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“Stabilizers” in the sewing world are probably most commonly known to those who do machine embroidery, but garment sewists should get these products on their radar too, because they can be super helpful.
What are Stabilizers?
In the sewing world, stabilizers are sort of like interfacings, except they are often (not always) fully removed after being used in a project. While interfacing is used to give fabrics more body or to preserve a shape (like a collar point or lapel), stabilizers are used to support stitches during machine embroidery, decorative stitching, hemming, buttonholes, etc.
How are Stabilizers Named? What do Stabilizer Names Mean?
Stabilizers are named by how they adhere to the fabric/project and how they are removed. So, you’ll see products called “Fusible Tear-Away” or “Wash-Away Stabilizer” or “Wet ‘n Stick”, and so on and so forth. The names may also include something that indicates the weight of the stabilizer- like “heavy” or “sheer”.
In this podcast series, we’re going to thumb through the stabilizers included in the Sulky Stabilizer Sampler. If you order the SewHere Box: REFRESH! edition, you got this pack! If not, you can order it here!
We hope our discussion of these stabilizers helps you decide what/if you need to keep anything on hand in your sewing room to make your life easier!
What Size Stabilizer Do I Need?
Stabilizers can come on rolls, in packets, or even in pre-cut sheets that are the perfect size for your embroidery hoop! How you buy will depend on how much stabilizer you plan on using and your storage set up. Sometimes, we stored our stabilizer library (stabi-library?) on an according style wine- bottle rack! If you don’t have space for big rolls, flat packets can be a better option!
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What are Cut Away Stabilizers?
Cut Away stabilizers are just that- you cut them away when you’re finished. That means that some of the stabilizer is left after you’re finished stitching and removing what you can.
When Do I Use a Cut Away Stabilizer?
Cut Away stabilizers are generally used to stabilize knit fabrics during machine embroidery. When you embroider a knit garment, you need to make sure that the area you stitch on never stretches again!
Different Types of Cut Away Stabilizers
These are the Cut-Away Stabilizers (and their descriptions from Sulky) we discuss in this podcast episode:
Cut-Away Plus: “Sulky Cut-Away Plus stabilizer is an acid free permanent, medium weight, non-woven stabilizer with a soft hand and excellent stability for knits and outerwear like jackets, sweaters and sweatshirts. We recommend it as a backing for dense designs, open-weave fabrics with a complex design and high-detail embroidery designs. It is permanent through washings, acting as permanent support for the thread.”
Soft ‘n Sheer: “Sulky Soft n Sheer stabilizer is an acid free permanent, lightweight, textured, non-woven nylon that has excellent stretch resistance and is ultra-soft next to your skin. It provides great permanent stability to stitch on lightweight knits and woven fabrics. Excellent stretch resistance eliminates pulling or sagging of the embroidery design during stitching and remains with fabric for continued stabilization through laundering and wearing.”
Fuse ‘n Stitch: “Sulky Fuse n Stitch stabilizer is a permanent, firm, crisp, heavyweight, iron-on stabilizer that is ideal for projects that need extra stiffness and retained support. Provides a permanent fused stability to stitch on all medium to heavyweight fabrics for more professional looking results. Especially suitable for high-stitch count or high-stitch density embroidery designs. The precision dot coating will allow bubble-free adhering. Its grid-like structure folds a perfect edge. You can use as an iron-on permanent interfacing, too.”
Soft ‘n Sheer Extra: “Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer Extra stabilizer is a fusible version of our Soft ‘n Sheer stabilizer. It is an acid free permanent, medium weight, textured, iron-on, non-woven nylon that is ideal for dense embroidery designs. Excellent stretch resistance eliminates pulling or sagging of the embroidery design during stitching and remains with fabric for continued stabilization through laundering and wearing.”
Tender Touch: “Sulky Tender Touch stabilizer is a permanent lightweight, iron-on stabilizer that protects sensitive skin from scratchy stitches by fusing it onto the back of embroidered garments. As a soft and flexible knit mesh it retains the hand and drape of the fabric when used as an interfacing or in fabric manipulation. It is Ideal as an iron-on lining in garment construction.”
Stitch ‘n Seal: “Seals the back of waterproof fabric after machine embroidery. Embroider on waterproof or water-repellent fabrics without compromising their waterproof properties. Just apply Stitch ‘n Seal to the back of your embroidery – water and moisture will not penetrate the fabric through the tiny embroidery needle punctures.”