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Conversational Threads

Washaway Stabilizers

KrisPaul9 | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

I have been working with wash away stabilizers recently and have a problem that I can’t seem to solve.  I have created a stitched scarf by sandwiching ribbon and various yarns between two sheets of water soluble stabilizer (held in place by fabric spray adhesive).  I then stitch horizontal and vertical rows by machine to produce a woven-like grid.  After all the stitching is completed, I wash away the stabilizer leaving an open weave effect.  The final product really is quite stunning, except that I can’t seem to remove all the stabilizer.  A slight stickiness remains no matter how long I soak the fibers.  The scarf has been put to soak for hours in cool water in the tub; I have run it through the washing machine on delicate with the addition of Woolite (or Murphy’s Oil soap).  How can I get rid of this sticky residue without ruining my hard work?  I have so many more design ideas using this technique but need to iron out these logistical glitches first.  I am at my wit’s end.  Any advice?


  1. Jean | | #1

    I'm guessing that it's the fabric spray adhesive that is giving you the problem. Can you use pins instead?

    1. KrisPaul9 | | #2

      I thought about that so need to experiment using (1) a different spray adhesive or (2) basting everything after I lay the ribbons and fibers out (what a pain!).  I wanted confirmation that I'm not totally losing it.  Thanks for your message.

      1. Nancylee | | #3

        Would you let us know if another spray works?  This design idea you have sounds really great and I'd like to try a scarf - can you say more about other ideas you have as well?

        1. KrisPaul9 | | #4

          I will experiment with a different adhesive and let you know.  My husband also suggested that I use some rubbing alcohol to remove any residue.  I will soak some fiber samples and see if I lose color, etc. before dipping the entire project.  I feel encouraged now that I can work this problem out. 

          I found the idea for the scarf in the November 2002 issue of SewsNews magazine.  The article is "Threads of Distinction," written by Marinda Stewart, and gives all the details for making a stole (larger dimensions).  I made the stole first for a friend who was going on a cruise (the stole was very sticky) but it came out beautifully.  With that first project as inspiration, I used the same technique for the scarf, just adjusting the size overall.  The SewNews article is online through the SewNews web site.

          1. Nancylee | | #5

            Thanks Kris, I'll check out the online information

          2. 07ranch | | #6

            I don't know if this helps but I saw a similar technique on Sewing with Nancy website,


            she called it Window Pane Thread Collage. using stabilizers etc.

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