Your guide to embroidery stabilizers and backings

Date Posted:14 May 2020 

Stabilizer guide main image

Stabilizers are an essential part of machine embroidery. These thin layers of backing material keep your fabric from stretching or puckering during the stitching process.

Knowing which stabilizer to use for your projects is a skill which you can master with practice. In our stabilizer guide below we explain the different stabilizers available, what they're made from and when to use them. We have created a handy stabilizer guide (PDF, 218KB) that you can download and print to make it easier to refer back too.

Softaway tearaway

Softaway (tearaway)

Medium weight - Non-woven polyester, wood pulp, PVA | 55gsm

A softer, lighter tearaway for woven fabrics (e.g. apparel and crafts). Easy to hoop, doesn’t perforate and tears away easily and cleanly. Can be used on knitted fabrics with lower stitch count designs.


Buy 20" x 10yd roll → Buy bulk 25cm x 100m roll →
Fusible Softaway tearaway

Fusible Softaway (tearaway)

Medium weight - Non-woven polyester, wood pulp, PVA, olefin | 55gsm

Softaway with an added low-melt-point fusible layer. Ideal for difficult or slippery woven fabrics (e.g. satins, sateens and poplins).


Buy 20" x 10yd roll → Buy bulk 25cm x 100m roll →
Echidna Tearaway – Black

Echidna Tearaway – Black

Medium/heavy polyester | 76gsm

A standard commercial style black tearaway offering great support during the stitching process. Will tear away easily. Ideal for dark loosely woven fabrics.

Buy 20” x 10yd roll →
Cutaway Light

CutAway (Light)

Non-woven polyester | 50gsm

Echidna Light Cutaway stabilizer is ideal for lighter weight knitted or stretch fabrics or when a low to moderate stitch count design is used. Example: a logo on quick-dry polo shirts. Light cutaway prevents stretch and provides stability both during stitching and the life of the finished item.

Buy 25cm x 100m roll →
Cutaway Medium

CutAway (Medium)

Non-woven polyester | 80gsm

The universal stabilizer. Use one layer with medium to heavy stretch or knitted fabrics (e.g. polos and sportswear). Whenever possible, hoop with the garment or for difficult items baste the garment on top of the hooped stabilizer. Trim away the excess backing after stitching. Leaving about ¼ inch around the finished design.

Buy 20" x 10yd roll → Buy bulk 25cm x 100m roll →

See-through Cutaway

See-through CutAway

Non-woven polyester

A soft cutaway ideal for lightweight, soft drape and semi-transparent fabrics. Very stable, but almost invisible from the right side the fabric. Ideal for in-the-hoop projects and quilt blocks. Trim back close to the stitching on the underside of garments. Our pick for light coloured polo shirts.

20" x 10yd roll (White) → Buy bulk 20" x 50yd roll (White) → Buy 20" x 10yd roll (Black) →

Fusible See-through Cutaway

Fusible See-through CutAway

Non-woven polyester, low-melt adhesive

Same as the see-through cutaway but has a fusible low-melt-point resin that easily adheres to the fabric with a medium heat iron to prevent scorching. Best for particularly light weight, slippery types of fabric.

Buy 20" x 10yd roll →

Iron-on paper

Iron-on paper

Polymer-coated paper

Prevents unstable fabrics losing shape during hooping. Apply with a hot iron and hoop together with a layer of tearaway or cutaway (depending on fabric type). Peel and tear off the excess. Ideal for polycotton blends and tight weave poplins.

Buy 35cm x 20m roll →

Washaway

Washaway

Water-soluble non-woven PVA | 50gsm

Supports stitches during embroidery, then completely dissolves in warm water. Ideal for lace, free-standing designs or sheer fabrics. The suggested hooped stabilizer to use when embroidering on toweling. Can be used without fabric for free standing designs..

Buy 20" x 10yd roll →

Supersolv

Supersolv

Cold water-soluble clear PVA film | 35 micron

Holds down the nap of the fabric, preventing stitches from sinking in. Place on top of fabrics like towels, suede, spongy knits and piled fabrics. Tear the excess away and dissolve remnants with water. Can be simply sponged away.

Buy 20" x 10yd roll →

Hot melt web

Hot melt web

Non-woven polyamide

Clear, iron-on webbing used to bond fabrics together. Perfect for applique and welding craft fabrics to each other. The web-like double-sided glue has paper on one side for heat application. Ideal to use with the ScanNCut.

Buy 12" x 10yd roll →

Hot melt film

Hot melt film

Polyolefin film

A clear, heat-set film ironed on to an embroidered design to create a badge, which is then ironed onto fabric. The plastic film-like double-sided glue has paper on one side for heat application. More permanent adhesion than Hot Melt Web.

Buy 12" x 5yd roll →

Polyester Bag Batting

100% Polyester Bag Batting

Non-woven polyester

Bag batting is a soft, robust fibre and great for projects such as bags, placemats and high usage items. This batting is machine washable.

Buy 50cm x 100cm (pre-cut lengths)→

Filmoplast Adhesive Paper

Filmoplast Adhesive Paper

Non-woven cellulose, solvent-free glue

Non-heat bonding of fabrics before embroidering. Ideal for difficult placements of embroidery and stabilizing high stretch fabrics.

Buy 50cm x 100cm (pre-cut lengths) → Buy 25m x 100cm roll →

Double-sided tape

Double-sided tape

Clear low-tack or yellow high-tack

Tape used to embroider fabrics without hooping. Apply the 15mm high tack tape around the outer edges of the hooped stabilizer and secure the fabric on top. Be sure to not stitch through the tape or use the 6mm tape on the outer circumference on the inner embroidery hoop ring to prevent hooped fabric from slipping during the embroidery process.

Buy 6mm x 50m roll (clear) → Buy 12mm x 18m roll (yellow) →

Cover It Up

Cover It Up

Soft iron-on interfacing

Iron on to the wrong side of the embroidered design after stitching is complete (with your iron set at a medium temperature). This prevents the “scratchies” which can sometimes cause irritation when wearing embroidered clothing. Particularly for infants and children or when metallic threads have been used.

Buy 20” x 5yd (pre-cut lengths) → Buy 20” x 50yd roll →

Crystal Organza

Crystal Organza

Polyester | Available in Black & White

Crystal organza is ideal to use when stitching 3D embroidery designs such as 3 dimensional flowers, butterflies, Christmas decorations, bookmarks and much more. Excess organza can be burnt away with a soldering iron.

Buy 28.5cm x 10m roll →

Tulle

Tulle

Polyester | Available in 3 colours: Black, Cream & White

Use tulle as a stabilizing agent by sandwiching it between two layers of Washaway to give freestanding lace more strength and ensure all the stitches remain regimental after washing. This will keep a more consistent shape and generally ensures a longer life to the work.

Buy 20” x 25yd roll →

Download a printable stabilizer guide (PDF, 218KB)

Buy stabilizers in our online shop