Tear Away - Stabilizer
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Different Types of Tear-Aways Available
Tear-away stabilizer is designed for general machine embroidery and is suitable for most fabrics. It will tear away from your project once the embroidery is completed. Tear-away is quick and easy to use and popular for many different types of projects.
Standard tear-away comes in various different weights and is available from many different suppliers. You can use one layer of tear-away, or multiple layers for a firmer stabilizer. Apply spray adhesive to your tear-away to make it adhesive.
Choose a multi-directional or bi-directional tear-away for the easiest removal from your project.
This stabilizer is excellent for medium to heavyweight knit fabric. For best results when ironing on, be sure to avoid stretching the knit.
Tear-Away for Toppings
Sometimes Tear-Aways are used on top of some embroidery fabrics like velvet to prevent the stitches falling into the nap of the fabric. Dry Cover Up, and heat or melt-aways are suitable for this.
There are different types of adhesive tear-aways available, and these are the best for projects that are hard to hoop, difficult to hoop, or stretch knits.
- Adhesive Stick 'n' Peel: a sheet of sticky paper that you remove the protective paper from to reveal the adhesive.
- Hydro-Stick is a product that is an alternative to self-adhesive embroidery where the needle "gums up" or you wish to avoid aerosol sprays. It is available in tear-away light or heavy weights and in a cutaway. It becomes sticky when wet and it can be repositioned.
Tear Away is Ideal for:
- Embroidering on any stable fabrics like light weight cottons, silks, canvas etc.
- Sheer fabrics, as it can be easily removed at completion of embroidery.
- Making in-the-hoop projects.
- Any project you want to finish off quickly. Tear-away stabilizer is one of the quickest and easiest to remove.
Some Tips for Use:
- When sewing a large stitch intensive design, use a few layers of light to medium weight tear-away instead of a heavy weight. You can then tear away each layer carefully from your design.
- When using more then one layer of tear-away, only hoop one layer with your fabric, and then place another layer underneath your embroidery hoop for greater stability. You can use a spray adhesive to help keep it in place.
- Tear stabilizer carefully away from back of embroidery design by pulling gently, and not too quickly. Be careful to not pull or stretch fabric.
- Spray one side of stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive to make it fusible so it will hold your fabric more securely in place.
- When used for in-the-hoop projects, sometimes little bits of stabilizer are left behind after tearing. These are fondly called fuzzies, pokies or wispies. You can use tweezers to pull these out, or a permanent felt pen the same color as your satin stitch thread to color over them.
- To ensure your embroidery won’t shift during stitching, pin the fabric to the stabilizer, carefully keeping the pins outside the embroidery sewing area. Alternatively use basting stitches. Only do this on fabric that won’t be marked by the pins or stitches.
Choosing a Tear-Away.
- Choose a Multi-Directional tear-away that tears in all directions evenly. When buying your tearaway hold it up to the light. Check if the fibers run in all directions or predominately in one.
- Test the tearability by tearing in both directions before use. Ones that tear in only one direction are not as easy to remove.
Iron-On Fusible Tear-Aways
- Iron-on stabilizers are preferred to stabilize knits so they won't stretch during embroidery. They are just like a normal tear-away, but become fusible when ironed on to the fabric.
- If you are using a stretch or knit fabric then stabilize with iron-on tear-away first and then treat as a woven. Make sure that the iron-on stabilizer is larger than the hoop so that the fabric will not stretch. You can mark your center lines on to the fabric to make sure that it is square when hooped.
- Iron-on, fusible tear-aways make it easier to keep the fabric and stabilizer on-grain during hooping without stretching or distorting the fabric. And they prevent any grain shifting that may occur during stitching, especially when stitching a large area.
- Avoid using an iron-on for tightly packed rows of stitches, because it will be difficult to remove.
Tear-Aways for Toppings
Using Tear-Away as a Topping.
- Toppings are intended for use on top of, rather than beneath, the fabric in order to prevent stitches from getting lost in a dense nap or pile, ideal for velvets, toweling etc.
- Dry Cover Up is a permanent, plastic-like film tear-away that comes in multiple colors. This keeps the fabric from showing through the embroidery.
- Heat or melt-aways are non permanent stabilizers that can be used for toppings, but will dissolve when heated with an iron.
There are different types of adhesive tear-aways available. The most popular ones are as follows:
Adhesive Stick 'n' Peel
Stick 'n' Peel is an adhesive tear-away that is like a sheet of sticker paper. Hoop the entire piece of stabilizer, then remove the protective paper from inside your hoop. You can then lay the fabric to be embroidered over the top of hoop and smooth in place. The adhesive will keep firmly in place.
Hydro-stick is a product that is an alternative to self-adhesive embroidery where the needle "gums up" or you wish to avoid aerosol sprays. It is available in tear-away light or heavy weights and in a cutaway. It becomes sticky when wet and it can be repositioned. It is released when wet again. Hydro-stick lets you stick and secure articles that are difficult to hoop in the usual way.
Use Hydro-stick instead of peel and stick backings and messy adhesive sprays. It leaves no gummy residue on needles, hoops or machine parts. It is an environmentally friendly, natural adhesive that easily washes off leaving no stain. You can re-moisten a few times to reposition your fabric if necessary.
Adhesive Tear-Aways are Ideal for:
Items too small to hoop like baby blanks, neckties etc, or difficult to hoop items like bags.
Napped fabrics like velvets and other items that may be ruined by hooping.
Great for velvets, towels, silks, knits, vinyl, leather and any material requiring a better hold.
Stretch knit fabrics that require stabilizing, so they don't stretch while embroidering.
Fabrics too thick to hoop, that wont enable you to adjust your hoop tension correctly.
Use this stabilizer when positioning is critical. The adhesive holds the fabric firmly but it can be repositioned easily. Position the fabric according to the starting point that you have drawn on the fabric and then check your positioning using an outline of the design. If you are not happy you can reposition the fabric easily without needing to re-hoop it.
Some Tips for using Adhesive Tear-Aways.
Cut-Aways vs Tear-Aways
- The standard rule is if the fabric stretches, use cut-away. If it doesn't then you can use tear-away.
- You will usually get better definition with a cut-away than a tear-away. Cut-aways are usually more dense with a slightly longer fiber - therefore able to grasp the thread easier. The type of fabric determines the kind of backing.
- When you want the continued support of a stabilizer for the thread area through wearing and laundering use a cut-away stabilizer.
- Tear-away stabilizers are faster and easier to use, but only give temporary support during the embroidery process.
- Tear-aways have limited usefulness on unstable fabrics like knits or when sewing dense embroidery designs because each needle penetration weakens the tear-away and perforates it.
- Cut-aways are a better choice for designs with a high stitch count, open weave fabrics or light weight fabrics with a complex design.
- Sometimes if your stitch count isn't too heavy you may be able to get by with a quality tear-away on knits. However do test sew the design and stabilizer on similar fabric first to ensure the combination works before sewing it on your finished garment.
- Tear-aways are the preferred stabilizer for in-the-hoop embroidery projects.