A little scoop on hoops
I was talking with a friend last week about embroidery and she said that she loved doing it but felt so frustrated with how easily her fabric sunk as she stitched. The good news is that there are so many things to try to help prevent this from happening!
The easiest methods are done before you even begin.
If you add a scrap piece of cloth to the back of your work (so now you're stitching through two layers of fabric), that will help keep your tension even. I use muslin a lot because it's cheap and I happen to have a lot of it floating around. But if you keep a stash of old clothes or sheets around, cutting those to the right size is a perfect way to reuse those fabrics.
If things are still slipping, then I would experiment with wrapping/binding your hoop. Typically this is done to the smaller, inner hoop but you could really wrap both or either. If you're not already familiar with Mary Corbet's website, she has so much information and inspiration there including this great tutorial on binding your hoop.
If those two measures don't work and you've also tried tightening the hoop with a screw driver to get it really snug, then I think the next step is to take a look at the hoop itself. If you bought it at a big box store, I'm afraid there may not be much to be done. Sadly, those mass produced hoops warp very easily and the hardware they come with is lacking. It would be worthwhile to seek out a higher quality hoop for your stitch work. I personally love Nurge hoops and hope to carry them in my shop but two other solid brands are Klass & Gessman (they have a sweet fox burned into the wood of their frames) are Hardwicke Manor. All three are birchwood frames with brass hardware. I like Nurge because you can choose the thickness of the hoop itself and the tightening knobs are smooth (vs. textured) so my fingers don't hurt when I hand-tighten them extra tight.
You might notice that I've omitted plastic hoops from this little write-up. I'm personally committed to avoiding plastic waste when I can (even if it's not a single-use object). I do own two plastic hoops from years and years ago and keep them around for my kids or students who may have left theirs at home. Many of the same measures can be used with plastic hoops, however, so you should feel free to tinker a bit and see if you don't see some improvement.
Thanks for reading,