Choose the Right Stabilizers for Quilting
Did you know you can use stabilizers for quilting? That’s right! Stabilizers aren’t just for machine embroidery. You can use stabilizers for quilting to achieve a more professional finish; provide a sturdy foundation for certain techniques; add thread count to lightweight fabrics without altering the drape or hand; and more. If you’ve ever struggled with taming a fabric while sewing, completing a pucker-free appliqué or creating straight stitches when quilting, this post is for you! Using stabilizers for quilting will change your quilting for the better.
Soft ‘n Sheer™
This stabilizer is a lightweight cut-away variety that remains with the fabric after stitching through it. It is not fusible, but rather acts like another layer of fabric that stays soft and nice after the quilt is complete.
If using a lightweight cotton, cotton voile or sateen for a quilt, back the fabrics with Soft ‘n Sheer to eliminate shifting during piecing. The stabilizer then remains with the fabric, and when layered with batting and batting adds extra stability for the quilting process. The stabilizer has a nice softness that doesn’t make the quilt stiff. Plus, after multiple washings, the stabilizer remains as extra security to ensure the quilt lasts over time.
Use Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive to secure the stabilizer to the fabric wrong sides, if desired. KK 2000 is air-soluble, so it dissipates after about 18-20 hours. This leaves the stabilizer separate from the fabric in areas that are free of stitching, providing even more drape and softness.
Tender Touch is another cut-away permanent variety that’s great among all stabilizers for quilting. It is super lightweight, yet fusible for lasting stability through washing and long-term use.
Tender Touch is the perfect stabilizer for T-shirt quilts. Fuse it to the T-shirt front wrong side, and then fussy cut the T-shirt motif and/or block from the shirt. This stabilizes the T-shirt fabric, which is typically a lightweight, worn knit, making it much easier to sew and piece together. Plus, the addition of stabilizer gives each T-shirt block a similar weight and feel, regardless if some are more worn than others. And, the stabilizer is so lightweight that the quilt remains soft and pliable after construction, unlike many stabilizers that add unwanted bulk and stiffness.
Tender Touch is also great for covering and securing stitching along the fabric wrong side. If the quilt has embroidery, whether by hand or machine, apply Tender Touch to the fabric wrong side after embellishing. This ensures the thread ends are secured between the stabilizer and fabric, helping the embellishment last as long as the quilt.
A foundation paper-piecer’s best friend, Paper Solvy is one of the go-to stabilizers for quilting using this method. It is completely water-soluble, so it washes away once piecing is complete. You won’t have to pick out small pieces of fabric after foundation paper piecing, which often compromises the stitch strength and quality of the finished quilt block. With Paper Solvy, you can also print your pattern directly onto the paper and begin stitching right away.
Paper Solvy also helps create perfectly circular yo-yo embellishments. Cut out the desired yo-yo diameter from the Paper Solvy. Continue to create the yo-yo from fabric, placing the Paper Solvy circle inside. Attach the yo-yo to the quilt, and then wash away the stabilizer when construction is complete.
Sulky Totally Stable is a tear-away stabilizer that is also fusible! Isn’t that amazing? In order to tear it away after fusing, you MUST use a medium temperature iron to avoid permanency.
If you’re quilting with stitch-heavy designs or medium-weight thread, such as 40 wt., use Totally Stable to tame stretchy, slinky fabrics during stitching and support the thread weight during quilting. Then carefully tear it away after quilting for a professional finish. Test first to ensure the fabric will tolerate the stabilizer and still be removable once fused–this is essential for desired results.
Sticky Fabri-Solvy stabilizer is a great water-soluble stabilizer that washes away completely when quilting is complete. Cut strips of it to denote quilting lines, and place them on the quilt right side in straight lines or in a pattern. Stitch beside or on the strips (or both) to perfectly (or imperfectly) space your quilting stitches. Then rinse it all away after quilting and completing the quilt for a flawless finish.
If you’d like to try your hand at free-motion quilting, first draw a design onto the Sticky Fabri-Solvy right side, and then place the stabilizer on the quilt top. Stitch along the lines through all layers. Then rinse to remove the stabilizer after the quilt is complete. This stabilizer helps keep the quilt top flat during stitching while also transferring a design, eliminating the need for a removable fabric marker. If you don’t stay on the line it rinses away, and no one will ever know!