Learn how to select the correct stabilizer, topper and needle combinations
for six common fabrics to expand your project possibilities.
• Match fleece fabric, such as polar fleece, Cuddle or ready-made blankets, with a soft mesh cutaway stabilizer. Fleece fabrics are typically stretchy and require a cut-away stabilizer to support the stitches, particularly because the finished projects are washed often.
Lightweight cut-away stabilizer has a soft drape that matches the fleece. Choose a stabilizer color that blends closely with the fabric. Hoop the stabilizer and fabric together as one unit.
• Select a water-soluble topper to prevent the fabric nap from sticking up through the finished embroidery stitches. Secure the topper in place over the hooped stabilizer and
fabric using painter’s tape.
• Use a size 80/12 ballpoint embroidery needle. Universal needles have a sharper point that cuts the knit fleece, creating small holes or snags in the fabric.
• Jersey knit T-shirts or active-wear knits are stretchy and require a soft mesh cut-away stabilizer to allow the fabric to drape properly on the
body . For added stability during stitching, adhere a fusible mesh cut-away stabilizer to the knit fabric before hooping.
• Use a water-soluble topper on waffle or piqué knits to enhance the finished embroidery appearance.
• Select a size 75/11 ballpoint needle for lightweight T-shirts or a size 80/12 ballpoint needle for heavier knits, such as golf shirts
• Select a medium- or heavyweight cut-away stabilizer for denim fabrics,
such as jackets or jeans . Denim has a twill weave that stretches and needs cut-away stabilizer to support the stitches. Use heavyweight cutaway stabilizer for dense, detailed embroidery designs on denim.
• Denim fabric texture needs a watersoluble topper to improve the design appearance. Or select an opaque permanent topper for dark denim fabric and a light-colored embroidery design to prevent the dark fabric from showing through the design.
• Use a size 80/12 or 90/14 sharp embroidery needle depending on the denim weight.
• Towels or bathrobes need a medium- to heavyweight tearaway stabilizer to provide adequate support . Towels are reversible, so the stabilizer needs to be concealed. Tear-away stabilizer leaves some small pieces visible, but they eventually wash away.
Always pre-wash jeans to eliminate shrinkage before embroidery.
Use a heavyweight water-soluble stabilizer to prevent any stabilizer from showing, but test the stabilizer on an old towel or similar-weight terry cloth fabric scrap to ensure
the stabilizer supports the design. Use pressure-sensitive adhesive stabilizers with caution on towels. The knit loops stick to the stabilizer
and may pull when the stabilizer is removed.
• Use a water-soluble topper to prevent the knit loops from poking through the finished embroidery stitches. Secure the topper in place over the hooped stabilizer and fabric using painter’s tape .
• Select a size 80/12 sharp needle for best results.
• Use a light- to medium-weight tearaway stabilizer for quilting cottons, medium- to heavyweight linens and chambray, depending on the design density .
Use lightweight stabilizer for less dense designs, such as redwork.
• Select a size 75/11 or 80/12 sharp needle for best results.
• Use a water-soluble stabilizer for fine fabrics, such as batiste, organza and
sheers . Select a mesh stabilizer for denser designs and a transparent
stabilizer for less dense designs.
• Select a size 70/10 sharp needle for most fine fabrics; however, some
very lightweight fine fabrics need a smaller size 65/9 size needle.