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What Type Of Stabilizer To Use For Machine Embroidery

A stabilizer is an important element of the embroidery process. It is hooped together with the garment that needs to be embroidered to make sure that the stitches from the embroidery machine do not damage the garment. It also ensures that the fabric or garment being embroidered holds its position and stays as firm as possible.

Choosing the best stabilizer for the garment that you want to embroider is sometimes difficult. However, picking the right stabilizer will go a long way in making your embroidery process easier and the result beautiful.

There are four major types of stabilizers available in the market. Each of these stabilizers is favorable for different types of fabric during embroidery. Depending on the type of fabric you are embroidering, you need to know beforehand, what type of stabilizer you will use.

As an embroiderer, you should have all these stabilizers with you all the time.

What Type Of Stabilizer To Use For Machine Embroidery?

There are four types of stabilizers that you can use for machine embroidery. A cutaway stabilizer is the most common stabilizer used for machine embroidery. It is used to support knit fabrics and fabrics that can stretch.

The tear-away stabilizer is the other most common stabilizer for machine embroidery. It works best when it is used to stabilize woven fabrics. Wash away stabilizer is used with knit fabrics such as sweaters. It is available in the form of a plastic film or a light mesh.

Heat Away stabilizer is the other common stabilizer. It is rarely used and is suitable for fabrics that don’t need to be washed such as leather.

The names of stabilizers describe how they are removed from the garment once the embroidery is completed. So you can know what type of treatment to give the stabilizers after you have finished using them.

Stabilizers also come in different thicknesses Depending on the fabric to be embroidered, you may need to use a thin or thick piece of stabilizer.

How To Use Different Types Of Stabilizer Suitable For Machine Embroidery?

Method 1. Using Tear Away Stabilizer

Step 1. Consider the type of fabric that needs to be embroidered. The tear-away stabilizer is best used with fabrics that don’t stretch. Woven fabrics such as towels, leather garments, linen, cotton garments, and vinyl are the best fabrics to use the tear-away stabilizer during embroidery.

The stabilizer is available in different thicknesses. Use a heavy stabilizer when embroidering heavy fabrics such as towels and a light stabilizer for embroidering light fabrics such as linen.

Step 2. Hoop your stabilizer then your part of the garment that you need to embroider. Make sure that you mark and align the garment perfectly to the embroidery machine needle. This ensures that your embroidery is completed perfectly.

Step 3. The embroidery is now complete and you have to tear away the stabilizer off the garment. Hold it at the embroidery stitches gently and start tearing away the stabilizer from the stitches.

The tear-away stabilizer comes off the garment cleanly. It doesn’t leave any traces if you tear it off correctly.

Step 4. When you use the tear-away stabilizer, you will also need to use a temporary adhesive to enable it to hold your garment firmly.

Method 2. Using Cut-Away Stabilizer

Step 1. Choose a cutaway stabilizer when embroidering on fabrics that stretch such as t-shirts and polo shirts. You can also use it for fabrics such as denim, spandex, and sweatshirts. The cutaway stabilizer is available in a range of heavy and lightweight stabilizers for the different types of garments that you need to embroider.

Step 2. Hoop the stabilizer then spray a temporary adhesive onto it. Then, place your garment onto the stabilizer. The adhesive will hold your garment in place during the embroidery process. If you are embroidering on heavy material such as denim, you can use a basting stitch to hold it onto the stabilizer.

Step 3. When you finish the embroidery process when using the cut-away stabilizer, all you need to do is cut off the excess. The cut-away stabilizer is permanent. It is fixed to the embroidery and garment for the life of the garment unless the embroidery is removed. Use sharp scissors to cut the excess stabilizer when cutting near the embroidered part. This helps to maintain the stitches on the embroidery and to keep it neat.

Method 3. Using Wash Away Stabilizer

Step 1. Wash away stabilizer is best used with light fabrics such as sheer fabrics and organza. Fabric that is likely to get damaged if the embroidery stitches are seen through the fabric stitches. Wash away stabilizer is also the best stabilizer for when you are working on freestanding lace projects.

Step 2. Unlike other stabilizers, wash away or water-soluble stabilizer is used as a topping. So, instead of placing your fabric on the stabilizer on the hoop, you place the wash-away stabilizer on the garment. You may need to have a light tear-away stabilizer on the hoop that you place your garment on.

Step 3. When you have finished embroidering, you now need to remove your stabilizer. Remove any excess stabilizer gently by tearing it off. Then try to remove the stabilizer around the embroidery as manually as possible. The remaining stabilizer can be removed completely with water.

Use a spray bottle to spray water onto the stabilizer. The stabilizer then dissolves in the water and clears off the fabric. Where there’s a lot of the stabilizer on the embroidery, you can soak the garment in cold water. This will dissolve the stabilizer in a few minutes.

Method 4. Using Heat Away Stabilizer

Step 1. Choose a fabric that is suitable for the heat-away stabilizer. These are light fabrics that respond well to ironing rather than washing. Velvet, lace, and satin are some fabrics that would need a heat-away stabilizer for the embroidery process.

The heat-away stabilizer is a light to medium weight stabilizer. This is because it is mostly used to stabilize lightweight fabrics during embroidery.

Step 2. Like the wash-away stabilizer, the heat-away stabilizer is also a topping. You place it on top of the fabric that you are embroidering. This makes sure that the embroidery stitches hold properly and are not visible on the other side of the fabric.

Step 3. When you have finished embroidering you need to remove the stabilizer from your fabric or garment. To remove the heat-away stabilizer, all you need to do is apply heat on it. The stabilizer will crumble and you can easily wipe the remainder off your fabric.

If you will be ironing your stabilizer off your garment or fabric, make sure not to use the steam option. This will leave ugly stains on your fabric and embroidery.

Why Is Stabilizer Needed For Embroidery?

Embroidery is a simple process. Whether you are doing it by hand or machine. However, to improve the process and the result of embroidery, you will need a stabilizer. Also, to carry out embroidery on different types of fabrics, you will need a stabilizer. A stabilizer is a tool or effect required to enhance the embroidery process and to produce perfect results.

The stabilizer acts as a foundation for embroidery stitches going into the embroidered garment or fabric. Without a stabilizer, the fabric brought to the embroidery machine is likely to be damaged.

The results of embroidery without a stabilizer are likely to be a bunched-up fabric, with puckering threads and stitches in the place where the embroidery is supposed to be.

When you add a stabilizer, you provide a critical base for the embroidery stitches to hold on to on the garment. At the same time, you provide support for the garment being embroidered. Thus, it makes it possible for the garment to accept the additional thousands of stitches on its surface.

In the end, the embroidery process is much better when you use a stabilizer than when you embroider without.

How to Choose A Stabilizer For Machine Embroidery?

A stabilizer is an important component in the success of machine embroidery. However, there are several factors to consider before you pick a stabilizer from the available types. First, the fabric you want to embroider. Different fabrics respond differently to embroidery and stabilizers.

The different types of stabilizers are available in different thicknesses to suit the fabric you want to embroidery. Use thick stabilizers for thick fabrics and light stabilizers for light fabrics. When you use the right stabilizer for the right fabric, your embroidery needle and stitches hold easily.

The other factor to consider when choosing a stabilizer is the embroidery design. How large or complex is your embroidery pattern. If you want to embroider a design with many colors and that will occupy a large part of the garment, you need a stabilizer.

Machine embroidery gets thousands of stitches through a garment or fabric. If the garment doesn’t have a good foundation in the stabilizer, it is likely to get damaged. Use a stabilizer to maintain the integrity of the garment and the embroidery design itself.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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