Machine Embroidery tips and techniques


Embroidered Decoupage
Stabilizer: Fusible tearaway
Stabilizers: General

Embroidered Decoupage Technique in Brief

For a more detailed explanation of Embroidered Decoupage, see the article on perfect placement at

Step 1: Layer either one to two layers of fabric-type water soluble stabilizer, such as Dissolve Magic, or one to two layers of polymesh cutaway stabilizer together with one layer of nylon organza.  Hoop all three layers together. 

Hooping aids:  These layers can be slippery.  When hooping, stick double sided basting tape on the bottom of the upper hoop to better hold the fabrics in place.

Another useful hooping aid is to cut a hole in a piece of gripper shelf liner and place it in the hoop between the organza and the upper hoop.

Step 2: Stitch out your design.  VERY IMPORTANT: Use only rayon threads if you are going to heat cut the design out.  Other threads may melt or burn.  If you use polyester threads, cut out the design with scissors after stitching.

Step 3: Use a Jenny Haskins Heat Cutting Tool or a stencil burner to cut around the edge of the design (or use sharp scissors to carefully cut around the outside of the design.)


Step 4:  Place wherever you want the embroidery.  It can be fused on with fusible web, glued on, or stitched down with a free-motion stipple stitch around the edges.


These pictures continue from an article in my newsletter, which you can download from the Downloads page, on reusing tear away stabilizer.  Please join my newsletter for more great techniques and projects. 

November 2011 newsletter continued:

For this project, I was appliqueing quilt blocks.  My sticky tear away was not sufficient to keep my fabric from puckering, so I started backing my fabric with reused strips of Totally Stable before placing the fabric blocks on the sticky stabilizer.


I was disappointed when I looked at the front of this block because I had a section, seen at the top, which puckered.  When I turned it over, it was very clear why - that was the one section or the block I had neglected to secure with Totally Stable first.  The rest of the fabric, covered with Totally Stable, came out smooth around the edges of the applique.  For the rest of my blocks, you can be sure I will cover the whole back of the square with reused Totally Stable!


The general rule of thumb is:

Cutaways:  knits and unstable fabrics that stretch or shift around 

Meltaways/heat aways: fabrics that cannot be washed, but where the stabilizer needs to be completely removed.  Make sure fabric can take direct iron contact!

Washaways: sheer fabrics, free-standing lace, or wherever you need stabilizer to be completely rmoved.  Some washaways are good as toppers and others can be used behind the fabric as stabilizer.  Be sure you have the right type.

Tearaways: most woven fabrics, which  means this is the most commonly used stabilizer.

There are all kinds of exceptions, special techniques, and new stabilizers are showing up all the time, so be sure to take classes, talk with your dealers, read up on the WWW, and stay in touch because this is a growing area of our beloved hobby.