Birdie, You definitely need to look into the stabilizer issue. Good stabilizer and tight in the hoop. My sewing group recently did some embroidery on some fine linen and would have had the same problem. We put a "floating" stabilizer of tear-away under the hoop and design and it did not pucker. Part of the problem is that the needle pushes the fabric down and there is nothing under it to keep it from going into the needle h***....causing the puckering.