Why did we not use a tearaway for this embroidery if the first attempt with a wash away did not work? See points 1 & 2 below.
There are definitely times when you are doing an embroidery that tearaway stabilizer may not be the best choice for a project:
- When using a sheer or thin fabric that might distort or get damaged if you tear away the stabilizer.
- Or when the fabric is see-through and you don’t want to be able to see the bits of tear away stabilizer which often remain there. Perhaps the fabric is a thin white t-shirt or organza? batiste? tulle? drapery sheer?
This is when a water soluble stabilizer becomes very useful. It will wash out (usually requires a little soaking and multiple rinses to remove all the stabilizer) but you won’t be having to rip & tear, nor will you see any stabilizer through the fabric once it has been washed out.
If the fabric requires ongoing support because it is particularly sheer and flimsy, wash away would not be a good choice. Another alternative might be wise such as a layer of organza under the fabric?
Things to be aware of:
- Wash away stabilizers come in many different brands, weights and types. Many are interchangeable in terms of functionality so you would be advised to search out the ones that work for you in terms of availability, price and doing the job well.
- Some wash aways are a bit like saran wrap: they look and feel like plastic and come in different weights from fairly flimsy to much thicker & stiffer. The thicker ones do take some rinsing in water to remove. However, doing a stand alone lace embroidery with a dense, high stitch count on a soft, light weight stabilizer is not a good idea. The thicker, firmer ones are required for this. Soaking and rinsing is just part of the deal.Leave the embroidery to soak in water several times and exercise patience!
- Other wash aways look more like a tear away or a type of mesh. Some come with a sticky backing which can be a big help for hooping and positioning. These also come in different weights for the various different types of embroidery designs we will be embroidering.
- Suggestion: keep a supply of at least 2 different weights or types of water soluble in your stash. Recently I discovered I had run out of a heavier weight water soluble which proved to be my downfall in a recent project. I thought spray glueing 2 or 3 sheets of the flimsy stuff together would work. It did not. Lesson learned: a medium/heavy weight water soluble stabilizer has now been purchased and I’m smiling again!
- Water soluble stabilizer is often used as a topping for some embroideries. For example with embroidery on towels, fleece, velvet and any fabrics with a pile. The stitches can get lost in the pile resulting in a “patchy”, poor looking embroidery. The flimsy, sheer type of stabilizer mentioned in #2 above which is not suitable for stand alone lace, is very suitable for this type of project. It gets perforated by the embroidery needle as it stitches so is very easy to remove after the embroidery is complete – it just tears away easily and does not even need to be washed out. Which is handy for embroidered towels that are for gifts – you would not want to wash those before giving the gift.
- Water soluble stabilizers do not generally like heat so it is not a good idea to iron them. They tend to shrink and wrinkle up if you do. And can mess up your iron!
- Film type water soluble stabilizers can be affected by moisture (the layers may stick together)or lack of moisture in the air (they dry out & get brittle) : obviously they can get a bit sticky if it is very humid. Suggestion: keep this type of stabilizer in a sealed zip seal bag to minimize this.