One of the most challenging components of machine embroidery is selecting the right stabilizer.
Additionally, there are SO many different kinds of embroidery stabilizers available that can be really perplexing for a beginner. In this post, we want to clarify some common myths about selecting a machine embroidery stabilizer.
Types Of Machine Embroidery Stabilizers
A stabilizer is a material used to support the fabric during embroidery and prevent it from puckering, stretching, or shifting. There are different stabilizers for various fabrics, stitches, and embroidery techniques. Here’s a guide to machine embroidery stabilizers:
Cut-away stabilizers are embroidery stabilizers that provide permanent support to the fabric during embroidery. They are made of a strong, non-woven material meant to remain in the garment after the embroidery is complete. Cut-away stabilizers are ideal for knits and stretchy fabrics, as they prevent the fabric from stretching or puckering during stitching. They are also well-suited for designs with a high stitch count or that require dense stitching. Cut-away stabilizers are cut away from the design area after the embroidery is complete, leaving a small margin of stabilizer around the design to help maintain its shape and prevent distortion.
Wash-away stabilizers are embroidery stabilizer that dissolves in water, providing temporary support to the fabric during the embroidery process. They are suitable for delicate fabrics, lace, or freestanding embroidery designs. Wash-away stabilizers are available in both water-soluble and heat-soluble varieties. Water-soluble stabilizers dissolve completely in water, leaving no residue behind. They are ideal for fabrics that cannot be exposed to heat, such as silk or wool. Heat-soluble stabilizers, such as iron or a heat press, dissolve with heat. They are suitable for use with fabrics that can withstand high temperatures, such as cotton or linen. Wash-away stabilizers are often used for embroidery projects where the stabilizer should not be visible on the finished project, such as lace or freestanding applique.
Tear-away stabilizers are a type of embroidery stabilizer that provide temporary support to the fabric during the embroidery process. They are made of a lightweight, non-woven material that is easy to tear away once the embroidery is complete. Tear-away stabilizers are ideal for lightweight or delicate fabrics that a heavier stabilizer may damage. They are also suitable for smaller designs or designs with a lower stitch count. Tear-away stabilizers are torn away from the design area after the embroidery is complete, leaving a clean finish without any excess stabilizer. They are easy to use and provide a convenient solution for quick and simple embroidery projects.
Heat-away stabilizers are embroidery stabilizers that dissolve with heat application, such as an iron or a heat press. They provide temporary support to the fabric during the embroidery process. They are ideal for delicate fabrics or embroidery on items that cannot be washed, such as leather or vinyl. Heat-away stabilizers are available in sheets or rolls and are often used for designs that cannot be washed, such as on hats or bags. Once the embroidery is complete, the stabilizer is removed by applying heat to the area until it dissolves, leaving a clean finish without any excess stabilizer.
Fusible stabilizers are an adhesive type of embroidery stabilizer that can be ironed onto the fabric. They provide temporary support to the fabric during the embroidery process. They are ideal for fabrics that are difficult to hoop or for providing extra support to the fabric during stitching. Fusible stabilizers are available in cut-away and tear-away varieties and are easy to use, requiring only a hot iron to fuse them to the fabric. They provide a convenient solution for quick and simple embroidery projects.
Specialty stabilizers are a type of embroidery stabilizer designed for unique embroidery techniques. They include stabilizers for cutwork, applique, quilting, and other specialized embroidery methods. Depending on the technique, these stabilizers may be water-soluble, heat-soluble, or adhesive. They provide temporary support to the fabric during the embroidery process and are tailored to the specific needs of the technique used. Specialty stabilizers help ensure a clean finish and prevent distortion of the embroidery design, resulting in a professional-looking final product.
Always choose the stabilizer suitable for the fabric, design, and machine embroidery technique. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
You can read more: Best thread for machine embroidery
What factors influence the choice of embroidery stabilizers?
There are several factors to consider when selecting an embroidery stabilizer, including the fabric type, stitch count, design size, embroidery technique, and finished product. The type of fabric will influence the choice of stabilizer, with stretchy or lightweight fabrics requiring a different stabilizer than a heavier or more stable fabric. The stitch count and design size will also affect the choice of stabilizer, with denser designs requiring a stronger stabilizer. The embroidery technique may require a specialized stabilizer, such as a water-soluble stabilizer for freestanding lace. The finished product will also be considered, as some stabilizers may be visible on the final product or affect its drape or texture. I hope you will enjoy this “Machine Embroidery Stabilizer Guide” post. Thanks for reading!