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.

When I created the Thread That Binds Us project, I used a light-weight, no-show mesh and left it on the piece when I framed it. You may even have a need for Fuse N Stitch, which is a heavy-duty permanent stabilizer that you fuse to the fabric with an iron.

The real money saver is that Ann's Club members buy stabilizer at half-price!

Debbie SewBlest

Comments (2) -

This is a great - and very keepable - blog.  I have enough to remember. . .

I would like to add one thing, the 1/2 price stabilizers are the AnnTheGran brand.  The other brands price their items as they are comfortable with.  Ann's has the quality of the 'name' brands, but not that price.  I think Ann's name is a great brand.  If you have tried her specific free designs, you know you can trust a fellow embroiderer like Ann.

May you be blessed in ways you have not yet imagined.  


Good point - thanks, Pat!

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