As we know, a beautiful embroidery design, after laundering, can turn into a “curl” and leave us quite dismayed. Thus, we pull out our “best friend”, the pressing cloth. My best “pressing cloths” are the proverbial old “flour sack”. Yes, you can still buy the old “flour sack” dishtowels. I found a pack at Walmart. I cut one into 4 pieces, serged the edges to keep it from fraying and after laundering the T-tops, I wet the pressing cloth, wring it out tightly, lay it on the embroidery design and with a 5 second or so laying on of the iron….presto….the design is back to normal.

Steps to remember to help alleviate the “shrinking design” is to remember the following:

• WASH ITEM BEFORE EMBROIDERING. Even if you are giving the item as a gift, you want to assure that you pre-wash, i.e., pre-shrink the item. Towels, blankets and clothing items are prone to shrink. Pre-wash is a must and you can dry it on a warm cycle, use fragrant washing machine “beads” or dryer sheets and the wonderful fragrance adds to the beauty of the gift. My gifts are known by the “wonderful smell”, amusing as that may sound.

• DO NOT STRETCH IN THE HOOP. The fabric should never be stretched or distorted. Do NOT “pull as tight as a drum”, which is ill advice in my opinion. Fabric has a “memory” and thread has a “memory” and after your design is done, the fabric and thread will return to its natural state and you are going to have puckering. The only exception would be Lycra which should be stretched to the fit of the body.

• STABILIZE. Use the appropriate stabilizer. There are many brands and each person seem to have their favorite. I do not believe in “double stabilizing” as I find it makes the embroidery “bullet proof”. You should be able to get the desired results with a single stabilizer, by using the appropriate stabilizer.

• THREAD TENSION. If you have a “dual machine” i.e., one that sews as well as doing embroidery, remember to change the tension. Too tight of a tension will result in distortion of the design. Polyester thread stretches just like polyester clothing stretches. Too tight of tension will result in high stretching and after setting overnight, the thread memory will return and you will have puckering. Polyester thread is less expensive but it will pucker much more than Rayon thread.