Machine Embroidery


The purpose of stabilizer is to hold the fabric firmly, so Q&E Basic Lessons it remains flat and unpuckered during and after embroidery. Using the appropriate type of stabilizer for your embroidery project is important for success.

Stabilizers are classified by their construction, attachment and removal methods. Construction options include non-woven, mesh and film. Attachment options include fusible and non-fusible, adhesive and water-activated. Removal methods include tear-away, cut-away, water-soluble and heat-away.

A cut-away stabilizer stays under the embroidery design for the life of the project to keep it from distorting. Cutaways should be used with all knits and woven fabrics that have give or stretch, like denim (due to its twill weave), and loosely woven fabrics.

A tear-away stabilizer is appropriate for most cotton fabrics, as no long-term stability is needed after the stitching is complete.

When embroidering a layered quilt, no stabilizer is needed in most instances, as the batting and multiple fabric layers suffice. When a stabilizer is needed, select a clear, water-soluble film that can be rinsed away after stitching.


To hoop fabric that will be used in a quilt block or border, cut the fabric larger than the finished patch size to allow it to fill the hoop—at least 1" larger all around than the hoop size. Trim the fabric to the patch/border size after stitching.

Print out a full-size template of the design and mark the placement lines and center point on the fabric.



Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the stabilizer to the underside of the fabric.

Place the larger half of the hoop under the stabilized fabric, matching the design markings to the hoop placement marks. Snap the inner hoop into place without moving the fabric, double checking that the markings line up with the hoop marks.



Do not pull the fabric to tighten it in the hoop, as doing so may distort the grain and positioning. Snapping the inner hoop in place should hold the fabric tautly. Tighten the thumb screw on the outer hoop.


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