Stabilizing Cotton Fabric

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.

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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!

DIME-blog-Dec-2015

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

So tell me, how does your significant other show you that they are thinking of you? One comment will be chosen to win a $20 gift card to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:  

Joan: “This week, my husband cleaned and replaced the ceiling light panels in my sewing room. I’m afraid to let him in there for very long for fear he’ll get rid of some of my stash, though.”

 

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62 Comments on Stabilizing Cotton Fabric

  1. Sandi Cunningham
    December 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm (4 years ago)

    I love all of her Celtic, oh heck I really love anything heirloom, so the whole site. One really beautiful one is the CELTIC ANGEL, though. I’d like to take my Mme Alexander doll (our angel) and make those wings and redo her skirt like this!

    Reply
    • Hazel @ Graceful Embroidery
      December 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm (4 years ago)

      Hello Sandi

      That sounds a perfect idea. I would love to see the result. In creating mu Celtic Angel I have tried to think of lots of ideas and projects that the designs could be used for but I never though of using them to give your a new outfit or wings!

      Reply
  2. Linda Pratt
    December 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm (4 years ago)

    This site is very unique and my favorite was the Celtic Christmas collection. Thank you for sharing !

    Reply
  3. Belinda Germain
    December 16, 2015 at 5:10 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the Romantic crazy quilt patterns, they are very Victorian in style.

    Reply
  4. spierssusan52@gmail.com
    December 16, 2015 at 9:35 pm (4 years ago)

    Great info on stabilizing cotton for embroidery on quilts, although I am just an amateur quilter, this info would be helpful on other projects, thank you. I love poinsettias during this and every Christmas season, so I have to say the Poinsettias Promises collection woul be my favorite.

    Reply
  5. Lynda
    December 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm (4 years ago)

    Nice site with beautiful designs. I like the heirloom designs but they are all very nice.

    Reply
  6. Wende Gennardo
    December 16, 2015 at 9:52 pm (4 years ago)

    My favorite design set is almost all of them, but as I must pick one I will say the Romantic Crazy Quilt 7. I really do love all her heirloom sets also, but like I said the entire site is beautiful. Thanks for a new place tro look for great designs.

    Reply
  7. Martha
    December 16, 2015 at 10:36 pm (4 years ago)

    Every time I thought I had found my favorite design I scrolled to the next one and loved it too! How can you expect us to pick a favorite?

    Reply
  8. Zoe
    December 16, 2015 at 10:47 pm (4 years ago)

    Absolutely love crazy patch, so I picked block #4 of the Crazy Patch.. I want to thank you for the stabilizing cotton information, would not have thought to fuse tricot knit to it. Love the new to me site.

    Reply
  9. Beth R
    December 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm (4 years ago)

    I like the Poinsettia Promises collection!

    Reply
  10. Donna G.
    December 16, 2015 at 10:52 pm (4 years ago)

    Beautiful designs! I especially like the Smoky Mornings collections.

    Reply
  11. Janny
    December 16, 2015 at 11:32 pm (4 years ago)

    Love the Jane’s White Work collection!

    Reply
  12. Michelle H
    December 17, 2015 at 12:32 am (4 years ago)

    I really like the Celtic designs especially the Angle and Celtic Christmas

    Reply
  13. Maga
    December 17, 2015 at 12:51 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you very much for this (for me) very apt blog post. I have done loads of stitch-outs of a design I want on a summer skirt but have not really come up with the right stabilizer for it to be drapey but yet make the embroidery just right. I will have to try the tricot knit interfacing. Off to search for it now. Season’s Greetings to everybody at DIME

    Reply
  14. Jeanne
    December 17, 2015 at 1:16 am (4 years ago)

    Omg, just too many to mention. I’m so glad you linked us to their site. They have soooo many gorgeous designs. But I think since I’m still in Christmas mode, I like the Holly Bells 4. Beautiful!

    Reply
  15. Gail Beam
    December 17, 2015 at 1:37 am (4 years ago)

    I love the Romantic Quilt blocks, but all of her designs are beautiful! I belong to her yahoo group and she gives some absolutely gorgeous designs to her yahoo group members.

    Reply
  16. Diana Slater
    December 17, 2015 at 2:13 am (4 years ago)

    I love the Embroider’s Prayer 3 collection.

    Reply
  17. Laraine Lewis
    December 17, 2015 at 5:49 am (4 years ago)

    All of their designs are truly elegant and graceful but my favorite is the Bridal Lace Collection. I can definitely see myself making these to use on my Shabby Chic projects. Thank you for the link to this site, I know I will be ordering from them soon!

    Reply
  18. Karen
    December 17, 2015 at 6:22 am (4 years ago)

    All the designs are lovey. I really like the snow flakes to come soon.

    Reply
  19. Dianne
    December 17, 2015 at 7:37 am (4 years ago)

    Oh my! I did not know this web site existed. What lovely designs. I can’t wait to buy one. They look like quality work. Ok, but to my choice of design, Japanese Blossoms 1, BEAUTIFUL!

    Reply
  20. susan james
    December 17, 2015 at 7:37 am (4 years ago)

    i love the celtic angel design. i am a fan of anything angel related.

    Reply
  21. Barbara Grant
    December 17, 2015 at 7:47 am (4 years ago)

    I didn’t know about this designer. All her designs are gorgeous! I can’t possibly pick one, but I loved her Christmas design collections.

    Reply
  22. Judie
    December 17, 2015 at 7:47 am (4 years ago)

    I am loving the “Almond Silk Paisley” collection. I love heirloom work and thhis takes paisley to a whole new level. Thanks for the link.

    Reply
  23. Valerie
    December 17, 2015 at 8:08 am (4 years ago)

    I adore the Celtic Christmas collection

    Reply
  24. Genene
    December 17, 2015 at 8:27 am (4 years ago)

    Of all of Hazel’s designs I like the Una Petite Princess collection. It seems so nice for many projects and will work with many others, so that makes it a ‘go to’ design set for many people limited in funds available to spend on their hobby.

    Reply
  25. Paula
    December 17, 2015 at 8:46 am (4 years ago)

    I love the Grunge designs! Both the Fleur de Grunge and the Amore de Grunge. They’re very light feeling and would look great on a blouse.

    Reply
  26. Elizabeth C
    December 17, 2015 at 9:06 am (4 years ago)

    How can I choose just one!!! The all of the Celtic designs are what first attracted me to this designer. But I have my set on starting the Romantic Crazy Quilt after the holidays.

    Reply
  27. Shirley Clark
    December 17, 2015 at 9:30 am (4 years ago)

    I think I saw my name up there! Thanks for the information. I will share it with my friends.
    I’ve never seen that embroidery site either. I love a lot of those, but I am always smitten by paisley so I’ll have to say the Almond Silk Paisley collection.

    Reply
    • eileenroche
      December 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm (4 years ago)

      You did see your name, Shirley! Thank you for the question. I’m always on the lookout for blog subjects, so keep asking!

      Reply
  28. LindaW
    December 17, 2015 at 9:37 am (4 years ago)

    I discovered this wonderful designer several years ago. There are so many pretty designs on her site–it’s difficult to choose one favorite. I do especially like Le Babe Royale. The small eyelets can be cut out or filled with crystals–beautiful!

    Reply
  29. Nancy Stansbury
    December 17, 2015 at 9:43 am (4 years ago)

    The Celtic Christmas Collection (all 4 sets) are just beautiful and will be perfect on my new tree skirt for a start.

    Reply
  30. Diane
    December 17, 2015 at 9:52 am (4 years ago)

    My favorite on the Graceful Embroidery site was the project of the week – a Christmas Crazy Quilt….it was just beautiful and breath taking…..

    Reply
  31. DeAnna S
    December 17, 2015 at 10:02 am (4 years ago)

    Beautiful elegant designs. The Folk Roses are awesome!

    Reply
  32. JudiC
    December 17, 2015 at 10:11 am (4 years ago)

    Another embroidery site that is new to me :o) All absolutely beautiful! My favorites are all the florals, simply beautiful.

    Reply
  33. Saundra Romanus
    December 17, 2015 at 10:16 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you for your input on embroidering on cotton! I have had problem with puckering on a fill design on cotton 2 or 3 times and I thought it was because I used interfacing. I will definitely try it your way next time! Thank you soooo much!

    Reply
  34. Jody
    December 17, 2015 at 10:22 am (4 years ago)

    I love all her beautiful creations! If I have to pick a favorite it would be Cotton Candy 3. I want to do this on pillows for my bed.

    Reply
  35. Chris Lyon
    December 17, 2015 at 11:42 am (4 years ago)

    The designs are lovely, but I found the site hard to navigate. Not quite sure what is included in each collection. I think my favorite would have to be Celtic Christmas, but that may change tomorrow. Too many beautiful choices.

    Reply
  36. Donna Morgan
    December 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm (4 years ago)

    All the designs are elegantly and beautifully designed I was, how ear, most inspired but the Elegant Christmas message collection.

    Reply
  37. Pamela McDonald
    December 17, 2015 at 12:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Hands down. The machine embroidery Crazy Quilt blocks. They are beautiful!!

    Reply
  38. Pamela McDonald
    December 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm (4 years ago)

    Also, thank you for that stabilizer tip as well!!

    Reply
  39. Barbara
    December 17, 2015 at 1:49 pm (4 years ago)

    I loved the Harriet 2 designs.

    Reply
  40. Lois Van Ackern
    December 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm (4 years ago)

    I am planning ahead for a Christmas Tree skirt for next year and fell for her Celtic Christmas Collection…….so beautiful

    Reply
  41. Simone
    December 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m still a machine embroidery newbie, and I have to say I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Holly Bells collection. Maybe I’ll tackle some projects using those designs for next year!
    Also, thanks for the stabilizing tip for cottons. I’m making some pillows for gifts tonight!

    Reply
  42. Debbie
    December 17, 2015 at 4:34 pm (4 years ago)

    The designs are beautiful but the celtic designs really appeal to me.

    Reply
  43. Tammy W.
    December 17, 2015 at 7:38 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the Anastasias collection. That would make a beautiful quilt.

    Reply
  44. Kelly Sas
    December 17, 2015 at 10:08 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m Irish and love her Celtic designs, but I also have my eye on the Embroiders Prayer collection too!

    Reply
  45. Dawn Miller
    December 17, 2015 at 11:07 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the Celtic Grace Collection

    Reply
  46. Susan Hensel
    December 18, 2015 at 11:27 am (4 years ago)

    i love the Fleur de Grunge

    Reply
  47. debe
    December 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm (4 years ago)

    Ohh, I like all the Heirloom designs & go often to drool over them. My all time favorite design collection has to be the one shown- Poinsettia”s Promises. They are beautiful!! I’d love to win, lol.

    Reply
  48. Kathryn Barnhill
    December 18, 2015 at 8:27 pm (4 years ago)

    These are gorgeous! I’m going back for the free sample but I can see using many if there for my garments
    I especially appreciate that they are not cutesy.

    Reply
  49. Kathy E.
    December 18, 2015 at 8:55 pm (4 years ago)

    Graceful Embroidery’s site has so many pretty designs! My favorite is the Amore Grunge Collection. I also found many freebies that I liked and downloaded!

    Reply
  50. Barbara Wright
    December 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the Romantic Crazy Quilt designs. I love crazy quilt projects of all kinds. These are really special and unique.

    Reply
  51. Sara Redner
    December 19, 2015 at 6:27 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you for the great tips. I try so hard to hoop and stabilize right and get so frustrated when I still end up with puckers.

    I loved all of the designs but being the week before Christmas probably influenced my decision of Poinsettia Promise as my favorite!

    Reply
  52. Doreen Linehan
    December 19, 2015 at 2:42 pm (4 years ago)

    I like the Celtic Angel. She’s pretty

    Reply
  53. LeAnne L
    December 20, 2015 at 2:06 pm (4 years ago)

    I really like her new Celtic Angel. I have a bunch of Hazel’s designs and love them all.

    Reply
  54. Paule-Marie
    December 20, 2015 at 9:43 pm (4 years ago)

    I like the lace angel on the home page and the romantic crazy stocking

    Reply
  55. Linda De Angelis
    December 25, 2015 at 9:20 am (4 years ago)

    I love the Heirloom designs, especially the Sweet Innocence collections. I think I could make many items with those designs, including a beautiful sofa pillow.

    Reply
  56. Kati
    December 25, 2015 at 6:54 pm (4 years ago)

    I appreciate all the great tips on embroidering on different fabrics!

    Reply
  57. Vicki B.
    January 1, 2016 at 3:07 pm (4 years ago)

    I love Hazel’s designs. I was so happy when I found her website. Great info on stabilizing quilt blocks.

    Reply
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  59. Merlyn Gooden
    June 10, 2016 at 5:41 am (3 years ago)

    great information you are sharing.

    Reply

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