What stabilizer gives the best results?


Stabilizers, or backings and toppings, are probably the most agonized over of all embroidery choices. This agony is perhaps due to there being so many from which to choose. This chart summarizes which way to lean, depending on the item or fabric you need to stabilize during the embroidery process. And the illustration of the two basic fabric types also suggests stabilizer choices:

  • When the fabric is stable, use a tearaway backing
  • When the fabric is stretchy, slippery, or unstable in any way, use a cutaway
  • When the fabric is lightweight, never overpower it with backing, or you’ll create the badge effect
  • For a large design with thousands of dense stitches, use a heavyweight stabilizer
Garment - FabricThreadStabilizerNeedleSpecialty Products
Badges/EmblemsAnyHeavy TearawaySharp PointCrinoline
Tote Bags - CanvasAnyMedium TearawaySharp Point 
Bath Robes - VelourAnyWashawayBallpointTopping
Belt/Dog Collar - Nylon WebbingAnyStick-On/Peel & PressSharp Point 
Blankets - FleeceAnyWashawayBallpointTopping
Caps - StructuredPolyesterHeavy TearawaySharp Point 
Caps-Knit - Heavy KnitAnyWashawayBallpointTopping
Dress Shirts - BlendAnyNo Show CutawayBallpoint 
Dress Shirts - CottonAnyNo Show CutawayBallpoint 
Golf Shirts - KnitAnyNo Show CutawayBallpointTopping
Golf Shirt - PiquéAnyNo-Show CutawayBallpointTopping
Jacket - DenimanyMedium TearawaySharp Point 
Jacket - FleeceAnyMedium CutawayBallpointTopping
Jackets - NylonAnyNo Show CutawayBallpoint 
Jeans - DenimAnyMedium TearawaySharp Point 
Linens - Light WovenAnyWashawayBallpoint 
Performancewear GarmentsRayonNo-Show CutawayBallpoint 
Sweat Shirts - Heavy KnitAnyHeavy CutawayBallpointTopping
Sweaters - Heavy KnitAnyMedium CutawayBallpointTopping
Sweaters - Light KnitAnyNo Show CutawayBallpointTopping
Towels - TerryAnyWashawaySharp PointTopping