The One Stabilizer You Should Never Be Without


Picture of Octopus Spooky Buddies machine applique designs by


Do you think you need to have six or eight different stabilizers on hand? Maybe not!

Tearaway, cutaway, and wash-away, come in all different weights and blends. It’s hard to know what types of stabilizers to have on hand, especially if you are just starting out in machine embroidery.

A medium-weight cutaway (1.8 to 2.2 oz.) will work with many of your embroidery projects.

Applique Embroidery on Cotton

A medium-weight cutaway stabilizer works quite well with any of Bonnie’s adorable applique designs. Be sure to start with a good quality quilting cotton.

Mesh cutaways allow for a soft drape, making it a good choice when stitching quilt blocks. There are also cutaway stabilizers on the market that will dissolve in the laundry over time, leaving your quilts and throws soft and cozy.

Stitching on Knits

The old adage is, “If you wear it, don’t tear it.” If you are embroidering on a t-shirt or sweatshirt, use a medium-weight cutaway stabilizer to prevent puckering.

Bonnie recommends a nude color no-show mesh stabilizer on white shirts to prevent white stabilizer showing through the shirt.

Some cutaway stabilizers are also fusible which helps to keep fabric from stretching out of place while hooping and embroidering.

Otherwise, use a temporary spray adhesive, like Sulky KK 2000 or Odif 505 to adhere the stabilizer to the shirt before you hoop.

Embroidering on Denim or Canvas

Denim requires a medium-weight cut-away because, believe it or not, it stretches. Much of today’s denim is a blend of cotton and polyester or spandex. Even 100% cotton denim stretches with wear, so stitching on a cutaway keeps embroidery from being distorted over time.

Canvas is much the same, even though it is a sturdy fabric.

The adorable featured image is from Bonnie’s Spooky Buddies!

What stabilizer do you recommend always having on hand?

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Christine Tyler - September 10, 2023

    Love the information from your site 👍 thank you 😊

  • Marla Ford - March 09, 2023

    Great advise new at this sewing

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 11, 2021

    Irene—Debbie H. wrote this article but I totally agree with you. This is one stabilizer you shouldn’t be without.

  • Irene Wilt - September 09, 2021

    Hi Bonnie,
    Just read your article on stabalizers and think you totally nailed it!! Thanks sew much, Irene:)

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