March '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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68 || P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 7 comes to the design itself before thinking about which stabilizer to use. Puckering, pulling, and distortion may result if the sta- bilizer you use to support your design and fabric is incorrect. Most errors occur when the stabilizer is too heavy, too many pieces of backing are used, or when tearaway is used for a project that requires a cutaway. One suggestion to curb problems is to purchase lightweight versions of both cut and tear options and stick with them. Rather than investing in different-weight stabilizers for fabrics of varying weights and designs, lightweight backing can be used individually or doubled up when necessary. This controls inventory, and by turning two pieces of backing at an angle to one another, the stability increases. You shouldn't have to use more than one piece of backing per design, so if the design and fabric are medium- or heavyweight, you should have mid- and heavier-weight stabilizers on hand. A very lightweight wo- ven fabric can be as unstable as a knit, and just as there are exceptions to every rule, will require you to use a lightweight cut- away. Pulling and tugging at excess back- ing that is stitched to an unstable fabric can distort the stitching, or even create "pulls" in the design. Puckering can occur if the wrong back- ing is chosen. Using the lightest backing that provides the most stability helps pre- vent this. Be careful not to use a backing that is too heavy, or even two pieces to- gether. While the design itself can be made to look better, too much bulk underneath the garment will not be visually appealing when worn. Be sure that the design has been digitized specifically for lightweight fabrics and read further for more problem solvers. SPECIAL SOLUTIONS As fashion fabrics evolve, so do stabilizers that are designed to help produce the best- looking embellishments. When fleece became popular, not just UNDERSTANDING EMBROIDERY STABILIZERS A stick-on stabilizer is ideal for small items that are difficult to hoop.

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