How to choose the right stabilizer for your machine embroidery project

Hello everyone, and welcome to an exciting week of embroidery and sewing with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90. Check out some of my earlier QUILTsocial posts about the great features and benefits of the Designer Ruby 90. You’ll want to appreciate the full potential of this fantastic sewing and embroidery machine.

We’ll be looking at more built-in embroidery designs, checking out Inspira stabilizers and how and when to use them, plus some other great projects. So be sure to check back every day this week to find out some of the many things you can do on this great sewing and embroidery machine.

Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90

The Designer Ruby 90 produces outstanding quality embroidery stitches; however, it needs a bit of input to make the final project look great.

There are four main categories of Inspira stabilizers, and within each category, you’ll find several types; all of them serve a specific purpose. That means you need to consider the design and the fabric and then select the appropriate stabilizer.

Did you know that if you have a free mySewnet account, you can get a lot of information on Inspira stabilizers right on an app on your smartphone? If you don’t have an account yet, go to and sign up for your free account today! Then download the app JoyOS Advisor from the place you download your apps, and you’re all set.

The three mySewnet apps

Once I’ve downloaded the JoyOS Advisor app, I can open it to find this menu. The item we’re exploring today is the Stabilizer Guide.

The menu for the JoyOS Advisor app

Opening the Stabilizer Guide provides me with the menu of the four main categories of Inspira stabilizer.

Four main categories of Inspira stabilizers

Drilling further into the information on the app, I open the menu for the Tear-A-Way stabilizers, and I find SEVEN types of Inspira Tear-A-Way stabilizers. Like all smartphone apps, it’s easy to scroll up and down to see all the options.

Options for Tear-A-Way stabilizers on the mySewnet app

Opening up one of the options gives me a description of the stabilizer, how to use it, and how to remove it once the embroidery is complete.

Detailed information for the Inspira Fuse N’ Tear stabilizer

That’s super handy, and the best part? It’s free. Be sure to sign up for your mySewnet account to access the information in these great apps! Once you have your account, browse through the Stabilizer Guide to better understand which products are suitable for your needs. Remember, you can use different combinations to achieve the same result. Then, pop by your Husqvarna Viking dealer to get a roll of the ones you’ll use more frequently.

The Designer Ruby 90 is a Wi-Fi-enabled sewing and embroidery machine. That means that after I connect it to the internet in my house, I can log into my free mySewnet account right on the Designer Ruby 90. I can now transfer embroidery files, created in the QuickDesign app, the mySewnet embroidery software, or the mySewnet embroidery library. I can also use the mySewnet apps to monitor my embroidery stitch out and help with the positioning of embroidery designs.

I see an exciting future in the sewing industry where all of our devices will communicate with each other!

But let’s get back to the fundamentals and talk about which stabilizer to use for my project today. I found the perfect embroidery design among the signature embroidery designs in the Designer Ruby 90. Before that, though, let’s get our stabilizer, fabric, and embroidery hoop ready. I’m using the Designer Splendid Square Hoop (120mm x 120mm), the smallest of the three machine embroidery hoops that come with the Designer Ruby 90.

There’s no better way to learn than by doing. I thought I’d start by seeing what happens when I don’t use any stabilizer at all. Even if I know the result, it’s great to have a visual, so you can better appreciate why stabilizers are essential to machine embroidery.

A roll of Inspira Fuse N’ Tear stabilizer, the Designer Splendid Square Hoop (120mm x 120mm), and cotton fabric

Be careful when you hoop your fabric. You want the fabric to be taut but not distorted. Also, don’t make the fabric drum tight in the hoop, which is a common error. If the fabric is too tight, you’re pulling the fibers out of shape, and once the fabric relaxes when it’s out of the hoop, it’ll pucker. So taut in the hoop, but not distorted.

The fabric is taut in the hoop but not distorted

See how the fabric is not flat in this photo? It’s not pulled evenly around the edges of the hoop, and if I were to embroider on this, my end embroidery wouldn’t lie flat. I need to resolve this before I start to embroider!

The fabric is not correctly hooped

I selected a beautiful pine cone motif from the signature collection of the Designer Ruby 90. It’s a perfect design to test stabilizers as there are some long stitches and some dense areas!

Oh boy, I’ve barely started, and I can see that we’re having some significant issues with this design and no stabilizer. What do you think?

The stitches immediately pull up the unstabilized fabric

I decided to stitch the first color completely to have a great example to show you. As you can see, this is NOT a good example of successful machine embroidery, but it sure shows you what happens with no stabilizer.

What happens when you do not use a stabilizer for machine embroidery

OK, let’s do that again as it was pretty bad. This time, we’re using one layer of stabilizer. But which one? As I mentioned earlier, there are several options I can select. My fabric is loosely woven, and I don’t need the stabilizer to stay in the items when it’s finished. After perusing the Tear-A-Way options in the JoyOS Advisor, I settled on Inspira Fuse N’ Tear. Fuse N’ Tear is a product that gets temporarily adhered with the iron to the wrong side of the fabric and provides excellent stability for loosely woven fabrics.

I should mention that all the information in the JoyOS Advisor that you see on the app on your smartphone is also available directly in the Designer Ruby 90, as the JoyOS Advisor is built into the Designer Ruby 90. That’s super handy! And remember, we’re only looking at the Stabilizer Guide; there is a lot more information in the JoyOS Advisor.

Inspira Fuse N’ Tear stabilizer temporarily adhered to the wrong side of my fabric

Now that I have two layers to put into the hoop, I have to loosen the screw a wee bit. You want to keep the fabric smooth in the corner where the Quick Release is. While it looks bunched up from the back, it’s nice and flat on the front, and that’s what counts. It’s easy to get a bit of bias stretch in this corner, so be careful.

Loosen the tension on the embroidery hoop to accommodate the layer of stabilizer

And there’s my Inspira Fuse N’ Tear hooped with my fabric. The stabilizer has temporarily adhered to the wrong side of my fabric, which will provide a lot of stability, preventing the fabric from shifting during the embroidery process.

The fabric and the stabilizer in the embroidery hoop

Now we’re back to the Designer Ruby 90, where I’ll stitch out the same motif. As I mentioned, this design is a perfect one to test the stabilizers as there are long stitches in the pine needles, and the pine cone, which you’ll see shortly, is dense! Oh boy! I can immediately see a significant difference. Look at those long stitches, the Inspira Fuse N’ Tear supports them well, and there’s no puckering like before when there was no stabilizer.

The layer of Inspira Fuse N’ Tear supports the long machine embroidery stitches

Here’s the first color using one layer of the Inspira Fuse N’ Tear stabilizer. I’m super happy with those results. The one layer of Fuse N’ Tear very nicely handled the long stitches, but what happens when we do the dense stitches of the pinecone?

The first color of the machine embroidery design using one layer of Inspira Fuse N’ Tear stabilizer

Here’s another thing to note – see the underlay stitches in the pinecone (on the left side)? Without the underlay, the dense stitches could pucker the background, even with the stabilizer. The underlay stitches help to stabilize the embroidery design and are a sign of a well-digitized design.

The underlay stitches on the pinecone

Here’s a close-up of those finished stitches. See how perfectly flat they are with zero puckers! Just the way you want it to appear.

Zero puckers with the long machine embroidery stitches

Here’s the final design, and even with the long stitches and the dense fill stitches, the design came out beautifully. If you look closely, you’ll see a bit of pulling in the bottom right corner. The pulling likely results from the direction of the stitches in that area falling on the bias grain. It’ll disappear after pressing. Watch when hooping as you push the inner hoop into place, that you don’t stretch that last corner. But let’s keep on with our experiment.

The completed pinecone

I’m stitching the pine cone design one more time using two layers of stabilizers. I adhered a layer of Fuse N’ Tear to the back of the fabric like I did before. As I put the embroidery hoop back on the Designer Ruby 90, I inserted a piece of Inspira Tear-A-Way stabilizer beneath the embroidery hoop to provide extra support for those long stitches and the dense fill pattern. I don’t think I needed it, but I wanted to see if there would be a difference.

Add a layer of Inspira Tear-A-Way stabilizer beneath the embroidery hoop

It’s perfect! No puckering!

The pinecone design

So, learning about stabilizers and producing perfect results requires several things. It helps if you have a great sewing and embroidery machine like the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90. Choose a well-digitized design that has several types of stitches in it. Play with different combinations of stabilizers. There’s never just one option, so be sure to read up about the Inspira line of stabilizers in the JoyOS Advisor, either on the app for your smartphone or on the Designer Ruby 90.

Did you make a mistake? There’s nothing wrong with playing and experimenting. Better to make a mistake when you’re learning and experimenting than when working on an actual project.

Be sure to pop into your local Husqvarna Viking dealer and check out the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90 sewing and embroidery machine. There’s nothing like a good test drive to check the fantastic capabilities!

Pop back tomorrow, where I’ll be testing another type of stabilizer.

Have a great day


This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: Inspira water-soluble stabilizers for superb machine embroidery results

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