabilizer, but not the fabric.
Pins, basting stitches, or adhesive are used to keep the
fabric attached to the stabilizer. This method can work
well, but sometimes the fabric will shift or move, and then
you'll see gaps. For best results, hoop the fabric with the
- Hoop obstruction. Embroiderers have found
scissors, screw heads, tissue boxes, pin cushions,
electrical cords, and other items that obstruct the hoop's
ability to move freely. Check the area around your machine
to make sure that the hoop can move freely.
and editing. Changing the size of a design with an embroidery
software program, or using a resizing feature on your
machine, will degrade the design. This can result in shifting
and gapping. And, if you're using a software program that
converts stitches to blocks (the Bernina software has this
feature), then converting stitches to blocks will cause
- Bobbin tension. If bobbin tension is
too tight, then you may see gapping between fills and satin
stitches. To gauge proper tension, stitch a satin stitch
column and review the back side of the embroidery. You
should see about 1/2 to 1/3 of bobbin thread.
experiencing shifting and gapping in your sewouts, review this
list of questions:
1. Are you using cutaway stabilizer?
2. Are you hooping the fabric with the stabilizer?
you stitching the design as is, without resizing or editing?
If you answered "no" to any of the above questions, then
try stitching the design again with the above recommendations
and considerations. And, reference the Fabrics 101 articles
for tips, too.
If you answered "yes" to all of the
above questions and are still experiencing shifting and
gapping, then please contact us for assistance. Send an email
to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following:
Your order number
2. The name of the design
3. The type
of fabric you are stitching onto
4. The type of stabilizer
you are using
5. The areas where you're seeing shifting and
gapping. If you can send a photo, that would be great. A
picture really is worth a thousand words.
of the above-requested information. We'll check the design and
stitch it with the fabric and stabilizer combination that
you're using to try to replicate the problem.
If you have
questions about the above, let us know! Send an email to