The Ultimate Guide to Embroidery Stabilizers [Infographic]
Looking for the right kind of embroidery backing, but not sure where to start? Stabilizers come in three main categories: cutaway, tearaway, and water-soluble. There are many subtypes within these categories, but this chart outlines which stabilizer is best for specific fabric types.
Bookmark this page or print out our table you will always know what type of stabilizer or backing to use with any fabric you can imagine!
Start out with your fabric and check out our suggested backing type. For example, spandex is better on cutaway backing because of its stretchiness, while tearaway is better for lighter fabrics like translucent silk.
Once you’ve consulted our chart and figured out the broad category appropriate for your embroidery fabric, then you can do your research on other features of the stabilizers. Weight is a major component of choosing the right stabilizer that you should look into before deciding on the right stabilizer for your embroidery project.
As you’re embroidering, it’s important to keep in mind that fabric manufacturers don’t usually intend for their fabrics to be embellished. Embroidering can take a toll on fabric which can change the way your design turns out. Because of this, you need to add support to make your fabric stronger and more stable in order to support the stitches you’re adding when you embroider a piece. That’s where embroidery stabilizers come into play!
Embroidery stabilizers, also known as backing, will give your fabric added support while you embroider. Embroidering without stabilizer can have consequences for your fabric. Gaping, dimpling, puckering, and stretching are all consequences of embroidering without a stabilizer. If you don’t use a stabilizer, you will run into problems which may hurt your design.
There are many different types of stabilizer specifically designed to complement different types of fabric. The thickness and stretch of your base fabric can help you determine which stabilizer to use. You should also consider density and the overall stitch count of your design.
Cutaway stabilizers are good for fabrics that need support both during and after embroidering. They are generally the most stable and sturdy stabilizer. The downside is that the stabilizer permanent, so it doesn’t work well for designs that will be visible from both the back and front.
Tearaway stabilizers can be completely removed from your design by, you guessed it, tearing it away. We don’t recommend using this type of stabilizer with any fabric that is stretchy or fragile, as the tearing motion could distort your design.
Water soluble stabilizer fully dissolves in water! Gently wash your fabric after your embroidery is complete and the stabilizer will be completely gone. This type of stabilizer works well for two sided designs where the back of the fabric is featured, like a towel or linen.
Remember: there are subtypes to each type of stabilizer. Stabilizers come in different weights, colors, and textures to suit every project. For more detailed information on subtypes of stabilizers, keep following The Embroidery Store’s blog! We’ll bring you specialized posts on stabilizers that will answer all of your questions.