Stabilizers 101, The Series

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Since I’ve purchased my new embroidery machine, I’ve learned lots about stabilizers. If you’ve been around the blog for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of KISS (keep It Simple Stupid). When I started researching which stabilizers to buy for which projects I immediately was overwhelmed. It seemed like there were a million to choose from with price ranges all over the map. Finding out when to use what was equally as painful. I soon realized there aren’t that many choices. There’s many manufacturers of the same purpose stabilizers with slightly different names, it looks like there are many more than there actually are. After a deep breath and counting back from 10, I mentally categorized the stabilizers into three types: water soluble, the aways (tear away, wash away, cut away), and specialties (sticky stabilizer, etc). In this series I’ll tell you everything I know about various stabilizers including how and when I use them.

Stabilizers 101, the series: RinsAway

I’ve been learning lots about stabilizers with my new embroidery machine. A little bit ago, I told you about the inspiration for this series of posts as well as everything I’d learned about Sulky Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizers (WSS). RinsAway (not a spelling error!) is another type of WSS with a few differences from the Sulky style stabilizers. The key difference The biggest difference between the Solvy style WSS and RinsAway is that RinsAway doesn’t completely dissolve. Right out of the package, RinsAway feels a bit like a heavy weight paper. It has a slight texture to it and it is translucent enough to see some lines through it. I’ve found I can mark it easily with permeant markers, pens, and pencils. As you can see from my RinsAway soaking experiment, the product never completely dissolves. After it has been soaked, it feels like a misty weight fabric. Nice and soft with none of the paper properties left behind. The Real RinsAway Power Here’s what I really love about this stabilizer and why I keep a metric ton on hand at all times – it is an excellent product to turn applique edges for machine stitching. This product soaks up washable glue and when it does it gets very stiff. The win? It keeps the applique pieces and their edges super flat which means they don’t shift, fold, or stretch while sewing. After the applique is complete, a nice wash removes both the glue and the paper like features of the stabilizer. You’d never know it was there and your applique looks pretty spiffy. Check out this jack-o-lantern I...

Stabilizers 101, the series: The Solvy’s (Water Soluble Stabilizer)

Since I’ve purchased my new embroidery machine, I’ve learned lots about stabilizers. If you’ve been around the blog for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of KISS (keep It Simple Stupid). When I started researching which stabilizers to buy for which projects I immediately was overwhelmed. It seemed like there were a million to choose from with price ranges all over the map. Finding out when to use what was equally as painful. I soon realized there aren’t that many choices. There’s many manufacturers of the same purpose stabilizers with slightly different names, it looks like there are many more than there actually are. After a deep breath and counting back from 10, I mentally categorized the stabilizers into three types: water soluble, the aways (tear away, wash away, cut away), and specialties (sticky stabilizer, etc). In this series we’ll take a look at all each of the three types and what I learned from the great snowman experience. What is Water Soluble Stabilizer (WSS)? Water Soluble Stabilizer is Polyvinyl alcohol or a water-soluble synthetic polymer. Eh? KISS! Susan, KISS! OK, I’ll try again – WSS feels and looks like plastic. When it gets wet, it dissolves from your project leaving the threads and fabric intact without any visible stabilizer. WSS can be used in nearly every way an “away” stabilizer can. I found it to be most useful on top of the embroidery project. It does, in fact, help keep the threads from getting buried in plushier fabrics like terrycloth and washes completely away making it a nice choice for the front of a...

Stabilizer 101 Series Disclaimers:

  • Everything I’m sharing with you is from trial and error. I did not do extensive research, I am not sponsored, and I’m not always 100% right. As I learn more or hear from other stabilizer users, I may amend these posts.
  • I decided to only purchase readily available products that do not require special orders, high shipping costs, or purchase price premiums. I make no claim that any of them are the “best” or the brand you should buy, it is just what I could get my hands on.
  • Most stabilizers seem to range in width anywhere from 6” to 22”. I tried to be sure to compare apples to apples by considering the cost per square inch when comparing prices.

Hello There!

Susan Owenby
Principal Artificer of Things.

Welcome to my site! I love to show you what I'm working on and the process I use to make all sorts of crafty things. I hope you'll find something you love that inspires you to get to work in your own studio.

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