Stabilizing Solutions: T-Shirts, Golf, Polo Knit Shirts and Sweatshirts
Designs 4″x 4″ in size and/or smaller, generally around 8,000 stitches, will require one piece of Floriani’s No Show Nylon Mesh. Although mesh is a cut away stabilizer, it doesn’t have the bulk of traditional cut-away’s. Mesh is especially nice on thin, light colored garments because it will not shadow through. It comes in three colors: white, black and beige. If you have trouble with hooping and tend to stretch the garment out of shape, use the fusible version of the mesh. Fuse the mesh into place using a piece at least one inch larger than the embroidery frame.
Fusing eliminates stretch in the garment and eliminates the need for messy spray adhesives. Apply heat to the stabilizer after the embroidery design is complete and peel it back to the edge of the embroidery and trim. Remember to use a low temperature (silk or 260°F) when pressing the mesh to the garment and when you remove it. Also keep in mind to press with the iron to the fabric not directly on the stabilizer. Use a press cloth if necessary.
If the design is larger than 4″x 4″ and/or heavier than 8,000 stitches add a piece of Floriani Tearaway Medium or Stitch N Wash within the hoop along with the Nylon Mesh for extra stability. If the garment is bulky it is also appropriate to “float” the tearaway underneath the hoop on the bed of the machine. After the embroidery is done the Tear Away will be completely eliminated leaving only the soft mesh against the skin. The Tear Away stabilizer will add the support of another 10,000 stitches.
Another method for stabilizing heavier density designs especially on very stretchy fabrics such as lycra blend T’s, is to use two layers of the No Show Nylon Mesh Fusible. Fuse the first layer on in the normal direction, fuse the second layer on at a 45° angle. Both pieces of the mesh should be at least one inch larger than the other parameter of the hoop. Place both layers with the garment in the hoop and embroider. Remember to use a low temperature (silk or 260°F) and a press cloth when pressing the mesh to the garment and when you remove it.
If the embroidery design you choose has a medium to high stitch count (8,000 to 12,000) or is not a very well digitized design (too many stitches for its’ size), use Floriani’s Medium 2oz Cut Away to support the stitches. Medium Cutaway is also an excellent choice when stitching satin style lettering on light weight knit because it gives the fabric much needed body and prevents the lettering from “pulling” the knit. Medium Cut Away is also available in a fusible version. This will help to stop the garment from stretching out of shape during the hooping process and will eliminate the need for spray adhesives or basting. To properly stabilize with Medium Cutaway, a piece at least one inch larger than the hoop size should be placed in the hoop with item being embroidered. *Some garments do not have the thread count to support embroidery so the heavier stabilizer will make up for the garments lack of stability.
*If the knit is ribbed, textured or is a piquet, you will achieve better embroidery by using a topping. Use one layer of Floriani’s Water Soluble or Heat N Gone Topping to keep the stitches elevated. The topping does not have to go in the hoop but should be pinned or “stuck” down to the surface of the garment after it has been hooped. Once the design is complete, tearaway as much of the topping as possible. If using the Water Soluble Topping, use a wet Q-Tip, sponge or damp cloth to remove any remnants. If using the Heat N Gone Topping, touch the remnants with the tip of a hot iron to melt them away!
Tip! Always secure the corners of the topping to the surface of the fabric. This can be done with a small piece of clear tape or fabric safe, water-soluble glue. This will prevent the edges from curling and possibly catching on the presser foot!
*Why use a Cutaway? Remember, cut away stabilizer will stay with the garment throughout its embroidered life! Cut Away’s have elongated fibers. Embroidery designs will wrap around them creating a smooth, beautiful finished product even after laundering.