Stabilizer Alternatives: Are They Really a Good Idea?

You’ve likely spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a computerized embroidery machine. If you are new, you should have also taken an owner’s class or two. If you have been doing this for a while, you have likely accumulated extra hoops, plenty of fabric, several pair of scissors, and an abundance of thread.

You spend plenty of time reading and researching techniques, projects, and notions before enthusiastically stitching on clothing, or quilt blocks, or making gifts for friends and family. Why in the world would you use coffee filters or dryer sheets instead of machine embroidery stabilizer?

I have seen some bizarre suggestions as alternatives to stabilizers ranging from using paper freezer wrap to waxed paper and plastic food wrap.

How about using hair spray instead of temporary adhesive? Not everything you read on social media is a good idea. In fact, some things may void the warranty on your machine.

Machine embroidery stabilizers are created for specific purposes. There is no one-size-fits-all. Not only are stabilizers created to withstand rapid and multiple needle punctures, they also help to prevent puckering that happens from pushing and pulling of stitches, dense designs, and fabrics that are lighter weight than can support additional layers of thread.

The other thing is that, depending upon the density and technique of the design, most stabilizers are meant to support the embroidery over time, wear, and laundering. Will a coffee filter keep your applique design looking crisp and your shirt from pulling out of shape?

One of the benefits of Ann’s Club, and there are many, is that you pay half-price for AnnTheGran brand stabilizer.

You can always save money by repurposing stabilizer scraps, buying your thread or bobbins in bulk, or even using leftover water-soluble stabilizer scraps to make your own fabric stiffener. Don’t skimp on stabilizers. They are the foundation of your embroidery.

Debbie SewBlest

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