Best Stabilizer For Embroidery

Do you love the look of embroidered knitwear? How do you feel about a lace flower pattern on your sweater project? Well, we bet you’d like your knitted fabric a little fancier for your friends to love it.

Of course, you could still make some lovely patterns by switching yarn colors and or adjusting stitch sections. But still, embroidery is the easiest and the best as you can make whatsoever kind of pattern design you wanted. This includes those Scandinavian embellishments you had always thought can only be machine-stitched.

But again, there are some things you have to pay attention to if you’re to succeed embroidering your knitted garments. In this post, we’ll help you choose the best stabilizer for embroidery and also guide you on when to use the various designs out there.

Even So…

Which Is Better, Machine Or Hand Embroidery

Well, just like any other knitting process, embroidering can be done by hand or a machine. Both embellishing techniques are great, for sure, and even require hoops, needles, and threads to complete the task at hand. However, the process of doing and the results are pretty different, even when they use a similar pattern.

In the case of a machine, the process is pretty fast and you don’t put in a lot of work. The finished embroidery is also more commercial looking and you can create identical designs since most patterns are pre-programmed.

On the other, hand embroidery requires you to do all the work stitch by stitch. So, it’s a relatively slow process but more fun and inexpensive to do. To begin, you just need the three basic materials and learn a few basics. 

Is A Stabilizer For Embroidery Really Necessary?

Whether you’re embroidering by hands or machines, a stabilizer is very crucial. Just as the name, the tool’s job is to reinforce the fabric while stitching to prevent movements, stretching, or puckering from happening. Hence, ensuring the embroidery remains consistent and beautiful.

In the case of hand method, you can also use the stabilizer to transfer an embroidery pattern to your knitting. Hence, making it easier to stitch that Scandi design that would otherwise seem as intricate. 

Then… What Is The Best Stabilizer For Embroidery?

First, a stabilizer is a must-have if you want to succeed with very consistent and pretty embroidery. It’s the first foundation between the stitching tool and the design that you want to achieve.

In any case, the selection below consists of the best stabilizer for embroidery in the market as of now. The nine are the only ones that qualified our testing procedure, which usually involves, pricing, quality, performance, and customer recommendation.

Nonetheless, Sulky 457-02 Embroidery Stabilizer  is our overall winner, with ease of use and versatility. The device works with a machine or hand embroidery, and best of all, you can print your downloaded pattern on it. Hence, allowing you to stitch delicate patterns without a sewing or quilting machine

Here’s a summary of the product and other alternatives that might interest you. 

Editor’s Choice: Sulky 457-02 Self-Adhesive Water Soluble Hand Embroidery Stabilizer 

So easy to use, wash away to remove, stick on fabric, effortless to transfer design, and produces neat embroideries

Best Of Machine: HBI Medium Machine Cutaway Embroidery stabilizer 

Gives superior stability, remove by cutting away, comes in a giant roll, doesn’t stretch when stitching, and has a reasonable pricing 

Best Of Transfer: Sulky Stick N Stitch Hand Embroidery Quilting Stabilizer 

Printable on laser and ink-jet printer. Easy to use, delivers professional-looking embroidery, great for baby clothes, and work on a variety of fabrics

Best Of Precut Sheets: JJ CARE TA-Stabilizer8x8 Medium Embroidery Backing 

Strong and durable, easy to store, effortless to hoop, very affordable, doesn’t irritate the skin, makes machine and hand embroidery 

Best Of Value: JJ Care Poly Mesh No Show Stabilizer for Embroidery  

Includes large stabilizer roll, lightweight but strong, great to make masks, free pen plus scissors, and super comfy to wear

Best Of Lace Embroidery: OESD Aquamesh Wash-Away Roll Embroidery Stabilizer 

Great for large projects, Can be used for freestanding lace, doesn’t dry out or absorb moisture so easy to remove, strong and durable

Best Of T-Shirt:New brothread Cut Away Machine Embroidery Stabilizer Backing 8"x8" - 100 Precut Sheets - Medium Weight 2.5 Ounce - Fits 4x4 and 6x6 Hoops 

Up to 100 stabilizer sheets, durable design, easy to set on the hoop, soft for baby clothes, friendly budget, makes crispier and prettier embroidery

Best For Wholesale: Sulky Solvy 12-inch Soluble Stabilizer Roll pack 

Easy to stitch through, includes two long stabilizer rolls, transferring designs, works for light to medium density, and so easy to remove

Best Of Budget: World Weidner TA88-100 8 x 8 Embroidery Stabilizer 

Produces neat embroideries, super-easy to hoop, easy to store, use for fine to heavier embroideries, very affordable, works for machine and hand embroidery

The Best Stabilizer For Embroidery Size And Thickness Comparison Chart

When using a stabilizer for embroidery, knowing the thickness is very crucial in determining the best maximum density of stitching. Also, the size of the textile can help you know the perfect hoop to use. Therefore, the following table compares these two aspects against the nine stabilizers

Embroidery Stabilizer BrandSpecial BadgeWeight/ Thickness Product Size(In Inches)
Sulky 457-02 Self-Adhesive Hand Embroidery Stabilizer Best Of All(Heavy Weight)8.5 by 11.0(4 x 4, 6 x 6 or 5x 7)
HBI Medium Machine Cutaway Embroidery stabilizer Best Of Machine2.5 Ounce(Medium Weight)12.0 by 1800(Any Hoop Available)
Sulky Stick N Stitch Hand Embroidery Quilting Stabilizer Best Of Transfer(Medium Weight)8.5 by 11.0(4 x 4, 6 x 6 or 5x 7)
JJ CARE TA-Stabilizer8x8 Medium Embroidery Backing Best Of Precut Sheets 1.8 Ounce(Medium Weight)8.0 by 8.0(4 x 4 or 6 x 6 Hoop)
JJ Care Poly Mesh No Show Stabilizer for Embroidery Best Of Value1.8 Ounce(Medium Weight)15.0 by 1080(Any Hoop Available)
OESD Aquamesh Wash-Away Roll Embroidery Stabilizer Best Of Lace 1.2 Ounce (Light Weight)15.0 by 360(Any Hoop Available)
New brothread Cut Away Machine Embroidery Stabilizer Backing 8"x8" - 100 Precut Sheets - Medium Weight 2.5 Ounce - Fits 4x4 and 6x6 Hoops Best Of T-shirt 2.5 Ounce(Medium Weight)8.0 by 8.0(4 x 4 or 6 x 6 Hoop)
Sulky Solvy 12-inch Soluble Stabilizer Roll pack Best Of Wholesale(Light Weight)12.0 by 324(Any Hoop Available)
World Weidner TA88-100 8 x 8 Embroidery Stabilizer Best Of Budget1.8 Ounce(Medium Weight)8.0 by 8.0(4 x 4 or 6 x 6 Hoop)

Notes:

Sulky of America does not provide the exact thickness of its embroidery stabilizers, rather lists the compound weight. Also, JJ Care sometimes lists their weight in grams per square meter but we have converted all to the ounce per square yard (unit of surface density).

The 9 Best Stabilizers For Embroidery

Here are detailed reviews of the various stabilizers that we selected. It includes the general info on the products, including features, pros, and cons that will help you understand each better.

Editor’s Choice: Sulky 457-02 Self-Adhesive Water Soluble Hand Embroidery Stabilizer

Main Features:

1. 12x white paper-like stabilizers

2. Acid-free

3. Water-soluble

4. Self-adhesive

5. Printable, photocopy, or draw

6. Heavy weight

For over 30 years, Sulky of America has been one of the most sought-after brands of embroidery adhesives and decorative threads. The Stabilizer 457-02 features the same rich quality the company has built its reputation on. So, it’s no surprise the product scores 4.8 out of 5 from over 1,400 customers on Amazon.

The stabilizer consists of an excellent white textile that you trace or even print your pattern design. So, you necessarily don’t need to know how to draw to come up with a neat and beautiful figure. Also, this means the item is primarily for hand embroidery, though you can also use it with a machine for 3D appliques.

The stabilizer comes in the form of sheets, with each measuring 8.5 by  11 inches. It’s a water-soluble design, which means it’s so easy to remove once you have completed our stitches. Still, the embroider stabilizer has a self-adhesive back that allows you to stick on your garment. Thus, you can use it without a hoop.

Pros:

1. It features a superior, paper-like material

2. So easy to use and remove

3. Doesn’t irritate the skin

4. Works on a variety of materials

5. Delivers neat and consistent embroidery

6. Easy to transfer pattern design (print or draw)

7. It’s budget-friendly.

Cons:

1. Not ideal for fine embroidery.

2. Doesn’t stick on fabric well until you begin stitching

Best Of Machine: HBI Medium Machine Cutaway Embroidery Stabilizer

Main Features:

1. Large 12” x 50 yards roll

2. Thick and medium weight 

3. Cut-away removal

4. Non-adhesive

5. Rigid and durable

If you want to embroider with a machine, this piece is one of the few best options you can get. It consists of a wide white paper-like roll, which allows you to work on a large stitching area and for many projects.

The stabilizer has a thick and stiff design that provides your garment with the best stability required. Thanks to its combination of polyester and fibers, it offers continued stabilization for your higher-stitch letters or designs and unstable fabric.

Furthermore, the embroidery stabilizer is a cut-away model. So, you have to use a hoop to hold it in place as there’s no adhesive for sticking it.

Pros:

1. It offers superior stability to dense embroidery

2. Great for large embroideries

3. You can use it for many projects

4. Doesn’t stretch when stitching

5. It’s affordable 

Cons:

1. It’s pretty rough for baby clothes

2. Too stiff for hand embroidery

Best Of Transfer: Sulky Stick N Stitch Hand Embroidery Quilting Stabilizer

Main Features:

1. 12x stabilizer sheets

2. Medium weight 

3. Self-adhesive back

4. White paper-like material

5. Printable or photocopied

6. Bonus embroidery pattern

Whether it’s hand embroidery, quilting, or cross-stitch, this stabilizer does a whole lot than magic. It comprises multiple paper-like sheets that you can use to transfer your desired pattern to cotton knit or linen fabrics. 

The embroidery stabilizer can be printed on, photocopied, or traced. So, you necessarily don’t need to have perfect artistic skills to embellish your cloth or decorative fabrics with a stunning pattern. Even better, the manufacturer usually packs the package with a bonus Vintage Heart-Wreath Embroidery Pattern to get you started.

Each of the stabilizer sheets has a medium thickness, which is perfect for fine and slightly dense embroidery. They also have a self-adhesive that allows you to stitch on the fabric without the need for a hoop. Furthermore, the stabilizer for embroidery dissolves in water, thus gets off so easily and without leaving residues.

Pros:

1. It delivers crisp and professional-looking embroidery

2. Perfect for baby clothes

3. Can work on a variety of fabrics

4. Quick and straightforward to transfer patterns

5. It works fine on laser, ink-jet, or bubble-jet printers.

Cons:

1. It makes the needle sticky (from the adhesive back)

2. The sticky back doesn’t hold too well as we’d expect.

Best Of Precut Sheets: JJ CARE TA-Stabilizer8x8 Medium Embroidery Backing

Main Features:

1. 120x embroidery stabilizer sheets

2. Non-toxic, white polyester material

3. Tear-away removal

4. So easy to store

5. Hand and machine embroidery

6. Thin and medium weight

That’s right. The product has a total of 120 precut sheets that you can use as a stabilizer for your machine or hand embroidery. Each piece consists of high-quality polyester material that can help give strong backing to your fabrics. It contains no formaldehyde or any other harsh compounds that can cause itchiness or irritate the skin.

The stabilizer has a lovely profile that you comfortably use with thick, soft, and natural fiber fabrics. Each of the provided sheets has a square size that can secure to the fabric with 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 hoops. But none of them has adhesive with them, so you might need to baste if you don’t have a hoop. 

Still, the stabilizer is thin and medium weight, which means you can do fine and heavy embroidery. Also, you need no scissors to remove as it peels off pretty easily by hands and without leaving any residue.

Pros:

1. It’s strong and durable

2. Delivers smart and flawless patterns

3. Straightforward to use on hoops

4. You can use it with baby items

5. It’s so affordable.

Cons:

1. It’s too thin for many (machine) applications

2. Tears away so easily. Thus, have to be gentle when stitching

Best Of Value: JJ Care Poly Mesh No Show Stabilizer for Embroidery 

Main Features:

1. Large 15” stabilizer roll

2. White, translucent poly mesh 

3. Lightweight and strong

4. Bonus Pen and Snip scissors

5. Machine or hand sewing

While it’s not very old in the market, the embroidery stabilizer is doing pretty well than the older stash. It’s slightly expensive, yes, but has everything that one needs to produce a stunning pattern that captures the eye.

If it’s the material, the stabilizer uses the finest nylon spun polymesh that not only provides solid backing when stitching. But also ensure your embroidery remains intact even after repeated washing and wearing. The material also doesn’t have formaldehyde or any other toxic compounds to irritate skin or cause itchiness.

Furthermore, the stabilizer has a large breadth and it comes in a big roll. Thus, allowing you to use for both small and large embroidery stitching. It even does come with snip-scissors that you use to cut the perfect sheets for your needs.

Still, the stabilizer is for use with machine embroidery, or else if you want to quilt in the hoop. You can also use it for hand sewing but it’s not printable or for use on the right side of the fabric. Thus, might limit you on the kind of patterns for hand embroidery. 

Pros:

1. It offers a superior, solid backing

2. Great for large embroidery projects

3. Doesn’t need to be removed

4. Can be for making face masks

5. Soft and comfortable to wear

6. It works on both light-colored and soft woven fabric.

Best Of Lace Embroidery: OESD Aquamesh Wash-Away Roll Embroidery Stabilizer

Main Features:

1. Large 10 yards stabilizer roll

2. 15 inch wide

3. Opaque mesh material

4. Soluble in water

5. Strong and durable

Oklahoma Embroidery Supply & Design (OESD) is yet another great provider of embroidery products and designs. The Aquamesh stabilizer is one of its top-notch creations, featuring an opaque color and 1.2oz thickness.

 If you work or hope to work on free standing lace embroidery, this stabilizer can be a great choice for you. It has a big breadth, plus comes as a giant roll that you can cut into any size you need.

Thanks to its high solubility, the stabilizer is so easy to remove from your embroidery and you won’t need to worry about residues.  If you want to use it for the regular lace, the stabilizer consists of a light but stiff mesh-like material. Thus, provides your fabrics with a strong reinforcement, allowing perfect stitching without puckering or stretching. However, it can’t stick to the project material on its own. So, you’ll need to hoop it along with your garment when working.

Pros:

1. It’s strong and durable

2. Great for large projects

3. So easy to work with and remove

4. Perfect for freestanding lace

5. It doesn’t dry out or absorb moisture

Cons:

1. It’s relatively expensive

2. Not ideal for hand embroidery

Best Of T-Shirt: New Brothread 8″x8″ Medium Weight Embroidery Stabilizer

Main Features:

1. 100x precut stabilizer sheets

2. 2.5-ounce medium weight

3. Cutaway removal

4. Skin-friendly polyester

5. Wide applications

When embroidering a T-shirt, a cutaway stabilizer is usually the best from the delicacy of the fabric. It helps provide a stable base needed for perfect and successful stitching of your desired embroidery. 

Happy to say, this New Brothread model has everything that you need to do those things. It features a strong polyester that gives your cloth solid and permanent support needed for the machine stitching. The material is free of acid and other harsh compounds. So, you won’t experience any itchiness or irritation while using.

At medium weight (2.5oz), this stabilizer can be used for light to medium stitch density. However, you could use more than one sheet if you want to achieve a denser design on your piece of fabric.

Speaking of fabric, the embroidery stabilizer is not limited to t-shirts. You could also use it for denim, fleece, and knits. Furthermore, it does pretty well for hand embroidery as it’s good with the machines.  Still, the stabilizer is available as pre-cut sheets. So, it’s not just easier to use but also store.

Pros:

1. It has a superior and durable design

2. Quick to set in the hoop

3. Soft and perfect for baby clothes

4. Produces crispier and prettier embroidery

5. It’s a friendly budget.

Best Of Wholesale: Sulky Solvy 12-inch Soluble Stabilizer Roll pack

Main Features:

1. Two Packs stabilizer

2. 12-in wide, 9 yards long

3. Thin and lightweight

4. Soluble in water

5. Translucent material

6. Hoop or baste

If you make embroideries s in bulk, this piece might have the solution you seek. It comes as a pack of two products, with each featuring a 12-inch by 9-yard stabilizer roll and at a very friendly budget. So, it’s no surprise the product has a solid five-star rating from over 1,500 ratings on Amazon.

The stabilizer is a clear, plastic-like material that you use on the front of the fabric to give extra backing for perfect stitching. If not stabilization, you can also use it to transfer a pattern of your embroidery to the fabric by tracing with a marker. 

The stabilizer is highly soluble in water, which makes it very easy to remove on the finished work. Still, it’s pretty different from its peers that we discussed earlier as it doesn’t have adhesive on the back. Thus, requires you to have a hoop or else basting so that it can hold the fabric. 

Pros:

1. It’s budget-friendly and economical

2. Quick and effortless to stitch through

3. Great for transferring designs (tracing)

4. Can use for the machine and hand embroidery

5. It can work for thin to medium stitching

Cons:

1. Vague description

2. It’s not the best for small hand embroidery

3. It’s too thin for heavier embroidery. 

Best Of Budget: World Weidner TA88-100 8 x 8 Embroidery Stabilizer

Main Features:

1. 100x stabilizer pre-cut sheets

2. For 4” x 4” hoops

3. Medium weight, 1.8oz

4. Machine or hand embroidery

5. High-quality, tear-away material

As a brand, World Weidner only deals in embroidery work, whereby they offer all the needed tools and accessories. For this particular selection, it’s the overall budget stabilizer for embroidery on our list, thanks to the great price and quality convenience.

Despite costing less than ten, the product gives you up to a hundred precut sheets of 8 x 8 inches. Each sheet consists of a white, high-quality material that you can use with any fabric you need to complement with some decorations.

The stabilizer is primarily for use with machine embroidery but you can also use it to make floral hand embroideries on your curtains or whatever else you want. However, it doesn’t have self-adhesive, thus you’ll need to have a hoop to guarantee a firm backing to your fabric. 

Pros:

1. It delivers neat and uniform embroidery

2. Super-easy to use on hoop

3. Doesn’t take much storage space

4. Perfect for fine and heavier embroideries

5. Very easy to tear away with bare hands

6. It’s very affordable

Cons:

1. It doesn’t provide directions for newbies

2. Tricky to tighten in a hoop without tearing

Key Takeaway

While there are dozens more, these are the only stabilizers for embroidery that had what we needed. However, we did include all the types that exist, namely cut away, tear away, wash away.

1. Cutaway Stabilizer: this is mostly required in scenarios where you need a very stable base such as on stretchy fabrics. It’s a higher resistance to needling perforations and also provides permanent stabilization to the embroidery stitching. As the name advertises, this stabilizer will need to be cut away around the edges of the design once done stitching

2. Tear-Away stabilizer: Just like cutaway, this stabilizer works from the back of the design, whereby it offers backing for better stitching. However, the stabilizer is mostly for light to medium density designs, rather not too dense as it isn’t very strong. It’s best for linen, vinyl, non-stretchy woven fabrics, pure cotton, and poly-cotton fabrics 

3. Wash Away Stabilizer: this is what many call water-soluble as it completely disappears in the water. So, you have to work without sweating or drooling. It’s a perfect option for the case where you need no traces of residue such as free standing lace. Also, you may need it as a topping when working on fabrics with texture, such as sweater knits.

Buying Guide: The 6 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Good Stabilizer For Embroidery

When choosing a stabilizer for embroidery, the idea is to make designs that are crispier and long-lasting. So, you have to pay attention to details if you’re to make the most from your craft.

Well, the 6 key things to consider include:

1. Design Choice

What do you want to make? Every embroidery has its stitching, you know. If the design requires to be filled with stitching, a medium weight cutaway should is the best. And if you’re working on a simple or light embroidery, you can go with a light or medium weight stabilizer for cut-away, tear-away, or wash-away removal.

2. What Fabric Are You Using?

Similar to the pattern design, each fabric material requires a different type of stabilizer. If it’s knits or stretchy fabrics (like sweatshirts and t-shirts), you’ll need a cutaway stabilizer instead of a tear-away. This is so as the stretchy nature of these materials tends to make them shift around easily, thus the need for foreign support. 

3. Size 

It’s general knowledge that you’ll need a large stabilizer for a machine with a large stitching area. But if yours is small, you might end up cutting or tearing away a lot of material that will go to waste. 

4. Thickness

As was mentioned earlier, knowing the thickness of your stabilizer helps you determine if a particular product is perfect for you or not. For instance, a light weight stabilizer works best for light stitching, whereas a medium can work for light and heavier stitching.

5. Safety

The last thing you want is cursing your skin with undesirable complications. So, consider choosing a non-toxic stabilizer and if possible soft enough to not scratch your skin. If the embroidery is simple, you can even go with water-soluble that leaves no residues at all.

6. Ease Of Use

If you’re just beginning to learn the art of embroidery, it would be best if you start with the simple monograms that you can comfortably use a water-soluble stabilizer that you can trace or print the pattern.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s The Stabilizer For Embroidery On Towels?

For towels, a cutaway or tear-away stabilizer can work just fine and provide solid support to your stitching. However, the fabric of a towel is usually loopy and puffy. So, you’ll also need to use a topping water-soluble stabilizer so that your stitches can end up on top of your towel map.

Is It A Must I Embroider With A Stabilizer?

You don’t want your embroidery project to be a mess, right? Then, a stabilizer is a must to use if you want the lines and spacing to come out clean. Fabrics are not stiff like metals or wood, thus must have solid support for stable stitching without unwanted movements.

What’s The Difference Between Stabilizer And Interfacing?

Technically, you can use either both interfacing or stabilizer between the layers of fabric. However, the purpose of the two is different, in which case the interfacing helps make an area of a garment, like a collar, stiffer. On the other hand, stabilizers help provide structure, if I may say, to the garment.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, a stabilizer is a true hero when it comes to embroidering. Of course, for hand-sewing, you could still make some simple monogram without the backing. But for machine embroidery, the textile is very crucial if you’re to give your garment the accurate decorations you need.

In the article, our main goal was to help you choose the best stabilizer for embroidery that you can use. Since some of us are still new to the fabric arts, however, we did cover some basics that might come in handy.

 In any case, we hope you found the solution to your situation. If not the Sulky 457-02 Stabilizer  has a perfect balance of functionality that you may be needing. And if you’re working with the machine, then the HBI Medium Machine Cutaway Embroidery stabilizer  might serve your needs if you’re okay with medium weight thickness and non-adhesive back

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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