Hoop selection

Hoops are needed to hold the fabric tight while stitching on your machine. They are available in different sizes. A representation of the selected hoop is displayed in the design window. This provides a guideline for sizing and positioning designs. You can show or hide the hoop at any time.


On this page...


Depending on the selected hoop type, the boundary of the working area within the hoop may be displayed as a thin red, blue, or dotted line. If any part of the design lies outside the stitching area, a warning appears when saving. This prevents you from accidentally stitching outside this area and damaging your machine by hitting the hoop with the needle.

If your embroidery is too large or contains a number of designs spaced around an article, you can split it into multiple hoopings. Each one contains an object or group of objects that can be stitched out in a single hooping. See Multi-hooping.

Click View > Show Hoop to show or hide hoop. Right-click for settings.


Select hoops

  • The Hoop List on the Context toolbar shows which hoop is currently active in the design window. The list is automatically filtered according to the selected machine type. Only those hoops supported by that machine are available. See also Machine selection.
  • Alternatively, right-click the Show Hoop button and choose your machine from the droplist.
  • The hoop list is filtered to display compatible hoops. Select a hoop from the droplist.
  • Select the smallest hoop which fits the design.
  • Activate the Show Hoop button on the View menu to display the current hoop.
  • The selected hoop is saved with the design in native EMB file format. When the machine reads the stitch file, the stitching area is limited by the selected hoop type.

Use Customize Design / Context > Background and Display Colors to set colors, fabrics, or articles as design backgrounds.

Background colors

Set the color inside the hoop to match the fabric you intend to stitch out on. You can also set a background color outside the hoop by way of contrast. See also Backgrounds.

  • Select Customize Design > Design Background or right-click the design window and select from the popup menu.
  • To select a color inside the hoop, choose the Solid Color option. This allows you to set separate colors inside and outside the hoop. Select a color from the palette or mix your own.

  • Set the color inside the hoop to match the color of the fabric you intend to stitch out on.

Click View > Show Hoop to show or hide hoop. Right-click for settings.

Center hoops

By default, the software ensures that your design is always centered in the hoop. However, you can use the manual option to lock the hoop position. This means it won’t automatically center while you are digitizing. If you are creating a single hooping, however, always turn on auto-centering to check that the design will fit within the selected hoop.

The Hoop Position panel gives you these options:



Automatic centering

The hoop always centers itself around the design center.

At start needle position

The hoop centers itself around the start needle point. If using this option, you should turn off the ‘Maintain Automatically’ option in Auto Start & End. See also Design settings.


Allows manual placement of the design anywhere in the hoop. Only suitable for machines which allow off-centering of designs within the hoop.

Set hoop center

Allows an arbitrary hoop center to be created by digitizing a point in the design window.

Use Context > Rotate Hoop Left 90° to rotate selected hoop in 90° increments to the left.

Use Context > Rotate Hoop Right 90° to rotate selected hoop in 90° increments to the right. 

Rotate hoops

The Rotate Hoop tool allows you to rotate the hoop for ease of digitizing. The attachment mechanism is indicated, both on screen and printed worksheets. You can thereby tell the orientation of the design with respect to the hoop and decide how to position it. Rotate the current hoop by means of the icon or popup menu.

Click View > Show Hoop to show or hide hoop. Right-click for settings.



Custom hoops

If you are using the MB-4 machine or 'Others', you can define your own hoop and save it for later use. Right-click the Show Hoop icon to open the dialog. Notice the 'custom hoop' controls on the right.

Custom hoops are needed because new hoops become available for sewing machines more frequently than the software is updated. Also some machines include hoop adaptors for third-party hoops which need to be defined in the software. Click the Create button on the Hoops tab. Two main types of hoop can be defined or edited in the software – Rectangular and Oval.


The software records the embroidery area of custom hoops to stitch file  which can then be read by multi-needle machines to determine the stitching area. On the other hand, the stitching area of single-needle machines is determined by the selected hoop type. If the file contains a ‘non-standard’ (custom) hoop code, the hoop size is automatically based on the design size which is used to limit the stitching area.

If you open a EMB file which contains a custom hoop not included in the hoop list, or if the hoop has the same name as a listed one but different type and/or settings, the software creates a new custom hoop with the same characteristics and tags it with a system-generated name.