Tools of the Trade – Stabilizer

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Probably 95% of my Embroidery Machine Designs at SewingForSarah are in the hoop projects. I get asked all the time what types of stabilizer I use. Very occasionally, one of my projecst will call for a water soluble stabilizer, but the majority of the time I use a lightweight to  mediumweight cutaway stabilizer. I like the stability that a good cutaway adds to the projects and will use it every time if I possibly can!  Even lovies, I think benefit from cutaway stabilizer when stuffed fully (and understuffed lovie will look stiff if using cutaway stabilizing and not stuffing adequately). Personally, I almost never use tearaway stabilizer. I’ve just never been a huge fan of it. In the rare case I find it is needed, it generally use a water soluble stabilizer instead.

In the past, I have tried the precut sheets of stabilizer, but I’ve found I prefer it on the roll. I generally hoop my stabilizer still attached to the roll and then trim it after hooping leaving that important inch or so border!

Given the large number of projects I make (and the trial and error involved in digitizing) I need to purchase my stabilizer in large amounts! I also use a variety of hoop sizes and like to accommodate those by using the best size of stabilizer with as little waste as possible. However, I would caution against using too small a piece of stabilizer. Having at least an inch of stabilizer extending outside your hoop, can make a huge difference in your projects.  The better stabilized your project, the better outlines will line up, the fewer gaps you will have, and you’ll have a better project overall.

I currently purchase several different types of stabilizer.

My Viking Topaz 30 has the largest hoop of all my machines – 8″x14″ and therefore needs a large stabilizer.  I purchase this  light weight stabilizer that is 20″x50 yards.  It is the perfect weight for most of my large projects such as bibs, burpies, softies, etc.  I have on infrequent occasions used two layers when working on a very heavy large project (such as vinyl) but I’ve found I rarely need to do this. While it is a bit pricier than most of the stabilizers I buy, this roll lasts a really long time as I can easily get 2-3 hoopings from just one yard!  This roll also works well for my 6×10 hoop on my Babylock.

20″ x 50 yards Lightweight Cutaway Stabilizer

While I do occasionally need the larger roll of stabilizer, I’ve found the vast majority of the projects I make are in the 5×7 (and occasionally 4×4) hoop.  This roll by Thread Art works well for both of these hoop sizes. There are many variations and sizes of this roll, but I prefer the Regular Weight Cutaway Embroidery Stabilizer – 10″ x 100yd Roll.  You do have to make sure you are clicking on the right option and the Prime purchase button is listed below the various options rather than to the right. This seems to be a popular stabilizer and I find it goes out of stock frequently so I try not to let my stash get too low!

Finally, for water soluble stabilizer, I like Ultra Solvy stabilizer by Sulky.  I don’t use this frequently, so a roll lasts me a very long time!  I’ve only used it for the 5×7 hoop and have not had a need to find a wider roll so far.

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