EducationQ&A

What common errors do embroiderers make when choosing stabilizer?

Know your fabric’s limitations when it comes to the design itself before thinking about which stabilizer to use. Puckering, pulling, and distortion may result if the stabilizer you use to support your design and fabric is incorrect. Most errors occur when the stabilizer is too heavy, too many pieces of backing are used, or when tearaway is used for a project that requires a cutaway.

One suggestion to curb problems is to purchase lightweight versions of both cut and tear options and stick with them. Rather than investing in different-weight stabilizers for differently weighted fabrics and designs, a lightweight backing can be used individually or doubled up when necessary. This controls inventory, and by turning two pieces of backing at an angle to one another, the stability increases.

You shouldn’t have to use more than one piece of backing per design, so if the design and fabric are medium- or heavyweight, you should have mid- and heavier-weight stabilizers on hand. A very lightweight woven fabric can be as unstable as a knit, and just as there are exceptions to every rule, will require you to use a lightweight cutaway. Pulling and tugging at excess backing that is stitched to an unstable fabric can distort the stitching, even creating “pulls” in the design.

Puckering can occur if the wrong backing is chosen. Using the lightest backing that provides the most stability helps prevent this. Be careful not to use a backing that is too heavy, or even two pieces together. While the design itself can be made to look better, too much bulk underneath the garment will not be visually appealing when worn. Be sure that the design has been digitized specifically for lightweight fabrics.

   —Madeira

Nancy Mini

Nancy Mini has risen in the ranks of Madeira USA's marketing department to become the senior marketing coordinator and backing specialist, learning how to operate commercial embroidery machines along the way. Madeira USA's resident embroiderer, she is a go-to person when customers face production challenges.

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