Use the discount code SILLY to get your first month of the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club for free!


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy

Everything You Need to Know about Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy - one of my very favorite supplies

I call this The Magical Embroidery Stuff.


Well, partly because Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is quite a mouthful. 🙂 But mostly because I use it for absolutely everything I stitch and it’s absolutely magical. It really is one of my favorite products ever.

I’ve written a lot about it in a lot of different posts, so today I’m bringing all that info together in one handy-dandy place.

What is it?

It’s a printable wash-away embroidery pattern transfer and stabilizer. Yes – it does all of that in one easy product! In a nutshell. . .

  1. You print your pattern right on the sheets. You can print them with an inkjet or laser printer, or photocopy onto it. You can also trace onto it – but I hate tracing.
  2. Peel off the paper back and stick the stuff right to the surface of what you’re embroidering.
  3. Hoop it up and start stitching. You stitch right through the stuff.
  4. Soak it in water and the stuff dissolves away like magic.

Want to see all of that in action? Watch this video.

Problem fabrics

I use this on everything I embroider. EVERYTHING. But it’s especially useful on problem fabrics. You know what I’m talking about – the ones that are really hard to transfer an image to.

  • dark fabrics
  • napped fabrics like velvet, terry cloth and cuddle fleece
  • plasticy fuzzy fabrics like polar fleece
  • thick fabrics that you can’t see through to trace – like felt
  • stretchy fabrics like T-shirts

It’s awesome on everything!

Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is great for transferring a face to cuddle fleece.

Look! You can stitch right through the stuff onto fluffy cuddle fleece.

Even felt?

YES! Felt gets its own category here because Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is just so perfect for it. In fact – I wrote a whole post about using it with felt here.

I love it so much with felt that I include pattern pieces already printed on it in all my felt kits. It’s that awesome!

Using Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy - stitching and cutting

See? Beautiful stitching and nice, accurate cutting.

I’ve never run into shrinkage problems with it – but I know a couple of people have with projects that really needed to be very precisely cut. Larissa Holland came up with a great solution to that problem here.

What about stickiness?

I never ran into problems with stickiness until I left a project sitting in a hot car one summer afternoon. The next time I picked that project up (even though it wasn’t hot anymore) I found that I was getting a sticky residue on my needle. Not fun!

And then I discovered Thread Heaven. I was using it to solve another problem and discovered by accident that it totally eliminated any sticky needle problems. Fantastic! Especially since I love to carry my embroidery around with me and there was an excellent chance it would get left in a hot car again. Now I don’t need to worry about that!

Does the ink bleed?

It depends on the ink. I usually photocopy my projects or print them on my laser printer and those have never been an issue for me. But a couple of people reported the ink from their inkjet printers bleeding a bit when they rinsed off the stabilizer. Every brand is different so test the ink from your printer if you want to be sure! If you run into bleeding, try printing it out in draft mode – that uses a lot less ink.

The good people at Sulky let me know that one person had a issue with her laser printer. She said it didn’t actually bleed when she rinsed it, but it left little black specks all over her work. Yikes! The good news is that she sprayed it with Shout, washed it on the gentle cycle of her washing machine, and it came out as good as new. So if you run into laser printer problems, there’s an easy fix. 🙂

This isn’t a bleeding-ink issue – but it’s related. One customer reported that the ink wasn’t coming out of the centers of flowers where the stitching was the most dense. It wasn’t bleeding, but it’s like it was stuck there. She has very hard water and reported that a second long soak in distilled water took it out.


I want to add a special note here about T-shirts. I love embroidering on T-shirts, but it can be kind of fussy. You have to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t stretch while you’re stitching. With traditional stabilizers you have to remove it after stitching. And stretch knits aren’t a treat to transfer the pattern to. All of these issues magically go away with Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Since it’s a pattern transfer and stabilizer all in one, you take care of both of those steps. And since it rinses out after stitching, there’s no fussy (and potentially destructive) removal of the stabilizer afterwards. It’s perfect!

embroidered dog T-shirt

That’s embroidered! 🙂

Now you know why I call Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy The Magical Embroidery Stuff. I love it!

Get it here!

I’ve heard that people use it for all kinds of other things too – like transferring complex patterns to a pumpkin for carving! If you’ve come up with an unusual use for it – let me know. I’d love to hear!

Happy stitching!


  1. SAYS...

    Hi Wendy!

    I just have to say this stuff is the absolute greatest for embroidery!!! LOVE IT!! I so do not like tracing patterns 🙁 I found this this wonderful product on your blog about a year ago and have used it ever since 😀 I’m surprised I don’t hear about on other embroidery blogs more often!

    Love your article and it’s 100% true! 😀 lol!!

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      I’m so glad to hear that you like it! I know I mention it ALL THE TIME and sometimes I feel a little like a pusher 🙂 but I just love the stuff so much!

    • Anonymous SAYS...

      I’ve been doing needlework for 45 years and this stuff is amazing. I put it under a project I had already traced and my stitches look PERFECT, really. I can’t believe how much better it makes embroderidery

  2. Pingback: Freezer Paper, Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy or Fusible Adhesive? Which to use when? - Shiny Happy World

  3. Jan SAYS...

    Love the look of this but just wondered if it would be ok to use to sew on sequins

    • I’ve never tried it with sequins, but I think it should work. The stabilizer breaks down into a mushy semi-solid after soaking, so you might need to swish it pretty aggressively to make sure none of it gets trapped under the sequins. Let it soak a good long time (I sometimes even leave them to soak overnight) and then drain out the icky water, replace with clean, and swish really well. You might need an extra water change, but it should work fine. Good luck! 🙂

      • Robbyn hutton SAYS...

        Where do I get it?
        Is it available in stores in Australia?

        • There’s a link in the post to get it from my shop, but then you have to pay shipping from the US. I’d be surprised if it’s not available in Australian shops – Sulky is an international company. Maybe take a look at their website and see if they list shops that carry their products?

  4. Marcia Germann SAYS...

    I loved using the sticky water soluble stabilizer for my hand embroidery project. The stabilizer is on top of the fabric and I stitched through it with no problems. But now that it is time to soak it and get the stabilizer off of the fabric, it is leaving my project sticky, Very Sticky!! The stabilizer glue is not removing from the fabric even after closely following directions, and doing it twice. Any others having this problem? And what will take that sticky residue off my project?!

  5. Marilyn Descours SAYS...

    I’m doing a hand stitched pattern on a linen shirt. Do I need to stretch the fabric in the hoop before applying the sticky solvy with the pattern printed on it?

    • No. Apply the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy first, then hoop it up. I like to catch the edges of the stabilizer in the hoop too, to keep things extra secure.

  6. Serafina SAYS...

    Hi Wendi, I was wondering how long I can leave the stabilizer on. I’m working on a big project that involves using 4 sheets with the same pattern on the same piece of fabric. I’m almost done with one and will be sticking another sheet on, and so forth so I’m thinking it might take me a couple of weeks to complete my project. I really don’t want to wash each sheet off . I hope I made myself clear. Thanks 😀


    • I’ve never had a problem leaving it on a for a long time. Take a look at this post about a BIG project I did. It took me a few weeks and I had no problems removing the stabilizer when it was finished. I WAS a little worried about it losing its stick a bit, so I made sure to start with some stitching around the edge of each piece to help keep everything secure. The post shows what I’m talking about in more detail.

  7. Jeanne SAYS...

    Do not use this product! I’m working on a family tree quilt and used this product to be able to embroider family names on linen. It won’t come off. I’m using the hottest water, picking this gluey substance off. I’m even using a soft toothbrush and tweezers! When it dries you can still see it. It has totally messed up the embroidery. Never again.

  8. Elke SAYS...

    Hi Wendy
    Does Sulky Fabri Solvy work on linen fabric? I’m worried it will shrink and stiffen the fabric when it gets soaked off. Have you tried it with linen before? Thanks!

    • I haven’t tried it on linen, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You can always pre-shrink the fabric before you start, and you can soak it off in cold water to minimize any future shrinkage. If you don’t rinse it thoroughly it CAN stiffen the fabric (which is actually kind of handy if you’re framing the piece – it acts like starch) but if you rinse it thoroughly (I swish mine in a large bowl of water, with multiple water changes) there’s no residue left behind, so no stiffness.

  9. Diana SAYS...

    I wanted to use it for a cross stitch pattern but surely you wouldn’t be able to see the holes in the fabric?

  10. Jim Phillips SAYS...

    I have a Canon TR8620 printer. It doesn’t a certain the paper type. I tried e ery setting it offered. Is there a way to make it accept the Fabri-solvy paper?

    • Not that I know of. Every printer is different when it comes to how it handles different papers. On mine I have to feed each sheet through individually (no stacking) and then it works great.

  11. Jacquie SAYS...

    Have you ever ironed on an interfacing before washing it off? I just don’t want to melt it and ruin my design but I’m worried if I don’t stabilize it before washing it’ll get all wonky. Thanks!

    • If you want to add interfacing you need to do it before you add the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy, or after you soak it off. (I’d do it before.)