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. . .
- 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.
- Peel off the paper back and stick the stuff right to the surface of what you’re embroidering.
- Hoop it up and start stitching. You stitch right through the stuff.
- Soak it in water and the stuff dissolves away like magic.
Want to see all of that in action? Watch this video.
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!
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!
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!
Now you know why I call Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy The Magical Embroidery Stuff. I love it!
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!