by jrob Moderator 28 Aug 2009

Stabilizer & Fabric Matching Guide

This stabilizer & fabric matching guide will help you make the right stabilizer choice based on the
weight, quality, and type of fabric that you are using.
When fabric is produced, manufacturers don't anticipate that anything will be added to it. When we're
adding the weight and tension of thread and stitches to fabric, that fabric needs to be made stronger
and more 'stable' with stabilizer. If the fabric isn't stabilized appropriately, you can experience many
'headaches,' such as poor registration, design segments not lining up, density problems, puckering,
gapping, and more.
There are a few rules that can be summarized here: The heavier the fabric you have, the lighter
stabilizer you need. The weaker/lighter the fabric you have, the heavier stabilizer you need. One layer
of stabilizer is appropriate for 99.9% of projects, and two pieces of tearaway stabilizer is not a good
choice when the fabric is best served by one piece of cutaway.
If you are sewing on a flimsy fabric with a stabilizer that is too weak, you'll see gapping, poor
registration, puckering, and other embroidery 'nightmares.' Conversely, if you are sewing on a heavy
fabric with heavy stabilizer, the result will be bulky, and you're making the machine and needle work
harder than what it needs to.
Avoid embroidery headaches - choose the right stabilizer every time with this guide!
Type Fabric Quality Stabilizer Choice
Canvas Durable, heavy, coarse
tearaway; if heavy
canvas no stabilizer
if cap, and cap has
buckram, then no
stabilizer necessary
Corduroy Heavy, textured, ribbed,
tight weave
Corduroy Heavy,
textured, ribbed, tight
weave tearaway if heavy;
cutaway if lightweight;
heat-dissipating to avoid
wetting fabric
Denim Heavy, strong, smooth,
tight weave
tearaway; if heavy denim
no stabilizer necessary
Strong, tightly woven,
used in suits, pants,
Heavy, tightly woven.
Used in awnings, tents,
clothing, tote bags
tearaway if thicker,
cutaway if thinner, no
backing necessary if very

Stabilizer & Fabric Matching Gui
Flannel Woven, nap on one or
both sides cutaway
Gauze Sheer, loosely woven,
cutaway, with spray
Gingham Lightweight, woven knit cutaway
Muslin Woven, coarse cutaway with adhesive, or
Organdy Thin, slippery cutaway with adhesive
Percale Closely woven, light
weight cutaway
Pique (golf shirt) stretchy, woven, porous
knit Cutaway, topping optional
Poplin Woven, twill
cutaway, possibly
tearaway depending on
Sateen Cotton fabric with a satin
weave cutaway
Seersucker Lightweight cotton,
textured, bumpy cutaway with adhesive
Sweatshirt Smooth, stretchy cutaway
T-shirt Smooth, woven, stretchy cutaway or tearaway
depending on quality
Terrycloth Looped fabric, high pile cutaway or tearaway,
Velveteen Cotton fabric with velvetlike
pile sticky-back cutaway
Wool (Alpaca, Mohair,
Angora, Camel,
Cashmere, Vicuna)
Broadcloth loose weave, sturdy cutaway
Felt Lightweight, entangled
not woven cutaway
Flannel Soft, lightweight, nap on
one or both sides cutaway
Gabardine tightly woven twill, smooth cutaway
Herringbone tightly woven twill,
textured cutaway
Jersey knit, lightweight cutaway
Merino soft, fine, smooth cutaway
Oatmeal durable, textured,
lightweight, soft cutaway
Sharkskin woven, shiny, smooth cutaway
Tweed woven, textured, rough
and flexible cutaway

Stabilizer & Fabric Matching Gui
Silk (strongest natural
fiber, oldest textile,
fibers harvested from
cocoon of silkworm)
Woven, usually with
Chiffon Transparent, lightweight,
thin tearaway
Lightweight, uneven
threads result in “raw”
Organza Sheer, lightweight, thin tearaway, light spray
adhesive if necessary
Broadcloth Lightweight, sturdy, crisp cutaway
Linen “Raw” appearance cutaway with spray
adhesive or sticky-back
Satin Satin weave on one side cutaway with spray
adhesive or sticky-back
Linen (from flax, strong,
2-3 times the strength
of cotton, sturdy,
smooth, lint-free)
Butcher’s Linen
Sturdy, heavy, used for
sturdy clothing (aprons)
and can be used as
Damask Patterned weave cutaway
Venise Thin damask, patterned cutaway
Acetate Lightweight, resilient cutaway
Acrylic Lightweight, thin cutaway
Polar Fleece Lightweight, breathable
polyester cutaway
Nylon Strong, elastic, smooth cutaway, with spray
adhesive or sticky-back
Polyester Strong, stretchy cutaway, with spray
adhesive or sticky-back
Rayon Strong, soft, silky,
lightweight tearaway
Spandex Elastic, stretchy, used in
exercise clothing, hosiery
cutaway, with spray
adhesive or sticky-back

Leather durable, smooth, strong
cutaway for thinner, like
lambskin; tearaway for
thicker, like cowhide
smooth, durable, low nap,
possible texture, possible
cutaway for thinner;
tearaway for thicker,
Velvet smooth, nap of varying
heights, possible stretch
sticky-back, heatdissipating
to avoid
wetting fabric, topping


by joyce05 05 Jul 2011

Thank you. You have answered many of my questions.

by kiffuri 28 Mar 2011

Thank you. This is great.

by noah 28 Mar 2011

wow i don't know how i missed this but i printed it and its on my wall now thanks !!caroltn

by ramona 28 Mar 2011

WOW! Thank you. I missed it the first time around.

by lflanders 28 Mar 2011

Thanks Jerrilyn! Somehow, I missed this when it was posted!

by judybell 09 Aug 2010

Thank you. This is great. Judy

by mommadooks 09 Aug 2010

Thank you so much, This has been a big sourse of confusion for me. I will print it out and put in binder. Thanks again.

by cherylgauteng 29 Jul 2010

Thanks so much. Have copied and pasted it to my computer - it will be so handy !

by rwalden 29 Jul 2010

Thank you...I have printed it and saving on computer. This will be so helpful.

by cloey 29 Jul 2010

Thank you. I just saved this to a doc so I can reference it when needed.

by keeponsewing 29 Jul 2010

Jerrilyn, is it okay if I copy/paste this to my doc file so I will have it handy? TIA

by dilceia 21 Jun 2010


by alfiedak 24 May 2010

Thank you.

by peardrop 24 May 2010

Thanks so much for posting this!

by almag 23 May 2010

Thankyou, Jerrilyn - I've just saved this lot given my Word a big headache but I'll be back later to sort it all out. It's valuable information and I appreciate you taking the time to help us all.
I'm exactly one year into ME and having a ball... But, I am also learning the hard way so this kind of info will avoid some of those annoying Senior 'Learning by Experience' Moments.

by mary51 23 May 2010


by ksgram1 23 May 2010

Thank you very, very much. Hugs ***

by kagen48 22 May 2010

Can I ask where you found this guide? Is there a copy that has the information in a chart format? Were there columns originally? I think I could separate it out but it would of course be easier to just print the chart.

by lbrow 22 May 2010

Glad you pulled this out again Jerrilyn. everyone who does any embroidering at all needs a copy of this. /Lillian

by adelmarie 22 May 2010

Thanks a lot for sharing all this useful information with us. *2U

by kagen48 22 May 2010

Thanks a lot! This a very detailed list.

by beatie58 22 May 2010

Thank you! this will be very helpful! Sally

by eleen 22 May 2010

Thank you Sure going to be helpful.

by shazells 22 May 2010

Thanks For re posting this I will print it off for some of the newbys in our wedensday embroidery group Hugs Shazells

by daisy530 21 May 2010

Lots of newbies here that might not have seen this. Thanks again Jerrilyn!

by manami 29 Aug 2009

Jerrilyn, you are amazing! thank you for this wonderful tutorial!

1 comment
jrob by jrob 29 Aug 2009

You are most welcome and hugs to you!

by suzettebritz 28 Aug 2009

Thank you! Marthie managed to get me cut-away in SA this afternoon! Very kind of her.

1 comment
jrob by jrob 29 Aug 2009

You are welcome. Happy that you got your cutaway!

by marthie 28 Aug 2009

U r a star!! Thank u specially 4 us who r very new to the game

1 comment
jrob by jrob 29 Aug 2009

You are most welcome. It helps me still on some of the odd things I run across.;)

by marietta 28 Aug 2009

Thank you very much Jerrilyn. Very usefull.

1 comment
jrob by jrob 29 Aug 2009

Glad to help.;)

by jacquipaul 28 Aug 2009

Merci beaucoup; this time I remembered to copy it!

1 comment
jrob by jrob 28 Aug 2009

You're welcome.;)

by kttyhwk4 28 Aug 2009

Thanks this is a lot of information. Hope we all copy and paste this in our own emb tips. you new pic.

jrob by jrob 28 Aug 2009

Thanks, new hair cut so new pic.;)

isew4kidz by isew4kidz 23 May 2010

Thank you so much! I always seem to use the wrong stabilizer.

by ziggy519 28 Aug 2009

My guide doesn't have some of these on it. Thank you for posting.

1 comment
jrob by jrob 28 Aug 2009

You're welcome.;)

by mad14kt 28 Aug 2009


1 comment
jrob by jrob 28 Aug 2009

You're welcome.;)

by bunnylane 28 Aug 2009

Thanks for the info, it really helps, a lot I didn't know about. I have guessed on some.Thanks again

1 comment
jrob by jrob 28 Aug 2009

You are welcome, this has saved me loads of re-doing over the years.;)