Stabilizers are an important part of machine embroidery. But, the different types of stabilizers can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips for when and how to use stabilizers.
Paper-release and water-activated adhesives stabilizers are a must-have in any machine embroiderer’s toolbox. Let’s look at their limitations and benefits.
Adhesive stabilizers make it possible to embroider an item without subjecting it to the stress of traditional hooping. If you are working with velvets or delicate fabrics traditional hooping can mar the fabric. Adhesive stabilizers can be usied to hoop small items such as cuffs and collars, or to position an embroidered motif close to an edge.
Here are other ways in which to use adhesive stabilizer
- Cut a piece of slightly larger than the hoop, remove the paper backing and place it adhesive side up on a flat surface.
- Place the inner/outer hoops (tightened) backside down onto the adhesive stabilizer.
- Wrap the corners up and over the edges to secure.
Here’s another way to use adhesive stabilizer.
- Hoop the stabilizer with its adhesive surface face up.
- Score the paper covering and remove it from the area within the hoop, or lightly moisten a water activated stabilizer to activate its adhesive. Use a light touch when moistening the stabilizer. A damp sponge or foam paintbrush swiped across the stabilizer surface is usually sufficient. Too much water results in a very strong bond that makes removing the stabilizer after embroidery a challenge.
- Position the item to be embroidered on the hooped stabilizer and smooth it into place with your fingers.
- Use the hoop’s markings or placement grid to ensure the item is straight and positioned properly within the embroidery area. For best results, allow a minute or two for a water-activated bond to set before moving the hoop to the machine.
Handle adhesive stabilizers with care and follow these tips.
- The adhesive on some stabilizers can build up on the needle, leading to thread breakage. Keep a needle cleaning packet or alcohol wipes handy, and clean the needle when you change thread colors. Water-activated adhesives are less likely to gum the needle than paper-release varieties. Use the smallest hoop appropriate for the design, or consider motifs that do not have detailed outlines digitized to stitch last.
- Use caution when releasing the fabric from the stabilizer to avoid fabric damage (such as pulling loops in terrycloth). If a water-activated stabilizer bonds too securely to the fabric, try moistening it again to make removal easier.
What’s your favorite way to use adhesive stabilizers?
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