The trick to getting great results using embroidery machines lies in using the right fabric stabilizers. Since embroidery done on Janome embroidery machines such as the Janome MB-4S requires a secure and contained fabric surface, choosing an appropriate stabilizer is essential. Explore the various types of embroidery stabilizers below and learn how to select the best one based on fabric, thread, and design specifics.

Cut Away Stabilizers

Cut away stabilizer is the most common type of support used with embroidery machines today. It is available in multiple weights for use with a variety of fabrics and becomes a permanent part of the embroidery design. Cut away stabilization is not removed after stitching and is recommended as a support under any fabric with stretch, such as knits and jerseys, or loosely woven fabrics. It is simply trimmed close to the stitches, leaving the backing on the underside of the garment where it continues to support the embroidery design by preventing fabric stretch in that area.  

Tear Away Stabilizers

Tear away backing is the second most commonly used stabilizer. It is suitable for woven fabrics that do not stretch and is available in multiple weights for use with various fabrics. It performs similarly to the cut away type. Tear away is great for heavily detailed designs and with finer fabrics. Most varieties are either based or hooped on; there is also a tear away type that is ironed onto the back side of the fabric for better security. The main difference with this type of support is that it is gently torn away from the underside of the fabric once the stitched design is complete.

Wash Away Stabilizers

In instances where some kind of support is necessary but it must be completely removed from the back of the fabric, a washable option is preferred. Wash away stabilizer is great for fine fabrics such as laces and mesh as well as for creating appliques on Janome embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S. Wash away stabilizers are available as plastic film or paper, each of which is hooped with the fabric. It can also be used as a brush on liquid that stiffens the fabric, making it taught enough for stitching. With all three types, once the stabilizer is wet or the fabric is washed, it dissolves and is completely removed from the fabric. Wash away stabilizers are commonly used for embroidering on fabrics or projects that are hard to hoop, like baseball hats, thick towels, collar points, and others.

Heat Away Stabilizers

Another option for especially challenging situations is a heat away option that can be carefully applied, then removed by heating the fabric with an iron. This option exists in either a woven thread or plastic film type. Heat away stabilizer can be used to create decorative trims and lace or where other options are not sufficient. It is suitable in situations where cut away stabilizer is too heavy and the fabric is too fine for a tear away or cannot get wet.

Most embroidery designs can be completed by using cut away or tear away stabilization. It is important for those who work on embroidery machines like the Janome MB-4S to know there are other specialty stabilizers available for more challenging projects. Obtaining the best results with Janome embroidery machines requires knowing how various fabric must be handled on the hoop and which stabilizers will work best!

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