Our 7 Favorite Wash Away Stabilizers for Embroidery

peach and purple embroidery thread

Part of what makes embroidery so much fun is being able to add tiny, intricate designs to fabrics.

It can turn something plain and ordinary into a personalized treasure, all with the magic of crafting. But to achieve those beautiful stitches, you’ll need a little more than just a needle and thread. Embroidery pros know and love wash-away stabilizers for hand embroidery and machine embroidery as a crucial addition to ensure your embroidery looks flawless.

Stabilizers play a crucial role in ensuring your embroidery looks flawless. Among the various types of stabilizers available, wash-away stabilizer for embroidery stands out for their convenience and ease of use.

What Types of Stabilizers Can You Use for Embroidery?

When it comes to stabilizers for embroidery, you have several options to choose from. Each type has its unique characteristics and applications, so let’s take a closer look:

  • Tear-away stabilizers are designed to tear easily from the embroidered fabric once stitching is complete. They’re suitable for medium-weight fabrics and designs with low stitch density.
  • Cut-away stabilizers are more durable and provide long-term support for heavier fabrics or designs with high stitch counts. They’re trimmed away from the fabric after embroidery and offer excellent stability.
  • Wash-away stabilizers for embroidery dissolve completely when exposed to water, leaving behind no traces of the stabilizer. They’re ideal for delicate fabrics, intricate designs, or items where the stabilizer shouldn’t be visible.

What’s Special About Wash Away Stabilizers?

Simply put, the ability to wash away!

Wash-away stabilizers for embroidery are made to completely dissolve completely in water with just a little rinse, leaving behind nothing but your beautifully stitched design.

They’re super versatile, from being able to create intricate lace designs to embellishments on garments or stitching on tricky items like socks or bathing suits.

Our 7 Favorite Wash-Away Stabilizers for Embroidery

Embroidery enthusiasts know that the key to stunning stitchwork lies both in the thread and needle and in the stabilizer. Here’s why these wash-away stabilizers for embroidery are beloved by embroiderers worldwide!

1. Kimberbell Stabilizer

Their color-coded system (red for tear-away, yellow for cut-away, blue for wash-away, and green for specialty) with color-coded slap-bands that helps keep your sewing room organized.

Within their three types of wash-away stabilizers are three even more specific categories:

  • Wash-away topping, with a slightly more textured feel meant to apply with heat for higher-pile fabrics like fleece
  • Wash-away, for free-standing lace, sheer fabrics, and with a 20-second dissolve time
  • Sticky-back wash-away, for lower-stitch count designs, and lighter-weird fabrics like chiffon
wash away stabilizer for embroidery house pattern on a shirt

2. Floriani Stitch N Wash

This stabilizer, Floriani Stitch N Wash, is unique because it is made up of half soluble and half non-soluble fibers, which makes it easier to remove your embroidery without distorting stitches or harming delicate fabrics.

When you’re done embroidering, you can wet the stabilizer and the non-soluble part will stay, with any remnants of the stabilizer around the design able to wash out in its next load of laundry.

There’s also a fusible version of Stitch N Wash available, which they recommend specifically for loosely woven fabrics that tend to shift around during the hooping and embroidery process. It’s meant to keep the fabric taut and eliminate basting or messy spray adhesives.

3. Sulky Wash-Away™️

If you’re a crafter, you’re probably familiar with this popular, trusted name in the world of embroidery and maybe even with their Wash-Away™️ line of stabilizers. They offer several different options like Fabri-Solvy, Paper Solvy, Solvy, and Stick ‘n Carve, and even provide different sizes and package options to suit various needs, to make sure you have the perfect amount for your stitching adventures.

4. C&T Publishing Wash-Away Stitch Stabilizer

This easy-diluting wash-away stabilizer is great for machine quilting to appliqué and more. What sets it apart is its easy dissolution in water, ensuring that your embroidery work remains undamaged and pristine. It comes with clear instructions and tips included.

5. Pellon Wash-N-Gone Fabric Stabilizer

Pellon’s Wash-N-Gone Fabric Stabilizer is a crowd favorite, being lightweight, versatile, and suitable for machine work, applique, cut work, and monogramming. It’s made of 100% PVA, and it washes away effortlessly in any water temperature, as attested by glowing customer reviews.

6. HimaPro Wash Away Non-Woven Stabilizer

For strong support and easy dissolution, look no further than HimaPro Wash Away Non-Woven Stabilizer. This backing is water-soluble and dissolves completely in water, leaving behind no residue. Lightweight yet sturdy, it’s suitable for light to medium stitch density and can even be layered for denser designs.

It’s available in a convenient size of 12 inches in width and 25 yards in length and is compatible with various hoop sizes, making it a versatile addition to your embroidery toolkit.

7. RipStitch Soft Tear/Wash Away

RipStitch Soft TW 2.0 Tear/Wash Away Embroidery Stabilizer combines tear-away backing with wash-away characteristics for ultimate convenience and is available in two weights, 1.5 oz and 2.0 oz. This product washes away leaving your embroidery soft and free of stabilizer remnants while keeping stitches firmly locked in place.

peach and purple embroidery thread

How to Use Wash-Away Stabilizers for Embroidery

Here are some wash-away stabilizers for machine embroidery tips and tricks to improve your technique even more:

Picking Your Stabilizer

Remember that there are different types of stabilizers for different fabrics; use lightweight stabilizers for organza and tulle, and a more substantial stabilizer for heavier fabric.

You’ll also want to figure out whether you need a stabilizer for topping, backing, or supporting delicate fabrics, and ensure that the stabilizer you choose is compatible with your embroidery machine and hoop size. This will prevent any issues during stitching and ensure a smooth embroidery process.

Hooping the Stabilizer and Fabric

Cut the wash-away stabilizer slightly larger than your embroidery hoop size to ensure that it covers the entire design area and provides adequate support, then hoop the stabilizer tightly with the fabric, making sure it’s smooth and wrinkle-free. Be sure to adjust the tension of the hoop to secure the stabilizer and fabric in place without stretching or distorting them.

Double-check that you’ve positioned your stabilizer correctly beneath the fabric to provide adequate support during embroidery.

Embroidering the Design

Load your embroidery design onto your machine and position it correctly on the fabric. Make sure it’s centered and aligned with the placement you want. Once everything is set up, start the embroidery process, keeping an eye on the stitching to ensure it’s progressing smoothly.

Make sure the stabilizer remains intact and provides adequate support. If you do notice any issues, stop the machine and adjust as needed. Once the embroidery is complete, remove the hoop from the machine and trim any excess stabilizer from around the design.

Removing the Excess Stabilizer

Carefully trim any excess stabilizer from around the embroidered design using small scissors or a sharp craft knife. Be careful, and try to avoid accidentally cutting into the fabric or the stitches of your embroidery.

Ensure all visible traces of the stabilizer are removed to achieve a clean and professional finish.

embroidered striped fabric with letter R

Washing Away the Stabilizer

Now that you’ve removed the excess stabilizer, it’s time to wash away the remaining traces.

Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water, following any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer of the wash-away stabilizer. Submerge your embroidered fabric in the water, gently agitating it to encourage the stabilizer to dissolve. Let your fabric soak for its recommended timeframe, and if you need to, gently rub the fabric between your fingers to help release any stubborn remnants of the stabilizer.

Once the stabilizer has dissolved, carefully drain the water and rinse the fabric under running water to remove any remaining residue.

Drying Your Fabric

Lay the washed fabric flat on a clean towel or drying rack to air dry (don’t wring or twist it, because it’ll distort the embroidery stitches!). Pat (don’t rub) the fabric dry with a towel to remove excess water, and allow the fabric to dry completely before handling or displaying it to prevent any potential damage or distortion to the embroidery.

Find Your Favorite Wash Away Stabilizer for Embroidery — Then Make Your Creation Happen!

Invest in your own Ricoma embroidery machine to make your projects faster, easier, and more enjoyable. 

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