Monday, March 9, 2015

Stabilizer Savvy 101

One of the first ‘must-haves’ after you purchase an embroidery machine is stabilizer.  Not only do you need stabilizer for every single one of your embroidery projects, but using the correct type of stabilizer will make the difference in having a successful project, instead of one that's destined for the trash bin (or worse yet - the seam ripper.) Despite its importance, stabilizer may be the most confusing thing to purchase! Let's go over the most common types of stabilizers used with "in the hoop" projects to help clear up some confusion...

I've tried many brands of stabilizers over the years and firmly believe Floriani stabilizers are the best. I like them so much we started carrying this single brand on our website last year! In addition to having a superior product, the folks at RNK, the sole distributors of Floriani products, are some of the nicest people in this industry! Floriani offers a fabulous beginner's kit with several basic stabilizers to get you started, plus a bonus set of their gorgeous embroidery thread.

Click HERE to shop for more Floriani Stabilizers.

Here is a quick guide to help you as you navigate the wonderful world of stabilizers!

Tearaway Stabilizer

This type of stabilizer describes the fact that once your embroidery is stitched out, the stabilizer is easily torn away when you are ready to remove it. Because it is (usually) lightweight and less dense, it is best used with designs with lower stitch counts, and woven fabrics like cotton that can withstand being pulled. It is ideal in many in the hoop projects and the type of stabilizer I use most of the time.

Click HERE to shop Floriani Tearaway Stabilizers

Cutaway Stabilizer

Like the name states, cutaway stabilizer must be trimmed using scissors. It is dense and strong, so it can support heavy embroidery designs. The resulting design will also be less likely to distort or pucker with normal wear.

My go-to cutaway is Floriani's No Show. This type of stabilizer can be used on knits, such as t-shirts and stays soft and flexible under the fabric. I also use it in my in the hoop projects, such as purses, hot pads, coasters, and more. It is available in fusible and non-fusible varieties.

Click HERE to shop Floriani No Show Mesh Stabilizers

Sticky Stabilizer

Sticky stabilizer is a paper-backed product in which you peel part of the paper away after hooping to expose a sticky area that will hold your fabric in place. This stabilizer is perfect for items that are difficult to hoop.

Sticky stabilizer is also available with wet-to-stick activation where instead of peeling away paper, you spritz the stabilizer with water when you are ready to place your fabric on the hoop.

Both types of sticky stabilizer can be used in conjunction with a cutaway or tearaway stabilizer for added stability. I use Floriani's Perfect Stick Stabilizer along with Fusible No Show Mesh when I embroider T-shirts.

Click HERE to shop Floriani Perfect Stick Stabilizer 

Water Soluble Topping

This stabilizer is used on TOP of your embroidery project, in conjunction with tearaway or cutaway stabilizer. Water Soluble Topping helps keep your stitches from sinking down into the fabric when you're using a knit or high-pile fabric such as terry. It's also helpful to use over 'in the hoop' projects that have many layers which may get in the way of your presser foot.

Click HERE to shop Floriani Water Soluble Topping

I hope I've given you a nice overview without all of the overwhelm that often comes with trying to select stabilizers for your embroidery projects! Feel free to email us with any stabilizer questions at

Happy Stitching!