Do You Have To Use Stabilizer When Embroidering

Different types of fabrics respond differently to sewing and embroidery. Different fabrics have different textures.

This means that sewing embroidery may be difficult without making the fabric more receptive to the embroidery.

A stabilizer is one of the well-known items you can use to assist in embroidering different types of fabric.

Do You Have To Use Stabilizer When Embroidering?

As an embroiderer, you can use a stabilizer to make your embroidering process easier. A stabilizer makes it possible for an embroiderer to sew embroidery properly on different types of fabrics. A stabilizer is also known as embroidery backing.

Steps To Use Stabilizer When Embroidering

Step 1. Identify the type of fabric that you are embroidering on. This helps to identify the kind of backing that you will need for your embroidery process.

Step 2. Pin your fabric onto a hoop before you start sewing. This ensures that your fabric is taut enough to work on. It also helps you to see how light or heavy the fabric is and the type of embroidery needle you will need for your embroidery.

Step 3. Bast your stabilizer onto the fabric on the hoop. The part of the fabric on the hoop is already identified as the part of the fabric that you want to embroider. Fix your stabilizer on this part of the fabric.

Step 4. With your stabilizer in place, you can now place your embroidery design on the stabilizer to confirm that it is enough for the size of your embroidery.

Step 5. Now, sew your embroidery onto the stabilizer and your fabric. You can embroider with an embroidery machine or by hand. When embroidering by hand, make sure to choose the right embroidery needle for the fabric that you are sewing on.

Step 6. Depending on the type of stabilizer you are using, you can remove it after you are through with embroidering.

The tear-away stabilizer can be easily torn away from the fabric, water-soluble stabilizer has to be dipped in water for it to be removed from the fabric. You can also use a leave-in stabilizer that you will leave in the fabric to hold the embroidery in place.

Step 7. Remove your fabric from the hoop and confirm that you have completed your embroidery as you had envisioned. You can fix embroidery mistakes quite easily when they happen. Although this also depends on the fabric of your garment.

Types Of Stabilizer You Can Use For Embroidery

Cut-Away Stabilizer

A cut-away stabilizer, as the name suggests is a type of embroidery stabilizer that can be easily cut off from fabric after the embroidery is fixed. It is most suitable for machine embroidery projects. However, it is useful when you are hand embroidering stretchy fabrics.

The part of the stabilizer that the embroidery design lies on is left intact on the fabric. Thus a cutaway stabilizer is also known as a permanent stabilizer.

The part that remains on the fabric provides a permanent backing since, unlike some other stabilizers, it doesn’t tear after several washes.

To use this stabilizer, you will fix it on the wrong side of the garment. This allows you to cut away the excess stabilizer from the embroidery.

You can also use this backing while embroidering hats.

Tear Away Stabilizer

As the name suggests, a tear-away stabilizer can be torn off after you have finished embroidery. Unlike cut-away stabilizers, tear-away stabilizers can be removed completely from the fabric after you have finished embroidering.

The tear-away stabilizer is best used with non-stretchy fabrics. You can use it on woven and natural-fiber fabrics that are strong and don’t stretch.

Embroiderers use tear-away stabilizers when they don’t want their embroidery design to appear on the other side of the fabric that they are embroidering on.

The cut-away stabilizer is best used for decorative stitching and paper piecing when it is printed on. It is capable of handling a large number of stitches.

When tearing it away after embroidery, make sure that you hold on to the stitches firmly. This ensures that the stabilizer leaves the stitches on the fabric when it is removed.

Wash Away Stabilizer

A wash-away soluble stabilizer is a stabilizer that dissolves in water. A tear-away stabilizer is torn off the fabric, a cut-away stabilizer is cut off while a water-soluble stabilizer is dissolved in warm water to remove it from the fabric it is used on. It can also be used to create lace in a project.

When you are through with your embroidery project, you are now ready to remove your stabilizer. Place it under warm running water. This will dissolve and wash off your stabilizer.

Confirm that you don’t have any stabilizer on your fabric before you stop running the water on the embroidery.

You can use this stabilizer when you are embroidering a sheer fabric.

Fusible Stabilizer

A fusible stabilizer is a specialty stabilizer. It is also known as interfacing and is appropriate for standard embroidery. It is also used while sewing.

To use this stabilizer, you need to iron it to the backside of the fabric that you intend to embroider or sew on. This helps to ensure that your fabrics don’t stretch when hooped and also, to help you have a clear visual of the area of your fabric being embroidered.

No Show Stabilizer

A no-show stabilizer is another specialty stabilizer. It is thin, lightweight, and strong. It is best used to add stability when embroidering on knit fabrics. For best results, this stabilizer is combined with a tear-away stabilizer.

The no-show stabilizer is not visible when used in light-colored fabrics hence its name. When you are done embroidering you can remove this stabilizer with heat or water.

Aqua Topping

Aqua topping is another specialty embroidery stabilizer. The aqua topping stabilizer is placed on top of the fabric that you want to embroider.

It is used with textured and delicate fabrics. By placing it on top of the fabric, it helps to prevent stitches from sinking into the fabric.

For the best results, while using aqua topping, you will need a backing. When you are through embroidering, you can remove the aqua topping by tearing it away or spraying water on it until it dissolves or there are no traces of the stabilizer.

Water Activated Stabilizer

This is another specialized stabilizer. As the name suggests, this stabilizer has an adhesive coating that is activated by water. It is a heavyweight stabilizer ensuring that you can make heavy stitches for your embroidery.

To remove this stabilizer after embroidery, you can tear it off or, lift an edge of the fabric and spray some moisture on it to loosen it off the fabric. Repeat this process until you have the whole stabilizer off the fabric.

When Should You Use Stabilizer

A stabilizer is most used when embroidering on stretchy fabrics. When you apply a stabilizer, as the name suggests, your fabric is stably held in place. This ensures that your embroidery stitches stay on the fabric as expected.

You can also use a stabilizer when embroidering or sewing light-colored fabrics. The stabilizer ensures that the back of your sewing or embroidery is not seen through the fabric.

When working on light fabrics, you may also need a stabilizer to ensure that stitches hold and the fabric doesn’t tear.

What Type Of Stabilizer Should You Use On Which Fabrics

With the different types of stabilizers available, which one is most suitable for the different fabrics that one is working on?

You can use a tear-away stabilizer when working on fabrics and garments such as T-shirts, canvas fabrics, leather fabrics, and corduroy.

Wash away stabilizer is best used in fabrics such as cotton sheets, woven dress-shirts and denim. While water-soluble stabilizer is used for silk, lycra, and terry-cloth fabrics.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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