6 key tips for embroidering on terry cloth using an embroidery machine

What do you think of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80 so far? It’s a great sewing and embroidery machine. Imagine having the ability to do machine embroidery on whatever you want, whenever you want!

If you read yesterday’s post, this week is all about Christmas in July. I have two goals this week. One is to give you some ideas to personalize gifts for your family and friends, and the second one is to help you compile a Christmas wish list.

So far, we’ve added two items to our Christmas list.

  1. Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80
  2. PREMIER +2 software

Yes – they are big items, and so today we’ll look at some smaller items to add to your wishlist, and trust me – if you don’t have these, you’re going to want them.

Let’s get started!

Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine with the embroidery unit


Having the proper stabilizer for the job is key to a successful embroidery project. There are a lot of Inspira branded stabilizers, and choosing the right stabilizer can be very confusing.

There’s no need to panic as there are many sources of information to help you select the correct stabilizer.

If you check the JoyOS Advisor on the Designer Brilliance 80, you’ll find a stabilizer guide built-in! That’s huge – you don’t need to go far to find the information you need.

Stabilizer Guide built into the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80 embroidery machine

And if that isn’t enough, you can download the JoyOS Advisor as an app for Android or Apple devices. It’s free, and you’ll get all the great information included on the JoyOS Advisor on the Designer Brilliance 80, including the complete Stabilizer Guide.

Hey – that’s a gift to you! You don’t even need to put this one on your Christmas list – you can download it now for free.

The JoyOS Advisor app on a tablet

The best part? The stabilizer guide will give me information on what type of fabric to use the stabilizer on, the type of embroidery application, and instructions on how to use it. Does it get any better than that?

Take a few minutes to download the app and check the instructions for the Water Works Soluble Film. This stabilizer is under the section on Water Soluble Stabilizers.

The same information included in the JoyOS Advisor is written on the packaging, but you don’t always have the packaging handy.

Here are a couple of tips for organizing your collection of stabilizers.

  1. Keep all your stabilizers in one spot. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find something that you know you have.
  2. Keep the label and the instruction sheet. An instruction sheet is included inside the cardboard tube. Roll the instruction sheet up and put it inside the tube. Wrap the label around the roll of stabilizer and secure it with an elastic. You’ll thank me for this. I don’t know how many times I get asked to identify different stabilizers.

A roll of Inspira Water Works Soluble Film stabilizer with the label and instructions included

Experimenting is a MUST

If you’ve been following me, you know that I like to experiment with products and techniques. I can’t say enough for experimenting and trying different things so you can appreciate what works best and why.

I have a metal hoop, and I figured that working with the terry cloth would be the perfect opportunity to give the metal hoop a test drive.

The recommended stabilizer for terry cloth is a Cut Away stabilizer. When you’re experimenting, you can try anything. After I share my experiment, I’ll give you the best options for working with the terry cloth.

I decided to use the Light & Tacky Tear Away with the metal hoop. If you pop over to the JoyOS Advisor app, you’ll find the Light & Tacky Tear Away is excellent for sensitive fabrics that you want to float in an embroidery hoop, rather than hoop them.

Inspira Light & Tacky Tear Away stabilizer

Using a metal hoop

There’s only one part to a metal hoop. It was super easy to apply the Light & Tacky Stabilizer to the underside of the hoop, so the tacky side is facing through the opening.

The 100 x 100 mm metal hoop with the Inspira Sticky & Light Tear Away stabilizer

I placed my terry cloth onto the sticky stabilizer and pressed it firmly in place. Then I used the four magnets that come with the metal hoop to hold the terry cloth in place.

Since I was experimenting, I certainly didn’t want to be using good towels for this exercise. Take a peek in your linen closet or go to the thrift store to find some old towels to play with. If you make a mess, you can always donate the towels to the local animal shelter.

Let me say that those magnets are STRONG. You certainly do not want to get your fingers pinched between the magnets! Ask me how I know!!

What a super fast and easy way to hoop the terry cloth. I could just as easily have been using cork, velvet, corduroy, or any other delicate fabric that you don’t want to damage by using the traditional two-part embroidery hoop.

The terry cloth stabilized in the metal hoop with four magnets

I don’t want you to think that I’m learning this stuff as I go along. As I mentioned, I love to experiment. So often, we’re told what to do, but not why. Or if we’re told why we never get to see what happens if we don’t follow those instructions. I love the ‘why’ moments, and so I’m sharing them with you in the hopes that you’ll have a better understanding of what you should and shouldn’t do. It’s OK to break the rules, but you have to know what you’re doing first.

I chose my initials from one of the built-in embroidery fonts on the Designer Brilliance 80. I hooped my terry cloth using the Light & Tacky Tear Away stabilizer. I used white bobbin weight thread in the bobbin and a 40wt embroidery thread on top.

I hit START, and this is the stitch-out results. Hmmm – Not very good.

Here’s the thing – do you know why it doesn’t look great? That’s because the embroider stitches sunk into the loops of the terry cloth.

How do you solve that problem?

Embroidery stitches have sunk into the loops of the terry cloth

It’s easy. I’ll layer a piece of the Water Works Soluble Film stabilizer on top of the terry cloth before we start to stitch.

A layer of Inspira water-soluble stabilizer is sitting on the terry cloth

While you could hold that stabilizer in place with your hands, there’s a better way to hold the stabilizer in place. The Designer Brilliance 80 gives you the option to baste around the hoop or baste around the design. I choose to baste around the design. Knowing that the stabilizer is now well secured to the terry cloth, I can hit START and let the embroidery design stitch out without my babysitting it.

An outline of basting stitches secure the water-soluble stabilizer; sewn on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Look at the difference between the two stitch outs. You MUST place a layer of water-soluble film stabilizer on top of fabrics with a nap, or the stitches will sink into the fabric. The water-soluble stabilizer will keep the stitches sitting on top rather than sinking into the nap. Don’t forget it!

Two initials stitched out in a green thread on white terry cloth using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

This is the beauty of making samples. If you never make mistakes (whether on purpose or accidentally), I find it hard to learn. I’m a very visual learner, and if someone tells me that I MUST do something, I want to see what happens if I don’t do it that way. The experimenting helps me remember techniques, and it helps me to recover from mistakes that occur.

All I have to do now is remove the basting stitches and remove the stabilizer from the back of my work, and my sample is finished.

I do want to mention something about the Light & Sticky Tear Away stabilizer. It isn’t the best choice to work with terry cloth. Why? Because the sticky stabilizer stuck to the loops of the terry cloth.  The quality of my terry cloth wasn’t the best, and some of the loops pulled when I was removing the stabilizer. Still, it doesn’t look bad, and it was super easy.

The backside of the embroidered initials after removing the Inspira stabilizer; Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Things to consider when choosing your lettering style and size

  1. Watch the size of the lettering. If the lettering is too small, it might get lost in the pile of the terry cloth.
  2. Choose a font that doesn’t have a lot of thin lines, like a script as those lines will get lost in the loops of the terry cloth.
  3. Watch the density of the letters. If the letters are very dense, you may have to increase the number of layers of stabilizer.

Samples of the letter E in green thread on white terry cloth using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Things to consider when embroidering on terry cloth

  1. Float your terry cloth rather than hoop it into the traditional two-part hoop. You don’t want to damage the loops of the cloth. Use a metal hoop with Light & Tacky Tear-A-Way stabilizer or lay your non-stocky stabilizer directly on top of the hoop and add your fabric. Use the magnets to keep the projects from shifting. Alternatively, you can use a traditional two-part hoop and only hoop the Tear-A-Way stabilizer.
  2. Consider using a Cut-A-Way stabilizer. One thing to keep in mind is that the Cut-A-Way stabilizer will remain in the project. You may not be able to cut all of the stabilizer away, and it will depend on how much remains on the reverse side of your terry cloth project. This is where some experimenting comes into play.
  3. USE a Water Works Soluable Film on top of your terry cloth. The embroidery stitches will sink into the loops if you don’t.
  4. Consider using a matching thread on the reverse side if there’s a chance the back of the design will be readily visible.
  5. Choose designs that are not too skinny. A lot of straight lines will likely get lost in the loops of the terry cloth even if you use the Water Works Soluable Film on top.
  6. Remember that the information that you get from other people (even me) are guidelines. The project that you are creating is yours. If you prefer to use different products or use them differently, that’s OK. As long as the end result makes you happy, then go for it.


Let’s pop back to the PREMIER +2 software. All three levels of the software have the ExpressMonogram Wizard. If you’re into making monograms, you MUST get the software. Creating a monogram using the ExpressMonogram Wizard is so easy and fast. You can create a two or three letter monogram, select from a vast number of fonts, then choose the way the letters appear, and select a frame if you wish.

In mere seconds, you can have many options to choose from. The hardest part of creating a monogram using the ExpressMoogram Wizard? Choosing which I liked the best!

A three-letter monogram on a computer screen on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Because I wanted to do the monogram on terry cloth, I chose a design with bold letters and a bold border.

I was so excited by the option that I had forgotten to put my initials in! Oops.

A two-letter monogram with a bold frame on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Once I was happy with the monogram, I saved the file to the mySewnet cloud. Yep – no USB and no cables. Then I hopped over to the Designer Brilliance 80 and opened up the File Manager, and there was my file called ET monogram in the cloud. How easy is that? I remember long ago when I struggled to get my designs into the embroidery machine. Well, the file was there before I could walk across the room and open the File Manager.

A list of files on an embroidery machine on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Then I used the metal hoop with the water soluble stabilizer on my terry cloth and started to stitch out my monogram.

Stitching with green thread on yellow terry cloth using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Here’s the monogram. It looks amazing.

A two-letter monogram stitched in green thread using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Imagine what you can personalize with the Designer Brilliance 80? If you add in the PREMIER +2 software, the sky is the limit. You can personalize all the towels in your house! No one will pick up the wrong towel anymore. If you don’t want a name on the towels, use HIS or HERS or OURS on the towels. Add your pet’s names to their towels.

My daughter was part of a swim team, and all the kids had the SAME towel. How did they know which was which? That was an easy fix. I went into the software and created her name and added a swimming logo. I choose a blue thread to match the swim logo on the towel. We never had an issue with whose towel was whose after I did this.

Blue embroidered lettering on an orange towel using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Where to go from here?

So what else could you personalize? Make bibs for babies from terry cloth. They will be super absorbent for that drooly baby. Why not make hooded towels, burp cloths, kitchen towels, beach bags, shower wraps, head wraps, hair bands, roll up toiletry kits, neck wraps, and I’m sure there’s a whole lot more you can make with terry cloth.

You don’t always have to personalize the items with a name. Maybe you have a cute nickname or favorite saying that you could use to personalize the item instead of adding a name.

The shopping list

Here are a couple more items to add to your wish list.

The Metal Hoop comes in THREE sizes – 100 x 100mm, 180 x 130mm, or 240 x 150mm. Each hoop comes with four magnets.

Not only is the metal hoop great for floating delicate fabric, but it’s fantastic for embroidering on ready to wear garments. Those magnets will hold everything in place. I’ll show you some of that later this week.

A box with pink jeans for the metal embroidery hoop on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

You can also get extra magnets if you feel that four is not enough. Do NOT use more than 8 magnets on a metal hoop. The metal hoops are heavier than the plastic hoops, and you don’t want to cause damage to the arm on the embroidery unit. So be careful with that.

A set of four magnets for the metal hoop on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliant 80

Don’t forget to add supplies like stabilizers to your wish list.

I think we should have at least one roll of each kind of stabilizer. You never know when you’ll need one, and I hate running to the store for that kind of stuff.

Isn’t it exciting what you can do with terry cloth. So many ideas and so many of them would make great gifts. The best thing about having an embroidery machine is the ability to personalize items, whether they are for yourself, your household, or family and friends. Whether you buy towels or buy the terry cloth and do your own projects, you can personalize them with designs and lettering to suit any style.

Imagine how surprised everyone will be when they see the thought that went into the gifts you give when everything is personalized.

That shopping list is also looking great!

I’ll be back tomorrow with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80 sewing and embroidery machine as I show you another great gift idea so be sure to come back for that.

Have a great day!


This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: 9 brilliant features of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80

Go to part 3: Designer Brilliance 80 Word Sculpt: getting really creative now is easy!

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What to know about couching work on the Designer Brilliance 80

Designer Brilliance 80 Word Sculpt: getting really creative now is easy!

1 comment

Shirl August 30, 2020 - 7:30 am
The magnetic hoops can be used on my Designer Brilliance 80? They aren’t listed as compatible.
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