Five Stabilizer Tips That Make a Difference

Stabilizer Tips with

As the foundation for your stitches, stabilizers play an important role in machine embroidery. These tips will help! There are so many variables with machine embroidery that advice is welcome, no matter how experienced that we are.  

Stabilizers May Need to be Preshrunk

Have you ever used a polymesh stabilizer and it looks great right out of the hoop but you get puckers after you iron it? Non-wovens can shrink from 1/8” to 1/4“. Even the slightest shrinkage can cause puckering. See how to pre-shrink your poly mesh with this blog and video link.

Stabilizers Must be Matched to Fabric Type

It doesn’t matter what stabilizer you use, if the fabric is too light to support the stitching, your embroidery will not turn out well. The fabric needs to support the stitch count no matter what stabilizer you use.

You have probably heard, “If you wear it, don’t tear it.” You will typically use a cutaway stabilizer on items that stretch, like clothing. See the blog here and watch the video here.

Stitch Count Matters when Choosing Stabilizers

A higher stitch count requires a sturdier stabilizer. Depending upon how many stitches your design includes, you will need a light, medium, or heavy weight stabilizer. Just what constitutes a light, medium, or heavy weight stabilizer? See the chart here and watch the video here.

Splice Edges for Larger Hoops

As hoops get larger and larger, you may not have the right size of stabilizer on hand. I fused Steam-A-Seam Lite along the outside edges of my stabilizer and fused two strips of stabilizer scraps on top. It worked fine since the seams were outside of my design area. I have also seen where some run a strip of school glue along the edges, overlap scraps, and fuse together with a hot iron.

Keep Track of Your Successes (and Failures)

Every discovery is a learning experience. Whether you use notecards, a notebook, or binder, or an embroidery journal, it helps to document what works for you as well as what doesn’t. Think of it as a recipe book, so you'll have correct recipes for future projects. Keeping track of fabrics, stabilizers, and even thread colors can be useful if you want to replicate the same results later.

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Debbie Henry - July 20, 2022

    Thanks for reading, Marilyn! I know that I am learning something all of the time. Just start stitching again. Most of what I have learned, good and bad, has come from experience. I say it’s like making pie crust. Once you do it a couple dozen times, it gets easier!

  • Marilyn - July 12, 2022

    Thank you for the tips. This is what is needed. Good basic advice Even though I have embroidery, it has been a long time away, and need the know how snd confidence to get started back.

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