What stabilizers do I need to get?

The Economical Embroiderer Series: Stabilizer

I have had fun doing the research to become an Economical Embroiderer! 

This week we are talking about stabilizers, and how to be economical with stabilizers.  Some people will go to extreme lengths to save a few pennies on stabilizers, and I am not going to suggest any of these solutions – I will briefly talk about them and why I don’t suggest following those suggestions, but that is going to be it on that subject.  I don’t really want to ruffle those darn feathers today!

START OFF WITH THE BASICS:  When you are starting off building your stabilizer stash, it can be quite overwhelming because there are so many options out there.  Where do you start, let alone how do you save money?   In this situation, my advice would be to start with the basics so you can get doing some embroidery.  The basic stabilizers are cutaway, tear away and WSS (water-soluble stabilizer).  That’s it!  3 rolls and you can get started on any embroidery.  Now there are different weights, sizes, cuts and so many other options for each kind of stabilizer.  I say go for the middleweight and get the fabric type WSS stabilizer, that will get you going.

THE BIGGER THE BETTER:  The only way to really be economical with stabilizer is to purchase the stabilizer in bulk – the bigger the roll the more money you will save.  Again, stick with the basics on cutaway and tear away.  You can really save a lot of money if you purchase larger rolls of stabilizer – for production purposes, we purchase huge rolls of 500 yards of tear-away stabilizer – it’s a massive roll – I only wished it lasted longer!

USE COMMON SENSE AND KNOW YOUR PRICES!  you always have to be careful when making ANY purchases – use common sense and of course, know your prices. If you are purchasing large rolls, make sure the price per yard is less than the smaller rolls.  Also, use your common sense – make sure that what you are purchasing is actually used for embroidery – that is super important – and make sure you will use that particular stabilizer.  Some people have purchased large rolls of stabilizer only to find out that they hate how it hoops or the end results in their hoop.  For that reason, spend the extra money and don’t worry so much about being economical, and purchase a SMALL ROLL of that stabilizer before you purchase the large roll.  Test out the type of stabilizer and make sure it is useful for you – and once you decide that it is, THEN purchase the large roll.  Having a large roll of stabilizer that saved you money and you hate using really is not saving you money in the end, is it?  Know your prices and make sure you are getting a good deal – some stores will just make it look like you are saving money – know your prices and make sure it is a great price.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ROOM FOR LARGER ROLLS:  Yeah, that may seem like a stupid thing to say, but some of the economical rolls can be very large – larger and heavier than you think!  You must be able to use the large rolls, and you must be able to store them somewhere.   In our workroom, we have a large strong table that can support the weight of the roll, and a cutting board underneath it so that we can cut the sizes that we need.  If you don’t have a set up like this,  you may not be able to use a large roll effectively.  Make sure you have room in your workspace and make sure you can get at the stabilizer easily when you need to!

REMEMBER YOU PAY FOR CONVENIENCE: If you purchase pre-cut stabilizer of any sort – even perforated stabilizer of a certain size, remember that you are paying for that convenience.  Sometimes it can be a lot more money per square if it is pre-cut!  Now I am not saying that pre-cut stabilizer is not economical – it certainly can be under some circumstances.  Production would be a good example of when the pre-cut cutaway stabilizer is economical.    If you need to stitch say 40 shirts on your 4×4 hoop, it will save you tons of time to just grab a perfectly sized square of stabilizer and then hoop and go.  In that example, the extra cost of the pre-cut stabilizer is saved in time.  Time is money, and if pre-cut stabilizer will save you time, it will save you money too.  I have a bunch of pre-cut stabilizers left over from our t-shirt production days, and I seriously rarely use it!  It does look great sitting on my shelf though – almost inviting me to do some 4×4 designs once in a while just to use it up!

NOT RECOMMENDED:  Here is where some feathers may get slightly ruffled – but remember this is just the writer’s opinion here.  I don’t think anyone should bother stitching scraps of stabilizer together to be economical, for any reason.  The stabilizer in your embroidery is the foundation of all embroidery – the foundation of your hooping and material.   If that foundation is weakened for any reason (such as running stitches holding it together), then your embroidery is going to be “weaker” as well.  If I have larger pieces leftover from other jobs, I will cut them into 6 x6 squares and save them for the 4×4 hoop, but the rest of the scraps won’t fit into any other hoop,  and those small or medium pieces need to be thrown away.  Remember that your foundation is everything.    Being an economical embroiderer is great, but I don’t think you can take shortcuts with your stabilizer foundation.

KITCHEN PRODUCTS ARE NOT STABILIZERS AND ARE NOT DESIGNED FOR EMBROIDERY ON YOUR EXPENSIVE FINE-TUNED EMBROIDERY MACHINE.  Enough said, right?  Foundations, foundations, foundations.   Coffee filters are for coffee, and you don’t make coffee on your embroidery machine….or do you?

Great embroidery starts with great products that will ensure that your embroidery looks great for a long time!

Until next time,

Sue

The one tool all embroiders MUST HAVE!!

Are you lost when it comes to selecting the right stabilizer? You need a compass to navigate the mysteries of embroidery!

Not a compass to help you with directions, but an EMBROIDERER’S COMPASS! It is one of the best things to happen to embroidery – this is the handiest tool you will ever have.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS EMBROIDERY TOOL.

WHO NEEDS THE EMBROIDERER’S COMPASS? Everyone, including me. I am a seasoned embroiderer, but when it comes to fancy fabrics and stabilizer, I am truly lost. Do you know offhand what stabilizer to use on gauze? how about bulky knits? Yeah, me neither and that information is kind of difficult to find…unless….you have this amazing tool!

Let’s take a look at it. Keep reading, you will LOVE this:

THIS IS THE BEST EMBROIDERY TOOL YOU WILL EVER HAVE!!!https://www.shop.dzgns.com/products/embroiderers-compass?_pos=1&_sid=d65fb1234&_ss=r

zOOM RIGHT IN AND CHECK IT OUT! Here is the fantastic information you will get with just a turn on the compass! First, find the fabric that you want to use. The top window tells you the correct stabilizer to use. The next window will tell you what needles to use – the size and the type. NEED MORE? The embroiderer’s compass has more! Check out the comments section and get tips and tricks for the fabric.

SO MANY EMBROIDERY QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED WITH THIS EMBROIDERY TOOL.

Let’s look at the first example: embroidery on velvet. I really don’t know the procedure for embroidery on velvet other than you can’t hoop it because velvet crushes. That is not enough information to get the job done. I need more to be able to successfully embroider on velvet! Dial-up velvet and get all the information fast, easy and complete.

velvet requires two stabilizers!! did you know that?

Did you know that velvet requires two stabilizers? Ok, so now what needle do you use, and what are the steps to get the best embroidery results?

This is how to embroider on velvet!!

Look at all of the information that you get. Everything you need to know about how to correctly embroider on velvet. The Embroiderer’s compass shows you the way!!

Let’s try another one. How about MOISTURE WICKING FABRIC? These are expensive garments, so you better know what you are doing! Let’s navigate the compass:

Boom! the answer is right there in front of you, and you can start stitching with confidence. This tool will save you time and money and will allow you to say “yes, I can stitch on that” each and every time something new comes to your machine. I say it’s priceless.

For $24.99, this tool is worth it…for EVERYONE WHO DOES EMBROIDERY! Check it out for yourself, you won’t regret it. I am very happy that I have one and I am going to store it right beside my machine.

Happy stitching on any fabric!

Until next time,

Sue Brown

(happy to check out embroidery tools and test them for you)

Anita Goodesign Quarter-Turn Quilt with a twist…a Halloween twist!

Think outside the box: OML Embroidery shows you how to make small changes to any embroidery design and create a new looking embroidery design. Anita Goodesign Quarter Turn Quilt from the All Access February 2019 edition. If you don’t have All Access, then you can get this amazing machine embroidery design here: https://www.anitagoodesign.com/produc…

Here is what you need to get started on this machine embroidery project. This is an embroidery design for beginner embroiderers and advanced embroiderers too.

Anita Goodesign Quarter Turn Quilt embroidery pattern , cutaway stabilizer (no show mesh cutaway stabilizer works best for quilting projects), fabric – you can use a layer cake for this project, depending on the size of the embroidery design you select, embroidery thread, tacky spray, quilt batting, duck-billed applique scissors.

The first step in this machine embroidery project is the foundation of the quilt block. Hoop the cutaway stabilizer and then add your quilt batting. Once it is stitched down, you can get your applique scissors out and trim the batting as close to the line as possible. Now you are ready to get stitching some applique in the hoop! Each applique piece has two parts – the first stitch is the placement stitch and then you add your applique fabric, then the second stitch is going to hold down the fabric. Once that has stitched, then you can use your applique scissors to trim the fabric.

In between some of the applique ITH in the hoop pieces, there will be satin stitches to cover up the applique raw edges. The satin stitches should be in a contrasting embroidery thread color so the satin stitches really stand out. Once you have finished all of the applique pieces and have trimmed them all with your applique scissors, then it’s time to sit back and watch the embroidery magic happen with all of the embroidery detail work: embroidered flowers, decorations and quilting detail work to complete the embroidery project.

Stabilizer: How important is it?

VERY IMPORTANT.

Knowing what stabilizer to use is very important when you are creating or completing embroidery.  You need to know the correct one, every time.  When I first started doing embroidery and digitizing many years ago,  someone said this to me:

You are only as good as your hooping skills.

That didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me at the time, but it sure does now!   Let me explain this to you in a few ways.  Hooping skills mean being able to hoop the garment or hat properly, but also using the correct tension and the right stabilizer, and adding a topping stabilizer as needed.  You can be an awesome digitizer, but if you can’t hoop properly, you won’t be able to sell too many designs because your “show off” picture won’t look great..  Take that into consideration when you are creating designs or doing test stitch outs – it may not necessarily be the digitizing that is at fault, it is often your hooping skills.

First, let’s take a quick look at the word stabilizer – which is a bit different in embroidery, but has the same meaning:

 

stabilizer in embroidery

definition of “stabilizing” from dictionary.com

“to make or hold stable, firm or steadfast”  That is what the different forms of stabilizer will do – it keeps the material stable for you to embroider.  Have you ever embroidered without stabilizer? This is possible on some fabrics, but otherwise the embroidery won’t look good for very long – it will get wrinkled and terrible looking before long, especially after washing any garment.  So that’s the key – the stabilizer is to make the fabric stable and secure and keep it in place while you embroider.

What happens when you use the wrong stabilizer?  Quite a few things can happen, but let’s look at a few of them.

OUT OF REGISTRATION:  this is a big one, that happens all the time.  If you are stitching a design with a thin single stitch outline, for example, you need to have the fabric stabilized properly, or the outline will be out of registration.    That means that the outline running stitch will not match up with the embroidery – it will be outside where it should be or inside – either way, your embroidery design will not look right.  Some registration issues can come from pull compensation or too many layers, but often it can be because poor stabilization technique.  The solution?  Stabilize it better.  If you are using the thinner tear away stabilizer, switch to the thicker and more solid cut away stabilizer.

CRAPPY LOOKING EMBROIDERY:  I don’t know how to describe this in better words – if your embroidery looks less than sharp, letters are not clear and things don’t look right when you are stitching them out, kind of messy maybe- even though it looks great on the computer -stabilizer is the first thing I change.  Depending on the fabric, you may need to use 2 layers of stabilizer to make the embroidery look good.  Of course, there may be many other contributing factors, but stabilizer is certainly one of them, and it’s also the easiest to try – if it works then you have saved yourself tons of time at the computer trying to figure out some solution!

STITCHES DISAPPEAR:  Yep, this can happen.  Say you are doing to do a simple monogram on a towel, like a bath towel or something of that nature, if you were to use the wrong topper (which is still called stabilizer), the stitches will disappear into the towel, and you will wonder what you are embroidering!  Even though this stabilizer is on the top, it’s still stabilizer – water soluble stabilizer (or WSS for short) sits on the TOP of the towel to provide a good base for the stitches – so you can see them when you have finished  Of course, you must use stabilizer on the bottom too, but either tear away or cut away.  The WSS on the top will hold up the stitches from the nap of the towel, enabling you to have beautiful stitches, even on the thickest of towels.  WSS can be used in a few different ways, but it is necessary for embroidering on towels or anything else with a big nap.  WSS in some form or another is necessary – and the design, any design will look terrible without it.

There are many other examples of what can go wrong if you don’t have your hooping skills up to par!  Learn embroidery, learn to hoop properly to have amazing stitch outs and better embroidery.   Seriously, you can be a better digitizer by keeping up with your hooping skills.

REMEMBER:  YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR HOOPING SKILLS.   So hoop properly and show off your embroidery!

mother of dachshunds embroidery design