Embroidery Term of the Week: Topping

comments (2) April 6th, 2008     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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Topping keeps machine embroidery stitches from sinking into the nap of a towel.
Water-soluble topping looks like plastic film, but rinses away after the embroidery is completed.
Smooth, even stitching is the result when you use a topping to embroider fabrics with nap or pile.
Topping keeps machine embroidery stitches from sinking into the nap of a towel.

Topping keeps machine embroidery stitches from sinking into the nap of a towel.

Photo: Len Hasemann

Even though I am going to be 40 years old next month, I know there used to be a TV show called Topping that was popular in the 1950s. The topping that I want to talk about is a clear stabilizer that appears to be Saran Wrap. It has been confused as such by one or two of my customers’ husbands! (Imagine wrapping a sandwich in “plastic wrap” that dissolves when it gets wet!)

When you embroider on fabric with a nap, especially towels, you need to create a smooth surface for the embroidery design to stitch out onto. After you’re done stitching, you don’t want a lot of fuss and muss to remove it from the right side of your project. Stabilizer called topping, topper, or water soluble stabilizer provides the perfect surface for the embroidery design to stitch out on and the best part is that it washes away when you’re done!

After you’ve hooped your fabric, place a piece of topping on the surface of the fabric inside the hoop. As you embroider, the stitches will form on the surface of the topping, creating a nice smooth embroidery. (This is especially important when you are monogramming towels. You want the edge of your letters to be crisp.)

When you’re finished embroidering, gently tear away the stabilizer around the design and the rest will disappear in the wash!

 

embroidery Get more embroidery information:

• How to Embroider a Greeting Card
• How To: Five Handy Embroidery Stitches
• The Last Stitch: How to Finish Your Hand-Embroidery
• How to Turn Photos into Embroidered Portraits

posted in: embroidery, topping

Comments (2)

4mythreads writes: You mentioned saran wrap. Could it be used as a stabilizer, cut away, and the smaller pieces removed with tweezers? Trying to economize, very low budget.
Posted: 1:04 am on June 30th
ranchlady writes: Hi Jennifer,
I believe the name of the show was Topper. It was about a ghost right? anyway do you know the name of the stabilizer?
Thanks,
Ann
Posted: 5:58 pm on November 15th
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