In October, reader Shirley Clark asked, “What’s the best stabilizer to use for stitching on pillowcases or cotton fabric? I know I’ve played with this a lot, and even used a spray on stabilizer to keep it from puckering. Stitching on knits are easy, but cottons are always challenging.”
Shirley, it depends (great answer, right?) on the design and size of the project. When I’m adding embroidery – think full, dense designs – I often give cotton a little extra lift. I fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the cotton. When making pillows or quilt blocks, I interface the entire wrong side of the block or pillow front. Then I add tear-away stabilizer for the actual embroidery. The interfacing stabilizes the fabric and the tear-away stabilizes the stitches.
I’ve used Pellon’s ShirTailor fusible or tricot knit interfacing. The ShirTailor adds body to the cotton and makes it a bit stiff. I find it’s great for pillow fronts and whole cloth wall quilts (fused edge to edge). I started using it many years ago when I wrote my first quilt book, Contemporary Machine Embroidered Quilts. Since then, my style has evolved and I find I don’t really stitch heavy embroidery designs on quilt tops anymore but the technique still works.
Today, when I’m adding embroidery designs (fill stitches) to a quilt block, I fuse tricot knit interfacing to the wrong side of the block. This added layer of support won’t change the hand of the fabric but the embroidery definitely benefits from this addition.
Of course, another way to avoid puckers on cotton is to select a design that is appropriate for the lightweight cotton. Heavy dense stitches need a firmer substrate, one that can endure thousands of needle penetrations. If you select airy and open designs for stitching on cotton, you’ll be happier with your embroidery.
Always stitch a test of the stabilizer, fabric, interfacing and design combination. Use fabric of the same weight and fiber for the text. Make notes right on the sample if you don’t think you’ll use it in another project. If it’s a candidate for future use, write in pencil on the back. Down the road, you’ll know what changes were required.
Here’s your assignment this week:
I hope this information helped Shirley for stitching on cotton. Our blog sponsor this week is Graceful Embroidery. Please click on the banner below to visit their site and make sure to tell us what’s your favorite Graceful Embroidery design. Four commenters will be chosen to win a $30 voucher to Graceful Embroidery!
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