stabilizers for quilting
Quilting,  Stabilizer Series

Stabilizers for Quilting

Choose the Right Stabilizers for Quilting

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™

tender touch stabilizers for

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.


Paper Solvy™

paper solvy stabilizers for quilting

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.


Totally Stable™

tear away stabilizers for quilting

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™

sticky fabri-solvy for quilting

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.

stabilizers for straight line quilting

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!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!


  • Betty Allen

    I am betty ready to help my daughter with my grandson T shirt quilt. I had no idea about these products. I am definitely going to order the tender touch t o help the piecing process!

  • Karen Poole

    I have another way that I’ve used Sulky Sticky Fabric Solvy! I just completed a quilt where i digitized a custom design for my 7 inch blocks (every other block). The quilt is about a double bed size, and I was using the design as my quilting, with all three layers together. I hooped the Sticky Fabric Solvy, then placed the hoop on the machine. Once that was done, I placed the quilt onto the hoop with sticky solvy. I slowed the speed down on my machine and stitched the design. Once I had all designs stitched, I washed the quilt with a few color catchers and the Sticky Fabric solvy washed right out! I can’t even imagine trying to hoop the layers of the quilt for each square! I love Sulky products! And a great touch to the design is I used Sulky blendables for the design!

  • Margaret

    Trying to wrap my head around all these options! 🙂 Would it be correct to say that “Soft n Sheer” and “Tender Touch” are the same thing except “Tender Touch” is fusible while “Soft n Sheer” is not?

  • Ellen March

    Hi Margaret,
    Tender Touch is much “slinkier” than Soft n Sheer. Soft n Sheer EXTRA is the fusible equivalent to Soft n Sheer.

    • Ellen March

      Sulky Stick n Stitch and Sticky Fabri-Solvy come in printable 8 1/2″x11″ sheets that can be run through a laser or ink-jet printer. We recommend using the “draft” or lowest ink setting to ensure the product isn’t over-saturated for use.

  • Margaret

    Now i’m confused. …. I thought anything with adhesive or fusible surfaces could not handle going through a laser printer because of the heat….that it could actually mess up the laser printer….does anyone have experience with this situation?

  • Patti Lee

    We use it in a laser printer in our office all the time. I have others that have told me they do, too. I think the older laser printers (way back) did run very hot. Usually, at home, we’re only printing a couple of copies at a time, too. We’ve printed tons on the laser printer in the office. HInt: Some printers prefer a manual feed, rather than through the tray, too.

  • Rachel

    Are these stabilizers recommend to stabilize on-point quilts? How do you use the stabilizer & not end up with a lot of bulk?

    • Patti Lee

      Hi Rachel – Ellen asked me to respond to this. Yes on-point quilts are more challenging when choosing a stabilizer. We had free webinar some years ago, that demonstrated how to use Sticky Fabri-Solvy to control the bias edges. You can find it at
      Register there (it’s free), and then scroll down the Educational Offerings tab at the top of the page. The event is called “Scrap Quilting with Stabilizers” by Judy Gauthier, author of several books. I remember there being a short video in the webinar that demonstrates this. There are tons of other offerings there most free, that you can register for and add to your “My Library” there whenever you want. We also have a very lightweight stabilizer called Soft ‘n Sheer, but no matter how lightweight, you’re correct it will add more bulk, unless it’s water soluble.