Having a stocked sewing room means you’re ready wherever creativity leads and whenever inspiration strikes. Using the proper stabilizer can make or break an embroidery project, so make sure you have a variety on-hand. Stabilizer
There are several kinds of stabilizer, each with a specific job and designed to create successful stitchouts, no matter the application.
Tear-away stabilizers are temporary and are torn away after the embroidery is complete. They’re made from nonwoven materials, so they don’t stretch, and provide excellent stability
throughout the embroidery process. Tear-away stabilizer is suitable for most fabrics, except for overly delicate fabrics such as organza, as the stabilizer may shred the fabric when it’s removed. Tear-away stabilizer also perforates from needle penetrations
around the design outer edges, so don’t use it with fabrics that contain
stretch, such as knit. Tear-away stabilizer can tear in all directions without putting stress on the fabric or design. Use the color that best corresponds with the chosen fabric.
To use tear-away stabilizer, cut a piece slightly larger than the hoop. Hoop
the stabilizer and fabric. If using fabric that maybe marred by hooping, such
as suede, hoop the stabilizer, and then adhere the fabric using temporary spray adhesive. Once the embroidery is complete, carefully tear away the
stabilizer. Don’t tear away the stabilizer forcefully, as too much pressure may
cause design distortion.
Cut-away stabilizer is a nonwoven permanent stabilizer that keeps the fabric and embroidery stable during embroidery and remains on the fabric after the embroidery is complete. Use
cut-away stabilizer instead of tearaway stabilizer when embroidering garments that contain stretch.
Cut-away stabilizer is often used with knit fabrics and dense designs, as the stabilizer won’t stretch the fabric during embroidery or cause design distortion. Cut-away stabilizer is available in a variety of thicknesses, ranging from soft to firm. Use soft varieties to maintain the fabric softness or firm varieties to help stiffen the fabric. Choose the color that best matches the fabric to eliminate stabilizer show through.
To use cut-away stabilizer, cut a piece of stabilizer slightly larger than the hoop. Hoop the stabilizer with the fabric. If using fabric that may be marred by hooping, hoop the stabilizer, and then adhere the fabric using temporary spray adhesive.
Once the embroidery is complete, cut away the stabilizer just beyond the design perimeter. Use a pair of sharp embroidery scissors to trim close to the stitching, approximately ¼” to ½”
from the design.
A water-soluble stabilizer supports embroidery and then rinses out completely once the embroidery is complete. This stabilizer variety comes
in many shapes, sizes and forms.
Always choose a fiber/woven soluble stabilizer, which resembles fabric rather than plastic and is opaque. This type is rarely affected by heat or humidity and truly supports
the embroidery stitches. It also completely rinses away with ease.
Never under any circumstances iron water-soluble stabilizer. The heat causes it to shrink and stiffen, making it nearly impossible to rinse away.
When removing a water-soluble stabilizer from an embroidery or lace design, the stabilizer is released into the water, so always use fresh water
for the final rinse. To remove the stabilizer, submerge the design into a laundry tub containing at least 4″–6″ of water. To determine if the stabilizer is completely removed from a design,
gently rub the embroidery between two fingers. If they’re clean and don’t stick together, then the stabilizer has been removed. If not, refill the tub with fresh water and repeat the
submerging and rinsing steps. Dense or lace designs tend to need a longer
soaking period because of the stitch density. Give the designs a little extra time soaking and rinse thoroughly. If the embroidery needs to maintain some stiffness, such as with 3D freestanding lace projects, the watersoluble stabilizer it was embroidered on can act in place of starch. Rinse the lace in running water only enough to open the holes in the lace, but avoid soaking or excessive rinsing. The dissolved stabilizer that remains will dry within the threads,
Consider using a water-soluble topper when embroidering on high-pile or uneven fabrics, such
as terry cloth and velvet. The topper ensures the stitching is elevated and doesn’t disappear
into the fabric pile. This stabilizer is easily torn away once the embroideryis complete.
Got a tricky embroidery task on your hands? Thank goodness, there’s probably a stabilizer for that.
Heat-removable stabilizers are temporary and disintegrate when heat is applied.
They’re available in two types, woven or film, and are used with fabric that’s heat
tolerable or non-washable. The stabilizer may also be used as a topper.
Mesh stabilizers are lightweight, soft stabilizers with translucent properties to
prevent show-through on lightweight and semi-sheer fabrics. Mesh stabilizer
is available in two types: cut-away and water-soluble. The stabilizer is also often
used as a topper.