Whenever you’re doing decorative machine stitching, it’s important to use a stabilizer on the back of your fabric and to test your stabilizer/thread/fabric/stitch/needle combination before working on your final project. The stabilizer, thread, fabric, and needles must all be appropriate for your project. Every sewing machine is different, so by doing some sample stitching, you’ll be able to find out what works best for you. Be sure to keep your fabric samples and write relevant information on the fabric for future reference.
For my stitch samples, I used 4 different Sulky stabilizers – Tear-Easy, Heat-Away Clear Film, Cut-Away Plus and Soft ‘n Sheer Cut-Away – to see what worked best for me. I did the same stitches on regular quilting-weight cotton fabric using all 4 stabilizers plus one fabric with no stabilizer. I used different stitch types as well – open style, dense style, and medium density.
Here are my stitch samples. Each one shows the same stitches, threads, and cotton fabric. The first is the one with no stabilizer. Itʼs easy to see that some kind of stabilizer is definitely needed if you are doing this kind of work!
The next sample shows stitching on the 2 types of cut-away stabilizers. The Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer Cut-Away is good, but the Sulky Cut-Away Plus gives better results. Because you are just cutting away the excess stabilizer, there will be some stabilizer left on the finished product.
Sulky Heat-Away Clear Film is used in this sample. Because all stabilizer is removed as soon as heat is applied, the stabilizer can be used on either side of the fabric. When you’re finished stitching, iron the fabric to remove all traces of the film. A hot, dry iron is placed directly on the film to melt it away and no, there was no residue left on the iron! The film melts into tiny plastic balls that are easily brushed away.
The Sulky Tear-Easy sample turned out well too. Again, some stabilizer will be left in the finished product after the excess is torn away, so take that into account when choosing your project.
Here’s a picture of the back of these samples, so you can get an idea of how each different stabilizer looks.
Join me again tomorrow when I show you how to do some decorative bobbin work using Sulky stabilizers. Be sure to check it out!