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 Hi... I also use the Hoop Tech clamps.  They work very well.  Another idea for a quick fix is to wrap your hoop with strips of solvy or vinyl tape.  This gives more grip to hold the canvas.  I just purchased some yellow tape at the Cleveland IX Sewing & Quilt show called Grip Tape from Bear Thread Designs for hooping.  I haven't used it yet, but uses the same concept.

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 Hi, I have done these and I don't have clamps. Here's the thing, if something is too stiff to hoop you have to figure out a way to get it on the hoop without putting it between the two parts of the hoop. Most often my solution to this is to hoop cut away, heavy weight is good because it holds up to the weight of the bag. Then I pin the item to the hooped backing!! Make sure to use a big enough hoop that your pins are out of the way of the design. This method has worked for me on many occasions. LLBean bags are so stiff that you don't need a tons of tension on them , you just need to get them in the right place to be sewn on. You can draw lines on the backing to keep things lined up too! Good luck, let me know if this helps. I use it on backpacks and other large stiff items. Have used it for socks, shirt pockets, things I can't hoop for one reason or another.

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I have also resorted to the "Doughnut" in order to embroider difficult to hoop items.  With LLBean and Lands End heavy canvas bags I have actually had to staple the bags to the very heavy backing because there was no way to get a pin through them.  I used regular staples and put a board underneath (I guess you could use a cork board underneath also )so the staples would go straight through then I flipped the item over very carefully and manually bent the staples to hold the bag.  Because the bag is woven and very stiff it didn't leave any holes when I took out the staples.  Since I didn't have many to do this worked out well for me.

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This is the same as I do but I use pins. they do work for me. My pins are extra long and have a large ball on the end so easy to see. Not the real heavy pins, the thin ones go through better, but longer so they go in and come back out. You really should try to find them, I think they are quilters pins and MUCH easier than stapling as you described. You don't need to many, just enough to keep it in place.

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