Cut-away stabilizer is available in many different weights from light to medium to heavy weight stabilizer. Poly-mesh and Hydro-stick are also very popular forms of cut-aways. are used for permanent stabilization, eliminating pulled or sagging stitches, providing excellent stretch resistance, remaining with the fabric for continued stabilization through laundering and wearing, not tearing when stitching dense designs and embroidering on any unstable fabrics or knits as they won’t stretch when embroidering.
Light and Medium Weight Cut-Aways – Light weight cut-away is for lighter knits and medium weight is for medium knits – two layers can be combined for heavier knits or stitch counts.
Heavy-Weight Cut-Away Stabilizer – is the top selling weight for commercial embroiderers. Cut-away will stabilize thousands of stitches and still maintain a soft drapable finish. Heavy weight cut-away is the perfect stabilzier for sewing dense embroidery designs, or using for embroidered projects made in the hoop that you want to keep well stabilized.
Poly-Mesh Cut-Away and Fusible – is a soft, sheer no-show cut-away mesh backing. It is very strong and can be used as a single layer. It is the perfect stabilizer for knits or any project where softness is a consideration. It is available in a plain, non fusible backing, or as a fusible which has all the benefits of Poly-mesh with the added benefit of an iron-on for even greater stability. Poly-mesh is available in three perforated sizes, making it a quick and easy stabilizer to use, as you don’t need to cut it off the roll. Choose the perforated size to best suit your hoop. Ideal for light-weight knits, Poly-mesh helps keeps your outlines on track by providing a soft yet extremely stable backing. It is a must for any embroidery where the stabilizer touches the skin, like polo shirts, baby garments etc. as it will remain soft. Use this mesh stabilizer when embroidering on light-colored or see-through fabrics as the mesh wont show through. It is the perfect stabilizer for sheer fabrics as it is translucent and will remain soft after embroidery. If added support is necessary for your embroidery, use a layer of tear-away along with the poly-mesh to provide better stitch definition. Try using two layers, with the grain running perpendicular to each other for even greater stability. Use like a cut-away stabilizer, cutting away excess after embroidery. The translucent property of this stabilizer will prevent shadows showing through the fabric after trimming. Made of embossed nylon, which is soft, sheer, and translucent, no-show mesh provides the stability you need with a single layer, but will not be visible from the front of the shirt as will other stabilizers. Ideal for all lightweight knits or wovens where softness is a consideration.
Hydro-Stick Cut-Away – a stabilizer with a water activated adhesive that sticks when you wet it, and then the adhesive can be released when you wet it again. It leaves no gummy residue on needles, hoops or machine parts. This is a great stabilizer to use when you need to position your fabric exactly in the hoop, as you can re-moisten a few times to reposition your fabric if necessary. It is the ideal stabilizer to use when embroidering on knits, as the adhesive keeps your fabric totally stable and it won’t allow it to stretch during embroidery. Hydro-stick is available as a cut-away or tear-away stabilizer.
On Unstable Fabrics or Knits – Cut-aways provide the best stability for stretch fabrics or knits. As there is a lot of stretch in the fabric, you need a stabilizer that wont stretch in any direction. Choose a good quality cut-away stabilizer for this. Use an adhesive cut-away stabilizer like poly-mesh fusible to keep knits totally stable when embroidering. It is very difficult to hoop knit fabrics without stretching them or distorting them. Hydrostick is a perfect solution for this as you can hoop the Hydrostick, and then wet the stabilizer inside your embroidery hoop, and carefully place your knit fabric on top, without needing to hoop it. Cut-aways are a good choice for knit fabrics, because they prevent the designs from stretching out with frequent wearing and washing. Spray the stabilizer lightly with a temporary spray adhesive to help keep your fabric firmly in place.
For Dense Designs – Cut-away stabilizer is designed for dense embroidery designs as it won’t tear during the stitchout. Choose the correct weight stabilizer for your stitchout, depending on the density of your design. Use cut-away when embroidering fabrics that stretch or distort with tear-away stabilizers. Multiple layers may be used for heavy duty applications, or dense embroidery designs. Be careful to not over stabilize. If you use too much stabilizer, your design may not sew correctly and you could end up with a design that is very stiff. When sewing designs that are very dense and have many layers of threads sewn on top of each other try using a lighter weight thread for the embroidery.
When you want a Permanent Embroidery Stabilizer – Cut-aways are permanent stabilizers that remain on the fabric and keep it stable during and after embroidery. Cut-aways are a good choice for knit fabrics, because they prevent the designs from stretching out with frequent wearing and washing. Use cut-away stabilizer on projects to be framed, where visibility of the stabilizer is not an issue, but you want a good result. Use cut-away when sewing appliscapes, as the stabilizer will keep the appliscape square firm after stitching. Use a heavy cut-away stabilizer when sewing applique dsigns that you are going to cut out after embroidery and that you want to remain firm and intact.
Hints for Using Cut-Away – Cut-aways are generally available in black or white. Choose the best color for your project. To remove a cut-away stabilizer, first rough-cut the excess stabilizer from the fabric. Then, using sharp embroidery scissors, trim close to the stitching. Cut-aways are available in a variety of weights. Get samples of the different weights and play around with them to find out which one works best for your projects. When using more than one layer of cut-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. When stitching on a fabric that will be marked or ruined by hooping it, hoop your stabilizer only, then spray lightly with a temporary spray adhesive. Place the fabric on top of the hoop. 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. To help avoid the “show through” look, use two layers of a lighter cut-away and trim them away at different levels. Use it when machine embroidering and appliqueing on knits like t-shirts, golf shirts, sweaters and sweatshirts, lycra swimwear, work-out and bike pants.
Cut-Away vs Tear-away
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.