Pro Tips: Changing your Tambour Hook

Tambour, Tambour Hook, replacement, Embroidery hook, heavy tambour hook, needle, tambour needle
Picture of Natasha Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

When you purchase a tambour hook and handle from the London Embroidery School, it comes ‘loaded’ with a medium weight hook already in it. However this may not be the best hook to use from your particular project. Like with needles, there are several sizes to choose from so for the best results you should choose appropriately.

Tambour Hook and Handle

The medium hooks are great for getting started with and are appropriate for using general cotton thread on a stable surface fabric. Even though you get one with your handle, we sell this on their own as well so should you bend or blunt your original hook, you can change it out for the same.

Medium Tambour hook

If you move onto something lighter or more delicate, you may want to choose the fine hook instead as it has a smaller surface area to penetrate the fabric with so should reduce your risk of creating a pull in the fabric and it will create a smaller hole as you stitch. If you are using a fine, silk thread, the fine hook may also be superior as the thread will sit more securely in the smaller space of the hook.

Fine Tambour hook

Equally if you are looking to use a heavier or fluffier thread, more like a yarn for example then you would do better with the heavy hook in your handle. This will reduce the chance of splitting the thread as you work or only catching a few strands within the twist which will leave you with a partial loop in your stitching (so annoying!). The other case when you may prefer a heavier hook would be if you were trying to work on a heavier or tighter weave fabric which you were worried about bending you hook (in this case you may be better of punching the holes into the fabric first before stitching).

Heavy Tambour hook

So now you’ve heard why you should change your needle, how do you do it correctly?

You Will Need:

  • A Tambour Handle
  • A Tambour Hook

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  1. Take your tambour handle with its hook in and gentle turn the screw at the top  a little in an anticlockwise direction to loosen it
  2. Take care not to fully unscrew it as this little screw is very important and easily lost- if its already too late for this just screw it back in sharpish 🙂
  3. Once your old hook is out, take your new hook and place it into the whole keeping hold of it at the hook end
  4. Swivel your hook around in the hole so that the open side of the hook is facing the screw (so you always know what way your hook is facing, even if you are working on a non transparent fabric).
  5. Retighten the screw in a clockwise direction to keep the new hook in position.

If you don’t want to change your hook, this method can be used for adjusting your hook to your length preference too which can make stitching a lot more comfortable. Just be sure your hook is in line with the screw no matter what size you are using.

Of course, the best way to get aquatinted with your tambour hook and handle is at one of our beginners tambour classes, see the Couture Tambour Beading Section for the net opportunity to learn about this amazing skill in our upcoming classes.

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