Think Green and Save Money: Techniques for Using and Reusing Tear Away and Cut Away Stabilizers

There are two primary ways to save a stabilizer. The first is through pre-planning, hooping your stabilizer a little differently than usual, and the second is using leftover scraps of stabilizer after it has been used for embroidery.

How you cut and hoop your stabilizer can extend the number of embroideries you can stitch out, saving you money. When cutting your original piece of either cut away or tear away to place in your hoop, cut it the size you want in one dimension, either length or width, but much longer in the other dimension. For instance, if you are cutting an 8-inch wide piece for a 4×4 hoop, you may cut the stabilizer 8″ x 24″. Embroider the first design at one end. After neatly cutting or tearing the stabilizer away from the finished design, re-hoop at the same end for your next design, starting just past the torn section. You may need to press the stabilizer using a dry iron on low temperature in between hoopings if it is wrinkled. Now you can reuse more of the stabilizer, possibly being able to stitch out four (4) embroideries, depending on their size, from the one piece, instead of the three (3) embroideries you would get by cutting three pieces 8″x8″. Take this idea to the extreme, and do not cut your length off at all. Hoop your stabilizer, leaving the roll attached toward the top of the hoop. Place the roll behind the machine, out of the way of the hoop, embroidery arm, or any threads. After the embroidery is complete, tear the stabilizer away, press the wrinkles out, and hoop again at the leading edge.

After embroidering with most tear away stabilizers, there are still more uses for the leftover stabilizer. It is useful to cut strips out of the leftovers to be used to back buttonholes, under decorative stitching, along edges that do not want to cooperate, or along edges where the decorative stitches will be sewn off the edge of the fabric and need stabilizer support.

Larger pieces that are too small to hoop are good to float under other embroideries as needed to support more stitches. Be sure you place the smaller piece under the area to be embroidered.

I often use Totally Stable by Sulky, a fusible tear away, partially because it is so easy to reuse. It is also a versatile and useful stabilizer. Totally Stable can be fused lightly to the back of your fabric, and after the excess is torn away from the completed embroidery, that excess can be fused to the back of a new piece of fabric. Smaller pieces can be torn from other stabilizer scraps to be fused over the hole or strips can be fused next to each other, overlapping slightly.

After cutting a cut away stabilizer from the back of an embroidered design, trim off a wide strip from each of the four (4) sides of the leftover piece. A rotary cutter and ruler are helpful for this. This effectively trims off the uneven edges surrounding the central hole. When a bunch of these strips are collected, overlap the edges slightly and sew them together, both lengthwise and sometimes crosswise, depending on the strips’ relative lengths, using a 4-5mm basting stitch. Any thread is okay, since you can trim it close, if needed. Once a piece is a large enough rectangle to fit the embroidery hoop, this patchwork of stabilizer can be reused. This new piece is not as secure as a solid piece, and should be used on lighter applications or layered with nylon organza for Embroidered Decoupage techniques.



Source by Sherilyn Roach

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