A guide to stabilizers

Do you need help when it comes to deciding what stabilizing product is right for your project?

Stabilizers come in many different varieties:
  • Iron on - Cool & hot fuse. Comes in a range of thicknesses
  • Tear away
  • Sew in
  • Wash away
  • Spray on
  • Heat away
  • Thin & transparent
  • Pin on & cut away
  • Some have a slight crossways stretch such as Fusible tricot knit interfacing.  It still gives soft shaping.
The reason we generally add a stabilizer in the first place is to give shape, structure or added strength to fabric.  Many sewing patterns call for interfacing to be added to cuffs, collars or buttonholes.  Adding a stabilizing product can also add stiffness to bags, assist with appliques, embroidery & make sewing seams on delicate fabrics easier.

Your fabric will help determine what product is best. 
Usually heavy fabrics such as denim & canvas don't need a heavy stabilizer as it will become hard work to sew with the added thickness. Go for a lighter option in this instance.

For medium weighted fabrics, tear away or medium sew in and iron on interfacings work well. Knit fabrics will definitely benefit from having a lightweight fusible knit product added if you intend appliqueing or embroidering.

Lighter fabrics will need a heavier product to add structure. But for delicate fabrics that are washable, you could try using a water soluble paper stabilizer or a spray on product that once the product is dry, you sew then rinse.

With any stabilizer, be sure to do a test piece to ensure the product does not show through your fabric piece.

Often we get a little confused between a product and a brand.  For example Pellon & Vilene are both brands and have a large range of products between them however they are often referred to as a product alone. 


clare's craftroom said...

I love all these tips that you put together they are always so helpful , thanks !

Megsy-Jane said...

Hi Jodie,

I just noticed that you've changed the buttons on the blog - they look really good! I notice the ''enter store'' button better now...
Thanks for all the tutorials and info - the shirring one came in handy the other day when we were trying to figure out how to shir a dress for my sister. Not sure we have it completely worked out yet but hopefully we'll get there!

Jodie said...

Thank you Clare & Megan, it's great to know the tutorials & info posts have been helpful.

I'm glad the new buttons have made a difference for the better.

Tiff said...

Jodie, you are a constant wealth of information. I get SO much out of your tips! I wonder if you can tell me why my fabric softies and cushions pucker around the curves? I fringe them on the inside and topstitch them before I stuff them? Is it normal or is it because I crazily make my own patterns & don't get the curves right? Perhaps thats just how the fabric pulls? Also, thanks for being so kind about my chicks/owls who are a prime example of this problem! X