I rely heavily on three products/stabilizers for the work I do.
I recently had someone ask when I use each one – and that’s a great question.
Here’s the rundown. . .
Freezer paper is an excellent stabilizer.
I use it most often to cut out felt pieces. I print the pattern pieces directly onto the freezer paper. (You can trace if you’re not as lazy as I am.) I iron the paper to the felt and then I cut the pieces out – cutting through the felt and the freezer paper at the same time. Since I label all my pieces it means I have a nice pile of labeled felt pieces, cut perfectly accurately, waiting for me to stitch them together. Awesome!
Freezer paper also works this way when cutting out regular fabric, but I only use it on fairly small pieces – so small that I can’t use pattern weights. I use it for ALL my felt cutting.
Freezer paper is also excellent for fusing to the back of any fabric that you’re going to draw or paint on. If you’ve ever tried to do that without a stabilizer, you know that the pen or marker will tend to drag the fabric along with it. It can be really hard to keep it flat and smooth. Freezer paper makes the fabric act like paper. Handy!
In all cases – the freezer paper will peel right off when you’re done. It doesn’t leave any residue behind, and you can reuse it a LOT of times before it loses its ability to fuse.
Fusible adhesive is what I use in all my appliqué projects. That’s mostly quilts, but also T-shirts, tote bags, pillows and more. Unlike the freezer paper – which sticks temporarily to the fabric – the fusible adhesive is a permanent glue.
So the only time I use this product is when I want to permanently stick one piece of fabric to another.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE using this printable fusible adhesive, as opposed to the stuff you can buy by the bolt. It’s more expensive – yes – but it lets me skip over the tedious tracing step and jump right to the fun part of my appliqué project. That’s worth money to me. 🙂
Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy
The Magical Embroidery Stuff! This amazing invention has made every part of my crafting life easier and more fun. (I wrote a whole post about its awesomeness here.)
I use it to transfer embroidery patterns to EVERYTHING. There are other products you could use to transfer a pattern to light-colored, smooth, woven fabric – but Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy makes embroidery on every surface possible. And it makes stitching on smooth woven cotton easier and better.
With this stuff you can embroider stretchy fabrics like T-shirts and baby onesies (no extra stabilizer needed). You can embroider dark fabrics. You can embroider nappy fabrics like velvet and terrycloth and fleece. You can embroider felt. Oh! How I love embroidering on felt!
I use it to stabilize stretchy fabrics when I appliqué on them. It just washes away – leaving no itchy stabilizer behind.
I freehand all my quilting designs – but if I did anything fancy I would print or draw it on this and stitch through it, then soak it away later.
Freezer paper vs. Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy
I think this is where most people get confused, because I use both of them extensively when I work with felt.
If I’m just cutting the shape out – I use freezer paper. It’s cheaper and doesn’t require soaking to remove.
If I’m embroidering something on the shape and then cutting it out – I use the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. Sometimes you’ll see me recommend both things in one project – like this snowman ornament.
The hat, hat band, and carrot nose have no embroidery on them. Neither does the back of the ornament. I cut all of those pieces out with freezer paper.
The snowman front and the scarf both have embroidery on them, so for those I printed the pattern on Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy, stuck it to the felt, embroidered the details, cut it out on the lines, and soaked off the stabilizer. (You can see how this works in this post.)
IAll of my patterns tell you which product to use where.
I hope that answers your questions about which product I use in which situation! Let me know if you have any other questions about any of them. I love them all and I’m always happy to share info about products that make your crafting easier and more fun. 🙂
Here are links to buy all three. . .