Are you looking for the best stabilizer for machine embroidery?
Stabilizers are heavily used and recommended by those who enjoy both hand embroidery and machine embroidery. They are widely used and are a vital part of the embroidery process.
The hardest part is to know which stabilizer is right for your project. So decided to put this helpful guide together to help you find the right stabilizer for your project and fabric style.
What Is Stabilizer?
First of all what is stabilizer? For those of you who are reading this to do more research on your new venture into embroidery might not completely understand what this is and want to know more.
The stabilizer is a fabric-like material that keeps your fabric stiff and stable. It prevents it from moving around, puckering or stretching during embroidery.
It is can be ironed on to add strength to your exisiting fabric to allow to fabric to stay strong while the needle is pushed in and out.
What To Consider When Choosing A Stabilizer?
There are a couple of things you need to consider when chosing your stabilizer.
Not all stabilizers are suited to all projects, fabric types etc. So it is best to do you research to find out which is best for what style and fabric weight.
You may find yourself using a stabilizer and working out that it wasn’t strong enough or didn’t do what you wanted which has led to you needing to find an alternative.
The Type Of Fabric
You will want to take into account the type of fabric. This is the msot important part of picking a stabilizer for your project.
Fabrics that have knitted fabrics like sweaters, jumpers and sweatshirts can be a little harder to handle and move more during sewing and embroidery. These would require a tougher and stronger stabilizer to allow for that extra movement while under the needle.
A second factor to consider is the weight of your fabric, if you are using a heavy weight fabric then you stabilizer needs to match that. There is no point using a lightweight stabilizer on heavy fabrics as it just won’t hold and do the job properly.
Such as light fabrics will require lightweight stabilizer, more often than not the lightweight fabrics require more movement and drape which makes using a lightweight stabilizer more ideal as it allows this movement.
Something else to consider is the design you are creating. The more intricate the design the stronger stabilizer should be used, the more basic and simple the lighter.
A heavier stabilizer will be needed to support the more stitches going through the fabric. This will help keep the fabric strong and intact.
Also if you are looking to make quite a large design you will want to consider using a stronger stabilizer to ensure that the whole area is well supported and strong.
Solid stitch filled designs can benefit from a medium weight cut-away stabilizer and light running stitch designs can get the best results from a sheer mesh cut away or tear-away stabilizer.
The Final Product
Deciding the best stabilizers for machine embroidery will depend on the overall look at the end. Whether you want a clean finish for the back or you don’t mind the stabilizer being seen will depend on what you choose.
If you prefer to have a clear back you will want to look at using a heat soluble or water soluble to remove the excess stabilizer to give a clear back.
Other stabilizers like the tear-away and cut-away give you the option to have a cleaning edging around the embroidery but still is there to keep the embroidery strong and intact.
Many people find these styles unsightly which leads them to use the water-soluble and heat soluble. The benefit of using the tear away and cut-away stabilizers is that the stabilizer fabric remains, giving continuous support to the embroidery.
What Are The Different Types Of Stabilizers?
As I have briefly mentioned above there are different types of stabilizers which work in different ways for a number of different fabrics, designs and looks.
Here is a little more information of the different types of stabilizers.
One of the most common stabilizers for machine embroidery. It is used with any fabric more commong for those that have stretch in it.
Fabrics such as knitted fabrics similar to those used in t-shirts, gold shirts and thin jersey fabrics benefit from using cut-away stabilizer.
Other fabrics which are a looser weave such as stretchy denim, twill, lycra and spandex should use cut-away as it gives the fabric better support and also stops the fabric from slipping and moving.
Cut-away stabilizers are permanent which means they will be there on the backside of the fabric. This is the better style of stabilizer as it prevents the fabric from bunching and the threads from tangling.
The name is a little give away to the style of stabilizer this is, as it allows the excess stabilizer to be cut away leaving the remaining to provide continuous support to the embroidery long term.
Cut away stabilizer comes in a range of weights from heavyweight to lightweight.
Tear-away stabilizer is designed to be layered with the fabric but not ironed in place. It is great for using with fabrics such as velvet which need delicate handling.
In this case you should use a light adhesive spray to hold the fabric and stabilizer together and place in a hoop.
Much sturdier fabrics that can withstand needles and pin, you can either tack or pin the stabilizer in place and place in the embroidery hoop. Making sure the pins are out of the range of the embroidery design.
Once you have completed the embroidery you can the simply tear away the excess stabilizer from the edges leaving the main embroidery area behind.
This can help you get closer to the stitches to eliminate the amount of excess stabilizer that is left behind.
Using these styles of stabilizers can be an advantage or disadvantage. The advantage is that the remaining stabilizer is there permantly to keep the embroidery stable and tough.
Though this can also be the disadvantage where you can always see the stabilizer on the back.
Another type of stabilizer is the wash away, pretty self explanitary. This is perfect for those projects where you don’t want to have any remaining on the back of your project.
They come as a plastic or mesh form and work with your fabric to wash away. Be sure to make sure you fabric is washable before using this style of stabilizer.
Using the wash-away stabilizer does have it’s downsides as it doesn’t offer as much support or strength than the tear-away and cut-away stabilizers. This style of stabilizer is not recommended to use for heavy, comlex and intricate or full designs.
Fabrics such as terry cloth and a sweater knot can benefit from using a wash-away stabilizer as a top layer while using the cut-away or tear-away on the back.
Heat-away stabilizers are very much like the wash-away but with heat. Mainly used for fabrics that are not suitable to be washed but can withstand heat.
Fabrics such as velvet, satin, lace and silk. Things such as lace work are particularly well suited to heat-away stabilizer.
The heat- away stabilizer works in a similar sense to the was-away as heat is applied to the stabilizer it breaks down and dissolves and can be brushed away.
This stabilizer is to be applied to the top of your design and is removed when the heat is applied. This stabilizer along with the wash-away is not as popular to use as it are designed to be used with delicate fabrics.
4 Best Stabilizers For Machine Embroidery
Here are some of the best stabilizers on the market from cut-away to water soluble.
Sulky Soft and Sheer Cut-Away Permanent Stabilizer
The Sulky Soft and Sheer cut-away stabilizer is made from a non-woven nylon material. It is soft on the skin which makes this a perfect stabilizer to use on clothing such as t-shirts and tops.
It is also ideal for use on baby clothing like baby grows, jumpsuits and bibs.
Pellon Stitch-N Lite Tear Away Embroidery Stabilizer
Pellon is a well-known brand and is often used in many projects. I have referenced Pellon in a couple of different posts for best interfacings and fusible webbings for applique.
This is a tear-away stabilizer which is perfect for projects you want to have a little stabilizer left behind but not so much that it is bulk or ruins the astethic of the design.
Buy Here On Amazon: Pellon Stitch-N Lite Tear Away Embroidery Stabilizer, White 12 x 11yd
Sulky Totally Stable Iron-On Tear-Away Stabilizer Roll
Sulky is a popular brand both here in the UK and is the USA. This is another tear away stabilizer perfect for creating sturdy embroidery designs without leaving too much bulk and mess on the back.
Buy Here On Amazon: Sulky 12-inch x 12 yd Totally Stable Iron-On Tear-Away Stabilizer Roll
Sulky Stabilizer Water Soluble White
Though not as common to find this is the water soluble or wash-away version of the stabilizer. It is easy to use and comes neatly packaged.
Some of the reviews have even expressed how useful this is to use on english paper piecing, being able to leave the paper in and simply wash it away later on in the process.
Buy Here On Amazon: Sulky stabilizer, White, 20″ X 36″
There are plenty more stabilzers on the market that are just as good but are harder to find. They are often dependent on your local within the world and the availbility. I hope you have foudn this guide helpful and interesting and helped you decide which stabilizer is best for you.