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Stabilizing is the foundation for good embroidery...
Lay a proper foundation!
To view anaswers simply choose a question from below & click on it.

Q:. I ordered tearaway/washaway from a company. After using it, I discovered that I could NOT wash it away from the appliqué without it leaving a fringe around the edge of a scalloped design. I tried to rinse it in warm water, then again in cold water, but the result was the same, a fringe around the edge.
I contacted the company and they offered to exchange this product for Solvy. What is the criterion for a stabilizer to be a washaway?

A:.What you originally wanted was a fibrous washaway aka Vilene. Distributors call it by a few different names.

What you probably received was a washaway/tearaway used for paper piecing and very open designs. This type of washaway takes a full wash or two for all the remnants to dissipate.

Solvy is a film stabilizer. For a few reasons, a fibrous washaway is far superior. A fibrous washaway has fibers that hold stitches far better than films as the threads and fabric become easily entangled. A film stabilizer can needle perforate and in a high stitch count design, it will fall away before you want it to.

Q:. I'm doing towels with quite a bit of lettering. I have tried clear Solvy and Washaway topping, but I’d like to find something that is easier to get off. I have 90 towels to do and that is a lot of removing.

A:.Try tulle or netting. Trim it closely. Heat press it at about 350 degrees or hot enough to slightly melt it. Once melted, it locks your stitches in place. It is far more permanent than Solvy. If you use Solvy, use a steamer to remove it.

Q:. I just stitched a 17,000-stitch design on a thin Under Armour golf polo and it puckered. I use a heavy cutaway, and I thought I was being careful not to hoop too tightly, but apparently not. The digitizer I used lessened the density of the stitches, and she said she stitches on this type of fabric all the time with good results.
Any tips to help the next stitch out?

A:. I would suggest two pieces of the no show diagonal mesh, which is cross patterned. Then add a 1.8-ounce firm wet-laid tearaway to help with definition. If you use the fusible no show diagonal mesh, there will be less slippage.

Here are some links with more information.
http://www.lebowconsulting.com/performance-wear.pdf
http://www.lebowconsulting.com/stabilizer-glossary.htm
http://www.lebowconsulting.com/stabilizer-reviews.htm

Q:. I am embroidering a logo on the left chest of expensive wrinkle-free Van Heusen dress shirts. I am new to embroidery and I have researched this, but I am still confused. Some recommend tearaway, some cutaway and some the invisible mesh backing. I am concerned that with the tearaway the material will pucker after laundering. Could someone with experience doing dress shirts please give me some advice?

A:. I suggest using a no show diagonal nylon mesh with a layer of 1.5-ounce tearaway behind it for extra support and definition. That will work for a moderate design of around 15,000 stitches. If the stitch count is higher or dense, use a 2.5-ounce or 3-ounce wet-laid cutaway. Or you also could use two layers of the no show diagonal mesh cross patterned.

Cutaways have longer fibers that become more easily entangled with the thread and result in better definition and tighter registration in embroidered designs.

Q:. I have been using a no show nylon mesh stabilizer. I have to use two pieces of 1.5 ounce for the design to look good. Would I be able to save money if I switched to a heavier weight and only used one piece? Would I get the same results? I found a 2 ounce version, but it’s not as sheer so it shows more through the shirt.

A:. I recommend using one layer of no show nylon mesh and backing it with a 1.5- or 1.8-ounce wet-laid soft tearaway. The soft tearaway is less expensive than the nylon mesh. However, if the design has a high stitch count in the 20,000 to 25,000 stitch range, you should use two layers of the diagonal mesh in a cross pattern.

Q:. Could you please advise me on what type of stabilizer to use when embroidering a solid filled design on a satin pillow?

The design is about 13,552 stitches. It is a tiger head with swirls on both sides. It’s not very dense. The densest part is the head itself. I don't know the exact weight of the satin, but I would guess about medium weight and it’s slippery. It does fray, but it is not see-through so the stabilizer will not show through. Because it is a pillow, it won't matter what the back side looks like. I just want to use the right stabilizer to make sure there is no puckering etc.

A:. There is a specialty material available that is not a stabilizer, and it is designed to arrest fraying of material and also to provide a barrier between the skin and scratchy stitches. It is very soft and sheer and will not add bulk to the design. You fuse it to the fabric. (It does not really have a generic name.) (Emily: If you are willing to use the product name it is Cloud Cover Stitch but I am assuming you can’t do that.)

As for the stabilizer, I would recommend either a 2.5-ounce or a 3-ounce wet-laid nonwoven cutaway. This will be the best choice to keep all those stitches in crisp registration and reduce puckering.

Q:. I have an order to embroider four letters on a black, thick, tightly knit fleece scarf. I don’t think the stitch count will be much higher than 5,000 stitches. What type of stabilizer do you recommend?

A:. If the fleece is tightly woven, a water-dissolvable stabilizer, such as Cotswold’s Washaway, CW201, would be the best choice. With Wash-Away, once a project is complete, all remaining stabilizer pieces are easily removed by soaking the embroidery in room temperature water.

One layer should be sufficient because Wash-Away has a unique construction that makes it stronger than traditional films. The fibers enmesh with the threads for maximum support, which results in better registration and higher definition.

It’s soft and sheer, and it leaves no fiber residue so it’s ideal for embroidering on fleece blankets, free-standing lace, and other applications where both sides of the piece are visible. If preferred, it can even be run through the gentle cycle of the washer for removal.

If the fleece is thinner and has a more open, loose, weave, I recommend using a black no show nylon mesh. Cotswold’s Diagonal No Show Nylon Mesh is made of nylon mesh with a diagonal embossed pattern, which makes it more directionally stable. This allows it to hold more stitches per single layer than traditional perpendicular patterned mesh. The result is tighter registration and more definition per layer. It is super soft and nearly invisible from the front of the design.

Q:. How many grades of wet-laid stabilizer are there?

A:. There are two grades: economy and premium.

Q:. What is the difference between economy and premium wet-laid stabilizers?

A:. Economy stabilizers are made with less-expensive materials, essentially pulp or cellulose with short fibers. The longer the fiber used with pulp, the higher the quality.

Economy grade stabilizer has very little long-fiber polyester content and no needle lubricant. You pay less for economy grade, but it cannot hold as many stitches as a comparable premium weight, and it does not hold registration as well.

Economy grade is used mainly by high-volume companies that have to be extremely competitive on price. It is not recommended for use by the vast majority of embroiderers in the decorated apparel industry. It is roughly only 25% less in cost than premium and when used in the quantities of most embroiderers, the savings are not significant.

Premium-grade stabilizers are made from the highest-quality materials, which includes polyester. Polyester has longer fibers which make it easier for embroidery threads to become entangled and hold, hence higher quality registration or stitch definition. This grade of stabilizer also is treated with a needle lubricant. This enhances needle glide and prevents problems such as needle and thread breaks and bird’s nests. It also washes much better with less puckering and distortion. A 3-ounce premium-grade stabilizer might hold 40,000 to 50,000 stitches whereas the economy grade equivalent can hold only 25,000 stitches.

In most cases, you will need to use only one layer of premium-grade stabilizer to match your stitch count, density, fabric weight and stretch, whereas you might need more than one layer of an economy grade to get the same degree of stability. All shops should be using premium grade, especially if they care about quality.

Q:. How can a premium grade stabilizer aid in embroidery on caps?

A:. The needle lubricant is especially important when embroidering on caps. If, for example, the cap has buckram, the needle will glide much more easily through the buckram when it is backed with a premium-grade stabilizer. It also can help provide support when sewing through cap seams. Embroiderers have found that when trying to embroider through monofilament buckram alone, needles would break but by adding a premium-grade stabilizer, this problem was solved.