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Embroidery Tips & Techniques

I always learn something from Deborah Jones….

I am amazed at Deborah’s wealth of knowledge when it comes to embroidery.

She has such a grasp on the technical aspect of this complicated process we all love.

I have to admit it was Deborah who taught me about underlay – when to use extra and when a little goes a long way. She taught me about lettering and how to critique a font for embroidery and she has definitely taught me everything I know about stabilizers.

And I’m still learning from her! In fact, when I watched her recent video release on stabilizers, I couldn’t believe how many things I learned.  Deborah’s a strong communicator, simplifying complicated thoughts and techniques in clear precise language.

If you still have questions about selecting stabilizers, let me tell you, Deborah has the answers.  She wades through all the murky misconceptions about water-soluble stabilizers. I know I have a drawer full of water-soluble stabilizers and often I don’t know which one would work best for the job at hand. And you’ll love her tips on removing the often stubborn stabilizer.

She tackles stitching on athletic wear – even taming the trendy and challenging Under Armour Microfiber.  And she explores the variety of cut-away and tear-away stabilizers. She has such a wealth of experience, I often ask myself how would Deborah stabilize this fabric?  Now I don’t have to guess, I can just watch her video and read the printable reference chart for stabilizing 26 different fabrics! I keep that handy guide right next to my stabilizer stash.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog





  • Sally Phillips

    I would love for Debby to help with learn about the different stabilizer’s what designs are good for what time for fabric. Help with setting things up to embroider on.

    I need lots of help. I new to embroidery.



  • Carol Jenks

    I would want Deborah to teach me the importance of using different stabilizers with different fabrics and how to know when to use different stabilizers and the little tricks of substitution of stabilizers.

  • sue brockus

    I would love for her to show me how to use a pen tablet with my digitizing software.

  • Marilyn Weiss

    Whenever Deborah Jones has an article in Designs, it’s the first one I read. Three hours with Deborah….how to do successful lace embroidery with cotton thread (or any thread)so that it’s soft and drapeable when it’s done and have her teach me about pull compensation and when I should be applying these principles in my embroidery.

  • Tracy Hoffmann

    I would love some help with understanding the brand names of stabilizers. I’m working on a pattern right now that calls for Stayflex stabilizer. I know the weight is important to the project, but because it’s a product manufactured in the UK, I haven’t found anyone who can tell me what would be comparable here in the US. I’ve run into this on other projects and would love to have a brand comparison chart.

  • Virginia

    How to stabilize school uniform shirts without stretching.

  • Luanne Williams

    Deborah is a wealth of information and to be able to spend time with her in person would be amazing!
    I would love to learn the secret to making stabilizer vanish and especially how to prevent puckers.

  • Laurie

    How to handle hard-to-hoop items without gumming up the machine works with sticky stabilizer residue. I have read Deborah’s columns for years. She is so knowledgeable! I’m glad I kept all my back issues of Designs Magazine. Her information is always timely.

  • Susie

    I’m mostly confused about stabilizers. That would be a great thing to learn more about.

  • Karin

    Like Luanne, sometimes I struggle with puckers….they aren’t there when I’m stitching, but they appear when I remove the hoop or press the item. Arrgh…so frustrating. Three hours would probably be just the right amount of time it would take to review stabilizer options! If there was any time leftover, digitizing would be next on the list – especially going from a drawing to a stitchable design!

    Thanks for the chance to win such a valuable resource!

    • Debbie

      The puckering after you take the project out of the hoop could be that you are stretching your fabric as you are hooping it and once released, it shrinks back to original size. Sometimes one can get carried away when following the advise to have the fabric drum-tight. Also, if the design has more than 10,000 stitches, permanent stabilizer is required.

  • Glenda Fowler

    Learning the technique for stabilizing a tissue weight knit would be soo great.

  • Kathy

    I would love to know about which stabilizer is best to use in general. This is still the most confusing thing for me.

  • Jayme

    Wow I don’t even know where to start! I am new to machine embroidery and find myself ruining one or two items whenever I change to a different fabric. I would love to learn what stabilizer to use with what fabric, how to improve my designs when I am changing their size, and how to digitize designs. I want to learn it all.

  • Paula Roney

    I would love to spend 3 hours with Deborah learning all about what stabilizers work best for which fabrics and type of designs. It’s always a challenge to choose the best stabilizer option. I love reading Deborah’s notes in DME.

  • Bernice Keller

    It would be great to actually KNOW what to use instead of guessing and hoping it turns out right. This sounds like a must see video. Would love to have it.

  • Rebecca Grace

    A 3-hour private embroidery lesson?! Mmmm… I would want that class to be focused on embroidery for quilting. I’ve seen so many fascinating things lately, whole quilts with blocks embroidered where traditionally it would have been applique, or digitized applique with embroidery, people scanning in Accuquilt shapes so they can digitize them for embroidered applique… Then there’s the whole sneaky, murky world of possibilities that opens up with quilting outline designs “in the hoop” and having it look like immaculate free motion quilting… But I’ve had horrible puckering when I’ve tried to embroider on quilting weight cotton. It’s all a bit scary. So, that’s what my fantasy 3-hour class would cover. 🙂

  • Pam

    I would love to learn how to create appliqué designs and all about what threads to use with what designs as well as the correct stabilizers.

  • LJ

    A one-on-one lesson on stabilizers would be wonderful!

  • Jean

    Stabilizing tissue weight knits and cotton lace would be choice.

  • Barbara Rowlan Wong

    I would so appreciate knowing more about stabilizers as I believe that is most probably the area I fail miserably. It is so disheartening to find an article is not what I hoped it would be after completing the design…… i.e., puckering mainly. I think of stabilizers as the underpining key to everything. What a joy it would be to spend 3 hours with the master.

  • Bonnie Gray

    I’d like to know more about digitizing. I went to an event that Deborah taught quite a few years ago when I had just started machine embroidery and most of it was over my head. Now that I have more experience, I’m sure I’d get a lot more out of her expertise!

  • Rosemary A

    I would love to learn more about stabilizers. You can always learn more as new products are introduced and older stabilizers are used differently.

  • Michelle Hall

    I guess I would want to learn the basics of stabilizers, how to know when I have something hooped right and the mix of embroidery and quilting.

  • Nancy Owens

    A one on one embroidery lesson? That is a dream! I would really like to transfer her basic embroidery knowledge to my brain!

  • Mary Snyder

    1st hour, Stablizers.
    2nd hour, Quilting techniques with embroidery
    3rd hour, A test to see how much I’ve learned. Was I listening really good.

  • Nancy Drake

    I would like to learn more tricks for keeping from getting puckering. I would love tips on specialty fabrics.

  • Linda Burwick

    I would to like know Debra’s take on embroidery threads, ie rayon versus polyester, and cotton; when to use a weight other than 40; the types of embroidery and kinds of threads that go together (does it make a difference); and how different brands compare, since not brands are created equal.

  • Brenda Howard

    Being a new to embroidery I would like to learn everything. I have just bought a friends old Babylock Esante ESE and have yet to figure out everything yet. I did manage to get the hoop on the machine and using the sticky backing she gave me sample of to do one big “B” for my initial but now when I go looking at the different stablizers I just seem to get more confused.

  • Linda Turner

    I want to know more about the different types such as firm, medium or light weight tear-away stabilizers and why you use a specific one for a specific project or fabric.
    A tip on out how to use spray adhesives and not have it stuck on my hoop(yuck!)would be helpful also. Deborah is a great resource person and her articles in DIME are always so interesting! I would enjoy time with her.

  • Shirley

    I have a tiled Xmas wallhanging design by Anita Goodesign. They suggest using dupioni for the whole thing. At $19.99 to $24.99 a yard I am afraid to even do a sewout to see which stabilizer works! I would love to know exactly which stabilizer to use for these dense designs on this lightweight and too-expensive fabric! And secondarily, I would like to perfect sewing on quilting cotton without puckers!

    • Deborah Jones

      Shirley, I used silk dupioni for one of the projects in my second book, and I would put it right behind velvet as one of my least favorite fabrics to embroider. But if you would like to use it for its beautiful texture, try hooping a nice quality medium weight soft tearaway beneath the fabric- about 1.8 to 2 ounces. If you need more support, place one or more pieces of lightweight crisp beneath the hoop during embroidery.
      Soft tearaway is made of long and short fibers and doesn’t break down as readily as crisp tearaway. This is just one of the things you will learn in my stabilizer DVD.
      As for the quilting cotton, fuse a piece of ShirtTailor by Pellon to the reverse side before embroidering. You should still use a tearaway beneath the hoop, but the fabric will have more body and is more resistant to puckering.
      Best of Luck!

  • Diana

    If I had a one on one with Deborah it would be on software and stabilizer. I have read enough about both and each one is different. Some don’t give enough infor.

  • Dianne D

    I own just about all of the Floriani stabilizers and even took a Floriani Stabilizer class to help me, and they were wonderful, however, still very confused. I do everything just like they said, but still things don’t turn out like their samples. So, 3 hours with Deborah should help considerably. I just purchased her new DVD, Learn from the Experts, and I am looking forward to Deborah’s expertise.

  • Nancy Weber

    After embroidering for over 10 years, stabilizer is still a mystery to me. I think that is mainly because there are new products with new names coming out all the time. I would love Deborah to teach me how to differentiate. Also, how to prevent stabilizer showing through.

  • Susan Winnie

    I have had an Ellegante for years. I am also a small craft business owner. Having a class with Deb Jones could expand my horizons

  • karen

    I would love to have a better understanding of the types and uses of stabilizers since successful embroidery is all about stabilization.

  • Patty Fiske

    Oh my. I know about nothing. It is all a hit and miss. Preventing puckers and I am intrigued with the idea of lace.

  • MCrews

    I would like to avoid stabilizer show through and would love to watch this video!

  • Barbara

    Three hours of one on one help with Deborah Jones?!? How I wish that was the prize! If I could have that experience, I would want to spend an hour on the fundamentals of making the machine do what you want it to do rather than guessing at the remedy. Of course it would be great to practice with stabilizers (wouldn’t that be fun in an embroidery class — a little “Stabilizer Quiz”) and finally a troubleshooting session with one of my “hidden treasure” half finished “Oops” projects. Thanks for all of the inspiration — the blog is one of the best things in my inbox.

  • I would like to learn how to match thread, needles and stabilizer to fabrics. I know that each are important but with so many thread companies and so many machines being temperamental, it would be nice to learn without trial & error.

    Additionally, it would have been nice to know where to find more info about where Deborah Jones could be found on the Internet, Twitter & Facebook. Does she have a regular gig writing for any magazines or sites etc. I’ve never heard of her.

    • Deborah Jones

      Hi there- thanks for asking where you can find me! I write “Ask the Expert” and “For Love and Money” in every issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.

      So pull out some of your issues and you will be able to find me there…
      I also have a website –
      Nice to hear from you,

  • Tina Williams

    i would love to learn more about avoiding puckering!!! I am new to embroidery and having a hard time with it at times!! lol also how to choose the right monograms and what size lettering to use!! Thanks so much

  • Betsy

    I would be so happy to learn how to avoid puckering and show-through….and improve my skills with knits.

  • Deborah Hays

    I know that Floriani stabilizers give you the stitch count as to how many stitches each of their stabilizers can handle… which I appreciate so much! However.. does this same stitch count hold true to all the other stabilizer companies out there? I have been doing embroidery for years and I try to consider not only the stitch count per type of stabilizer that I am using, but I also take into account the type of fabric, the thread, the size and type of needle, etc. My biggest problem though, are those pesky puckers! I try to “solve” them, should they pop up, by ironing the finished design with a towel underneath it, but sometimes they still rise to the edges. Any help here? Thanks!

  • Rosalyn

    I would like to learn more about the different stabilizers. I get confused by which weight is best and then if I should use tearaway, cutaway,etc. I would also like to know about the difference in brands and if they are all basically the same.

  • Patty Sack

    I want to know what stabilizer to use with each fabric type.

  • Keri Tieman

    I would love a private 3-hour lesson with Deborah Jones!! WOW…what would I want her to teach me? Everything!! I also have a drawer of stabilizers, it does get confusing which one, when?

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    This is the expert! There are so many things I need to learn and if I don’t win this DVD I am sure I will buy it. I have been machine embroidering for over 10 years now and have gone through so much experimentation with stabilizers. To have the Expert at my fingertips would be a great BIG help!

  • Robyn Morris

    Everything she knows !!! … which is probably to much to cram into a 3 hour session. The new DVD sounds like just the ticket to learn from the experts.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with all of us.

  • Becky

    Wow, 3 full hours of one on one time with Deborah, where would I begin? It seems like every sewing seminar or market I attend, I always buy more stabilizer. I think I’m searching for the perfect one. However, when I do my embroidery, I tend to always reach for the same ones. I would love to learn which one is proper for each situation. I would also love to tap her brain with basic digitizing & lettering knowledge. So, 3 hours??….probably not near enough time. 🙂

  • Tricia Kemp

    I have several different stabilizers, but need to know more about which ones to use. I’m sure her knowledge would make my embroidery better and much more fun!

  • Beth

    I would love to know more on the digitizing side. I’m trying to learn when to use underlay and how much. 3 hours? It’s gonna take longer than that!

  • MizPat

    I would love to spend three hours with Deborah, learning everything she could teach me about getting the best results from my fabric, thread and stabilizer. Three hours? I’d love to spend three days or more, because Deborah has so much to teach and I have so much to learn!

  • Vicky Isliefson

    I would like to learn about how to get a design to stitch out properly on differen types of fabric: fleece, denim, stretchy, very light, etc.

  • Jamee Phillips

    Nothing better than learning from a pro! Experimentation with stabilizers is getting old and costly. Love to learn new techniques and getting good results.

  • Jennifer j

    Love to learn everything about stabilizers and hooping. I do the same kind of embroidering but I need to branch out and expand my horizons!

  • Karen

    I would want to learn hooping and metallic threads and everything else.

  • Peggy Schroeder

    I would love to learn how to “fix” a cotton/silk scarf I embroidered, thought I got all of the stabilizer out, (For that design, I used a W/Sol.), and it looked and felt clear, but when I ironed it, up came little spots where I evidentially did not get it all out. So, I rewashed, (many times) used every kind of spot remover I could find and the spots are still there. I would also love any and all tips she can give me on my new Babylock six needle machine. Yes, Eileen, I finally got one!! The only thing better than a three hour private session with Deborah would be one with her, Marie, and you! I have to admit, I learned so much attending your Stitching Sisters seminars, that even after attending them twice, (once in Sacramento and once in Santa Rosa), that I would love to go again. Even with some of the stuff repeated, there was still enough variety to leave me wanting more. So, see what you can arrange, will you?(I promise to make you more chocolates!)
    Thank you for all of your help, I appreciate it.

    • eileenroche

      Hi Peggy! Congrats on your new machine! Hope it brings many hours of enjoyment. Marie & I would love to head back to your part of the country – we had a blast at Santa Rosa and Sacramento. We’ll let you know if an event gets scheduled.

  • Pam J.

    I would love her to teach me all the basics and more if we could fit it in 3 hours! I would love to have a 3 hour private lesson on everything from A to Z! I have only been dabbling in this for a year now, and there is so much to learn! I still struggle with hooping! Does everyone spend more time hooping than actually embroidering, or is it just me? Just last night I was trying to hoop a towel with my 5×7 hoop, a piece of teat away stabilizer from an 8 1/4″ roll on the bottom…well if you ever manage to get it hooped, then flip it over, and you guessed it, the stabilizer on the bottom has slipped out from one edge, by like 1/4″ . Don’t they make rolls any wider than that? (at least not at my local fabric store) .

  • Anne Marie Reilly

    I have two faux pashmina shawls and one that is 70% cashmere and 30% silk. I would love to learn which stabilizer to use with them and if I can use the same one with both types.

  • Vivian Davis

    I would love to learn how to best stabilize light weight knits and swimsuit knits. They are very tricky!

  • le floch, anne

    I’d like to learn tips on how to hoop my item and my stabilizer together on tough to handle items like Tshirts etc…

  • Paule-Marie

    Well, the stabilizer issue is a big one, but I think I would like more insight into digitizing, spliting existing designs, continuous hoop embroidery. Any of those would be great for a private lesson from Deborah.

  • Nancy

    If I had 3 hours with an expert like Deborah I would primarily like to find out what she’s most excited about today and where she thinks machine embroidery is headed in the future.

  • connie

    I’d want her to cram in as much advise as she could in 3 hours!

  • connie

    I’d want her to cram in as much advice as she could in 3 hours!

  • Sandy Durham

    I would love to have Deborah guide me in stabilizers as this can be very confusing.

  • Diane Cockman

    To be able to sit down with Deborah and learn about stabilizers would be the most enjoyable time. I would love to know the right ones to use on T-shirts to cottons to everything else and with the different embroidery designs. I want my work to look as good as the people I buy from.

  • Leann McClain

    I would like to know more about hooping and stabilizing tricky fabrics like velvet to avoid hoop burn. I have had success with only hooping the stabilizer and pinning the fabric to it along with spray adhesive, but want to know more.

  • Doreen

    I would love to discuss stabilizers, which needles to use with what fabrics and threads,and digitizing – density, compensation and how to turn an image into a design, especially switching stitch direction.

    • Deborah Jones

      Needles are one of my favorite subjects Doreen. Like stabilizers, they definitely affect the quality of our embroidery -but sometimes in more subtle ways.
      Stitch direction is also important to creating effective embroidery. You are definitely looking at the right components to get the best quality embroidery. Good for you! Keep it up…

  • Peg Schmidt

    Stabalizers are the foundation of my embroidery and when I know what type, what brand, and for what fabric I have chosen for my project then and only then will my results meet my expectations. However I am still in the learning process and Deborah Jones would certainly enlighten me on my way to flawless embroidery.
    Sue and I have attended your Sewing Sisters Seminar and would love for you to come to NY. We also, are sewing sisters.

  • Bonita

    I would love to have Deborah come in to my home by DVD to teach me about stablizers. I am in the early stages of learning machine embroidery so need all the personal help I can get.

  • Beth R

    I would love to learn troubleshooting techniques – what steps do you take when you encounter problems to try and determine what you need to do to figure out the root of the problem.

  • Nancy

    I want to know hot stabilize a flimsy woven shawl where the wrong side may be seen such that the hand of the shawl is not changed. Also what are the limits on the type of designs I can embroider on it.

  • Sue L

    I’d like to talk to her about stabilizers, needles, and all things embroidery!


    Oh, so many questions to ask! I’ve read Debrorah’s articles in DME and still have trouble with puckering, which stabilizer to use and design choice. The DVD may be just the thing I’ve needed all these years.

  • Kay

    I need Deborah to teach me digitizing, so I don’t have to keep out-sourcing all of my embroidery business and keep more of my profits to myself. I know I could learn a lot from her in 3 hours!!!

  • Doreen

    3 hours with Deborah, my dream!!! I to would like her to teach me digitizing without all the “techie” terms! I would also like to learn about how the needle size works in coordination with the stabilizer and thread. If she’d double her time or even triple her time with me, I’d pick up her, have lunch for her. Is she interested in touring, maybe she could come along on a Stitch Sister event!!

    Love the blog!

  • Karen Rilstone

    In my lesson with Deborah, I would love to learn about different problems’ solutions, for example, what to do to make sure small lettering does not fill. I would prepare a list of questions and go from there.

  • MarciaW

    Assuming I win and have the DVD for stabilizers, then in my private 3-hour lesson I would ask Deborah Jones to teach me how to embroider lettering. Then, I would ask her about quilting in the hoop including needles, thread, etc. that are best to use.

  • Donna

    In my 3-hour lesson with Deborah I would definitely come prepared with a list of how to questions regarding stabilizers and when and how to use them. But I would also be interested in the best way to store them, how to tell them apart when they are in a big heap in my bin. And then I’d just like to see some of the beautiful things she has done. Get her opinion on some of the projects I have planned to do.

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  • Cathy Little

    I just purchased “Learn from the Expert” Vol 5 Hooping for Success. I have a Bernina 200e. My problem is I can not find the “Bron tape” or the “Tuck tape”. Is there a place I can order it? Or can I get it from you. I found this DVD very helpful and want to put the suggestions to work. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    • Deborah Jones

      Hello Cathy,
      I buy Bron tape from but they do require a tax number. It can be a bit difficult to buy good double faced tape. You can use any good carpet tape, but they are often thinner than the Tuck or Bron brands and therefore a bit hard to handle. I found double-sided Duck tape at the WalMart web site, and it might be good too but I’ve never tried it.
      You might just find good carpet tape and give it a try with that. It definitely works.
      Hope this helps,

  • Irma Clements

    I would love to be shown how to use different stabilizers on different fabrics.Most times it looks ok my embroidery but I would love to have an expert show me.

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