I used to try to embroider on t-shirt material without any stabilizer and it was such a headache! The fabric would wrinkle up and I would end up with puckered fabric and embroidery stitches that looked messy. I’m sure you understand this struggle if you’ve ever tried this, and maybe that’s what brought you here looking for the best stabilizer for hand embroidery in the first place.
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Do I need a stabilizer for hand embroidery?
First off, you definitely don’t need to use a stabilizer for hand embroidery. However, it may be beneficial to use if you’re working with fabrics that are stretchy, thin, or delicate. A stabilizer helps to support the fabric while you’re stitching on it. I made a post about all of the different kinds of stabilizers and what they do if you’re interested in learning more about them. Below, I’ve narrowed it down to two of my favorite stabilizers that I regularly use and highly recommend for hand embroidery.
The Best Stabilizer For Hand Embroidery
Embroidery Stabilizer for Clothing and Stretchy Fabrics
Whenever I’m embroidering on clothing, I like to use Pellon stick and tear away to put on the back of the fabric/piece of clothing I’m embroidering on. This stabilizer is made of paper with an adhesive side and it tears away when you are finished. Some of the stabilizer may be hard to get off, so if you’re working on fabric that is slightly see-through, I wouldn’t recommend this stabilizer. However, it is great for t-shirts and sweatshirts that are knit material and stretchy.
What I like about the stick-and-tear-away stabilizer is that once you stick it on, it preserves the weave of the fabric and makes it easier to stitch on it without distorting or puckering the fabric. I’ve also found that it’s easier to get the needle through the fabric because it won’t stretch as much with the stabilizer on.
Best Water Soluble Stabilizer
Now, if you’re stitching on fabric that is slightly see-through, you’ll want to make sure that all of the stabilizer comes off when you’re finished. I recommend Sulky stick and wash away stabilizer. This is also an adhesive stabilizer, but it washes away with some light scrubbing and water when you’re finished. You can put this stabilizer on the front or the back of your work since it is dissolvable. It is also commonly used to transfer a design onto fabric.
One tip I’d like to recommend with this stabilizer is to make some basting stitches around the border of the stabilizer because the adhesive on this material isn’t as sticky as the Pellon stick and tear away.