STABILIZER SAVVY PART 2: WATER SOLUBLE STABILIZERS

pic: Wilcom

pic: Wilcom

This embroidery design fro our brand new JANOME SKYLINE S9 SEWING AND EMBROIDERY MACHINE was stitched on a very thin sheer 100 lawn cotton. It had already been proved that the 3 sheets of flimsy water soluble stabilizer I had did not work! This time it was stitched on a firmer water soluble and once complete, was washed away completely. The dry fabric was pressed gently and placed behind the peach fabric. A heart template shape was marked on the fabric and stitched in place. The peach fabric heart was cut out as seen in this pic. In additon all the white lawn fabric outside of the heart shape was cut away at the back. BE GENTLE as this only has a straight stitch holding things in place and more sticthing is required.

This embroidery design is from our  brand new JANOME SKYLINE S9 SEWING AND EMBROIDERY MACHINE was stitched on a very thin sheer 100 lawn cotton. It had already been proved that the 3 sheets of flimsy water soluble stabilizer did not work! This time it was stitched on a firmer water soluble and once complete, was washed away completely. The dry fabric was pressed gently with a press cloth and placed behind the peach fabric. A heart template shape was marked on the fabric and stitched in place. The peach fabric heart was cut out as seen in this pic. In addition all the white lawn fabric outside of the heart shape was cut away at the back.
BE GENTLE as this only has a straight stitch holding things in place and more stitching is required. More later in this post on this.

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.

stan alone lace embroideries such as these from EmbroideryLibrary.com require a good water soluble stabilizer. Tear away would not work!

stand alone lace embroideries such as these from EmbroideryLibrary.com require a good water soluble stabilizer. Tear away would not work!

There are definitely times when you are doing an embroidery that tearaway stabilizer may not be the best choice for a project:

  1. When using a sheer or thin fabric that might distort or get damaged if you tear away the stabilizer.
  2. 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?

border guide lace 2

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.

This stand alone lace embroidery also requires water soluble......anyone for halloween embroideries? We found this on etsy.com

This stand alone lace embroidery also requires water soluble……anyone for halloween embroideries? We found this on etsy.com

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?

Firmer water soluble film for stan alone lace embroideries with medium to high stitch counts

Use firmer water soluble film for stand alone lace embroideries with medium to high stitch counts

Water soluble stabilizer is often an integral part of cutwork embroidery by machine.

Water soluble stabilizer is often an integral part of cutwork embroidery by machine.

 

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!
note the flimsy, thin water soluble film on top of this fabric. Great for toppings

note the flimsy, thin water soluble film on top of this fabric. Great for toppings

  • 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 being used as a topping. Note there is still stabilizer under the fabric

    Water soluble being used as a topping. Note there is still stabilizer under the fabric Pic: emblibrary.com

  • 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.
    Topping on a towel. Pic: aliexpress.com

    Topping on a towel. Pic: aliexpress.com

    pic urban threads.com

    pic urban threads.com

  • 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.

ws2

 

OK, notice the fairly open zig -zag stitch which has been done tosecure the 2 layers of this peek-a-boo embroidery together. Another name for this is REVERSE APPLIQUE. The Janome applique foot AP was used as this makes the task of sticthing around the heart much easier. Finally a second round of stitching with a satin sticth was done. Of course, this sticthing could also have been done in the embroidery hoop as an applique-in-the-hoop.

Notice the fairly open zig -zag stitch which has been done to secure the 2 layers of this peek-a-boo embroidery together. Another name for this is REVERSE APPLIQUE. The Janome applique foot AP was used as this makes the task of stitching around the heart much easier. Finally a second round of stitching with a satin stitch was done. Of course, this stitching could also have been done in the embroidery hoop as an applique-in-the-hoop.

About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
This entry was posted in Janome Embroidery, Janome Sewing Machine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to STABILIZER SAVVY PART 2: WATER SOLUBLE STABILIZERS

  1. Carol says:

    Thanks Liz..very informative

    Like

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