EMB 101: Cut-Away Stabilizers

Stabilizers can be confusing but one thing's for sure. You will always need a cut-away stabilizer in your stash.

Cut-aways are essential to support stitching and prevent stretch when embroidering on fabrics that move. The old adage of "if you wear it, don't tear it" should actually be "if it stretches, don't tear it," meaning use a cut-away stabilizer instead of a tear-away.

When Should You use a Cut-Away Stabilizer?
Cut-away stabilizers should be used when stitching designs with high stitch counts or a majority of areas of fill or satin stitching, like heavy applique, monogramming, patches, or items you will be framing.

Other times would be when the base fabric is stretchy as with swim suits, jogging apparel, sweaters, sweat shirts, and some t-shirts.

What Types of Cut-Away Stabilizers Are Available?

Generally, there are three weights of cut-away stabilizer: light, medium, and heavy. The weight depends on how stretchy the base fabric is and/or how dense the design file stitches. There are also a couple of varieties such as textured nylon (above) which is very similar to no-show mesh. You can even get them in white or black which will work for both light and dark fabrics.

If you find you use cut-away stabilizer a lot, you may want to get it by the bolt

or by the roll which is much more economical.

No-show mesh and nylon are wonderful under light-weight shirts, cotton knits, and even light cotton or linen fabrics.

Masters of Painting, Van Gogh

Masters of Painting, Van Gogh

Since I am not a digitizer, I don't know much about this particular technique called photo-stitch.  But I do know what I like and this is terrific (IMHO). 

Photo-stitch technique creates a dimension in embroidery that has the appearance of sketching.   It is often used in art or photos to give an ‘impressionist' effect.   Here is an example:



(This photo courtesy of Advanced-Embroidery-Designs)

You recognize this as a Van Gogh, Twelve Sunflowers in a Vase.  It is difficult to see in a photo, but this stitch intensive design is magnificent in person.  With nearly 100,000 stitches, you will want to have time to accomplish the project.   You also need to adjust your stabilizer for this design.  If you would normally put a single sheet of medium cutaway, I suggest you use two or a single piece of heavy cutaway. 

If, as you are embroidering, you feel the need to increase your stabilizer, don't forget that you can float a piece under your hoop.   I also used an evenly woven, medium weight linen for this design.  It needs to be stable.

Next, I want to show you the colors for the design.  There are 15 different colors. 


Catalog Xpress shows every detail I need, including the colors.  Notice that the colors are very close in their hue, so selecting your thread is really important.  The colors do blend, and some do not have a lot of difference, but when you are doing something that is subtle like this, make sure you can color accurately. 

This is an example of an autumn palette and I do like to purchase the ‘sets' that AnnTheGran has on sale right now.   The manufacturers work with artists who study coloration to arrange the colors, so you can feel good about the blending of threads. 

This digitizer does give detailed instructions for working with this format.   I am just covering some of the information.  The stitching is in much more linear than other designs and often overlapping.  That is what gives it its unique appearance. 




Each layer builds upon the last.  Switching colors to save thread changes will not effectively work for this process. 



Shading and other subtle changes make this interesting to watch as it sews.






Give this one a try!

Comments (3) -

That is beautiful! Since you don't digitize where did you get the design?


It really is even more beautiful in person, and it is on a prominent place on my wall!  

You can get it at:  www.Advanced-Embroidery-Designs.com

They have many famous people as well.


I down loaded the Catalog XPress program that you mention above.  I have some trouble to insert a design from another file to the Catalog XPress file.  When I press the insert icon, a menu appears with "Insert designs to (Pending).  Select Designs: (Designs already in DB will not be added).  What does this means?  I try all the ways around to copy and move designs to the Catelog file without success.  Please help me.  What do I wrong?   Hilda

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