Although these types of fabrics are not considered "stretch", they do tend to give and/or pull out of shape. More often than not, we experience puckering when embroidering them. We've all been taught to use "tear away" types of stabilizers on "stable" fabrics. The problem lies with the fact that these fabrics are never consistently stable. Depending on the thread count of most cotton's, a cut away could be a more reliable choice of stabilizer for these types of garments especially with overly dense embroidery. However, a tearaway is appropriate for most occasions.
If your desired effect is to have no stabilizer left behind the design once it is complete you should use Floriani Heat N Sta® for these types of fabrics. This remarkable 1.5 oz tearaway has a light fusible coating and is easily removed from around the design. Use Heat N Sta® by fusing a piece of the stabilizer to the back of the garment at least one inch larger than the embroidery frames outer edge.
Hoop the garment as normal. By fusing the stabilizer directly to the garment, you have eliminated the stretch and will have a smooth embroidery design! Unlike cutaway, Floriani Heat N Sta® can be removed from around the design by simply tearing it away.
This is especially nice on light colored cottons such as quilt squares. Remember to use a low temperature setting on your iron (silk or 260°F) and a press cloth when fusing Heat N Sta® to the back of your garment.
Another option which adds more thread count to the fabric is Floriani's No Show Nylon Mesh Cutaway. This product creates a non-stretch foundation for the embroidery threads to connect to. If you tend to stretch the garment out of shape when hooping choose the fusible version of Floriani's Nylon Mesh. Fuse a piece onto the garment at least one inch larger than the outer edge of the hoop size you are working with. Use a low temperature setting on your iron (silk or 260°F) and press with the iron to the fabric, NOT the stabilizer. Using a press cloth makes this easy to remember. Fusing the mesh directly to the garment will eliminate any distortion of the fabric and design. If you choose not to fuse the mesh, simply hoop it with the garment. Be sure to use a piece larger than the hoop size. To remove the fused mesh from around the embroidery, simply re-heat it with a low temperature iron and peel it back to the edge of the design. Trim away the excess stabilizer. This stabilizer is especially nice to use on cotton or poplin dress shirts when embroidering dense logos or designs.
Both methods of stabilizing mentioned above work well with most designs that are not larger than 4"x 5" and/or around 8,000 stitches. If you use a larger or an unusually high stitch count design, use a piece of Floriani Medium TearAway in addition to the fused stabilizer, in the hoop or by "floating" it in between the hoop and the bed of the machine.
Be sure to use Floriani Water Soluble or Heat N Gone Topping on the top of flannel or large fiber cottons (denim, poplin, etc.) to keep the textures of the fabric from showing through or distorting the embroidered design. Tip! The topping does not have to go in the hoop with the garment. Simply secure it to the top of the garment with pins or tape. This will ensure your embroidery foot doesn't catch a wrinkle in the topping and cause a blooper! Tear away as much of the topping as possible once the embroidery is complete. To remove the remnants of the Water Soluble Topping wet the tip of a Q-Tip and edge the pieces out or you can use a damp cloth or sponge. To remove the Heat N Gone remnants simply touch them with the tip of a hot iron. This is especially nice if you are giving a gift and don't want to wet the garment.