It makes or breaks the design.

Selecting the Right Embroidery Stabilizer
by Lydia Morgan.


There are many backings sold today for use in machine embroidery to stabilize your fabric while sewing designs. Whether doing free motion embroidery or programmed stitching, the end product can be improved when embroidery stabilizers are used. These stabilizers often will give embroidery a better finished look. Embroidery Stabilizer prevents puckering and bunching of stitches.

Embroidery Stabilizers can be permanent or temporary. Permanent backings are normally cut around after sewing the design. They are made to be washed with the garment. Temporary backings are removed after the design is done.

Temporary Embroidery Stabilizers, for Machine and Hand Embroidery.


Tear-Away Embroidery Stabilizers
Tear-Away is available in several weights. It can be used in single or double layers. It is recommended for use with medium to heavy weight fabrics. Used for densely stitched embroidery designs. After completing the design, it can be torn away in either the horizontal or vertical direction. It should be removed carefully in order to not disturb the stitches in your design. It is not recommended for delicate fabrics or sweaters. It is available in Black and White.

Iron-On Tear-Away.
This stabilizer is excellent for medium to heavyweight knit fabric. For best results when ironing on, be sure to avoid stretching the knit.

Adhesive-Backed Tear-Away.
Place Adhesive-Backed Tear-Away in your hoop. Peel away protective paper. Then lay the fabric to be embroidered over the hoop. Smooth in place. Great for small collar areas, velvets, napped fabrics and embroidering on patch blanks and baby bibs.

Soluble Stabilizer.
Use this stabilizer for delicate, washable fabric. Use for a high pile fabric such as terry. It is a gelatin sheet that dissolves in warm water. For a terry fabric, place stabilizer top and bottom and place in hoop. For a finished design, use embroidery thread as the bobbin thread.

Heat-Away® Stabilizer.
Use this stabilizer for fabrics that can tolerate heat but can not be washed. Also good for designs not dense enough for Tear-Away.

Tear-Away/Wash-Away Stabilizer.
This Tear-Away has un.

Permanent Stabilizers, for Machine and Hand Embroidery.

Cut-Away Stabilizers.
Cut-Away is used by professionals and is meant to remain with the garment. It washes well and is excellent for jobs where the embroidery stabilizer comes in contact with the skin, such as golf shirts or sweaters.

Poly-Mesh Cutaway.
Woven stabilizer especially designed for extra stability on lightweight fabrics and knits. Unlike regular Cut-Aways this semitransparent poly-mesh will not show through white garments.

Fusible Cut-Away.
This iron-on Cut-Away stabilizer is soft, lightweight and launders well. Used when designs on knits and unstable stretchy fabrics call for a permanent stabilizer.

To decide which backing to use, you need to evaluate the following:


The following are suggestions, if you are unfamiliar with stabilizers or are just beginning with machine embroidery or embellishment.

  1. Collect several fabrics that you enjoy using.
  2. Look at our selection of embroidery stabilizers. See Embroidery Stabilizers . Or, click on Embroidery Supplies, on the left side of this page.
  3. Select a closed or close stitched design and an open design to be used with each fabric and stabilizer.
  4. Use the stabilizer as directed on each sample piece (be sure to permanently mark the type of stabilizer used on each design).
  5. Make both designs on each fabric piece with each type stabilizer.
  6. Now launder the different types of fabrics and usual. If washing and drying will be included, launder the items several times.

After using the various stabilizers, you willl have a better idea, based on fabric type, which embroidery stabilizer to use. This will, at least, give you a starting point when selecting the best stabilizer for a project.

For example, if you enjoy working with knits and have limited time, purchase an inexpensive knit top and embellish it with several items from your machines embroidery card. Use a different stabilizer on each design. On one design, use one layer of TearAway. The next two layers. Then one with heavy Tear Away and one with temporary adhesive backed Tear Away. Do the last with CutAway. Keep a diagram of what was used and where; then wear the garment.

After a number of washings you will determine which stabilizer works best on your knit garment. If any puckering occurs when washed, a quick press on the remaining designs will alleviate it.

To see our Embroidery Thread go to Embroidery Thread

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