Stabilizer Weights Simplified

Stabilizer Weights Simplified

If you need to use a light weight tear-away stabilizer, do you know what that means?

Stabilizers can be so confusing. As if the different types are not enough of a challenge, each type is available in various weights. Light weight. medium weight. heavy weight. What does that really mean?

Fortunately, Bonnie has extensive knowledge of such things after working and teaching for a major sewing center in Grapevine, Texas, plus years of digitizing and embroidery experience. Design size, stitch count, and density dictate the weight of stabilizers that you should use in machine embroidery.

Stitching Sizes vs. Stabilizer Weights

Stabilizers support embroidery stitches and help to prevent puckering of the fabric. The more stitches your design has, the heavier the stabilizer that you need to use.

5,000 – 7,000 stitches => Light Weight Stabilizer

8,000 – 20,000 stitches => Medium Weight Stabilizer

20,000+ stitches => Heavy Weight Stabilizer

Determining Stabilizer Weights

Choosing the proper weight of stabilizer is not as easy as buying a certain brand name. There is no Acme Light-Weight Stabilizer on the market. Each brand offers different weights within each type. There are medium weight cutaways and medium weight tearaways, etc.

Stabilizers are categorized by weights in ounces:

Light Weight Stabilizer => 1.2 to 1.8 ounces

Medium Weight Stabilizer => 1.8 to 2.2 ounces

Heavy Weight Stabilizer => High 2s to 3.2 ounces

These guidelines are just a starting point. Record your results in an embroidery journal to ensure future project successes and use what works for you. Bonnie has a great video that goes into more detail about matching up stabilizers with projects here.

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired By Bonnie

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  • Bonnie Welsh - September 13, 2023

    Marlene—You stumped me on this question so I called the manufacturer. They said they determine the weight of a stabilizer by weighing 1 square yard of it. Obviously those yardages are cut down to different sizes during production but you should come pretty close if what you’re weighing is equal to 1 square yard. You can also tell the difference between light, medium and heavy by the feel or “hand” and thickness. =)

  • Marlene Clausen - September 13, 2023

    Stabilizers weight “x” ounces . . . but what exactly is weighed to determine the weight? i.e., 1.2 ounces per “a square foot” or 36" per width of stabilizer? Sometimes the label gets lost and there is no way to tell if a stabilizer is light, medium, or heavy except by weighing it, but what EXACTLY should I weigh?

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 15, 2021

    Linda—How large is your USB would be my first question. If it’s too large your machine might not be able to read it. Your machine won’t read BX fonts as they would need to be saved into your format prior to placing in the machine. Keep the BX format so that you can just type the letters want like you would on your computer. But once you’ve got the lettering like you want it in Embrilliance, save to your machine format and save that to your USB. Some machines will not read a USB if it has other formats on it.

  • Linda Anderson - September 15, 2021

    Very helpful! I have another problem. Maybe you can help me. When I trx my USB stick it says file not found. What am I doing wrong. I formatted on both pc and machine. It looks fine on PC but won’t trx with USB. It is a letter file. I have embrillancd. Is it something to do with the BX fonts? I have tried and TRIED and called the dealer. Watched videos. Can you help me please? If you need my #!it is 402-314-1577. Wymore, BE TY

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