Embroidery Stick and Stitch Tips

Stick & Stitch Embroidery Tips & Tidbits

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Not every stitcher minds the step of transferring images to fabric, but when you're really excited to start stitching it means having to calm down because transferring patterns isn’t usually quick, and sometimes the material or spot you want to transfer a pattern to might make it a bit difficult to do. Luckily, there are stick and stitch packs like the ones in my Etsy shop!

What is Stick and Stitch?

If you're not familiar with stick and stitch, they’re embroidery designs on thin sticky stabilizer stickers which are dissolvable in water. You just peel the back, stick it to your fabric, stitch, and dissolve it in water at the end. It provides you with nice crisp lines to work with and saves you the time it takes to transfer so you can jump right into your project!

Not only can you use them on hooped fabric but also on other things such as shoes, purses, and clothing. Sometimes, it's really difficult to use the window method or even carbon paper on certain surfaces that aren't totally flat or the material isn’t ideal, which makes stick and stitch designs perfect in those cases.

I absolutely love how easy stick and stitch is to use so I'll explain just how to use them and share some tips to help you understand their nature and avoid some simple mistakes beginners make.

How Sticky is Stick & Stitch?

Stick and stitch stickers are sticky, but not as sticky as you might expect, and that’s true for every brand I’ve experimented with. I didn’t quite get why at first, but now that I’ve had plenty of experience using them I understand why that is.

So here’s why stick & stitch is of medium stickiness by design:

  • So it can dissolve within minutes and to prevent stubborn leftover glue residue from being left behind on your project after the stabilizer has dissolved in water.
  • If you don't place it on just right you'll be able to peel it off and re-adjust it easily. Don't move it around too often though as it won't stick as well as it could each time it's move around.
  • To prevent gumming up your needle. If it’s really sticky some of that glue would wind up on your needle (and thread) and make stitching unpleasant. It can still happen but it’s pretty rare unless you started with a dirty embroidery needle to begin with. If you need to clean your needle though, rubbing alcohol on a little cotton ball will take care of it quickly.

How to Use Stick & Stitch Stickers

Stitch and stick stickers typically come in packs and are cut to size so you shouldn't have to do any trimming. Just peel the backing off and place the sticker onto clean fabric.


Turn your fabric over and give the back a good rub against a hard surface, and give the edges a little extra love.

If you’re placing the stick and stitch on a surface that you can’t turn over, then place a piece of thin scrap fabric over the stick and stitch before rubbing it down. Remember, stick and stitch is thin and if there is any moisture on your fingertips it can get ruined.

Lastly, if you're using hooped fabric, hoop your fabric first before adding the sticky design. Then turn it over onto a hard surface and rub the back, again paying extra attention to the edges.

From here, just start stitching. Take your time and have fun with it.

Remove your fabric from the hoop (if you're using a hoop) when you’re finished stitching, and set your fabric into a bowl of warm water for about 2 minutes or so. It won't hurt to leave it in there a few minutes longer but I find that a couple of minutes is pretty good.

You'll see the stabilizer slowly dissolving away. It’s actually a bit hypnotizing to watch. Gently rub away any bits that are still attached. Rinse it under warm running water (gently running).

Roll your fabric and gently squeeze excess water out, then unroll. Lay your project out flat, then re-hoop (if you're using a hoop) when it's completely dry.

That’s it!


Stick and Stitch Tips

  • Some fabrics may shrink after washing so it's a really good idea to use fabric that's been washed and dried before using stick and stitch on them.
  • Stick and stitch stickers can be used on a variety of fabrics but works best on smooth fabrics like cotton and linen which have little texture or stretch. It's also easier to see on light fabric.
  • While smooth fabrics work best for stick and stitch stickers, it's a great option for using on fabrics that are difficult to see through or draw on such as felt. I always use it on my felt appliqué projects. Just be sure to go slow as felt can still have a little stretch and has a bit of texture.
  • Stretchy fabrics can create a lot of problems when stitching such as uneven stitches and I steer clear of them but if you really want to use a stick and stitch design on something that stretches it might be a good idea to add a thicker stabilizer to the back to help keep it's shape better. This is something I haven't tried so if you try it I'd love to know how it worked for you!
  • Be sure your hands are dry and avoid high humidity as this can make your stick and stitch as well as your needle a bit sticky or even dissolve prematurely.
  • Test out your embroidery threads. Embroidery threads are not all created equal and you may find that some will bleed when they get wet which can stain your project. That would be utterly disappointing after putting in all that time so don't skip this!
  • Before you stick on your stick and stitch design use a lint brush across the surface to help with adhesion. You can also stick a few small pins onto your sticker to help keep it in place if you'd like.
  • Hold the edge of your stick and stitch down with your finger when stitching along the edge and pull your needle through gently. If you pull too hard or too fast it can pull the sticker up.
  • If you're drawing your own designs onto sticky stabilizer use a light pen or pencil. Remember that in the end you'll have to wash the stabilizer away and if your ink is on thick there's a possibility of it bleeding onto your fabric.
  • Be sure to use warm water to dissolve the stick and stitch. Cold water will still dissolve i but warm water dissolves it better and faster.
  • I hope you find these tips useful and helpful! Have fun sticking and stitching!
  • If you need some stick and stitch packs to keep you busy don't forget to stop by my Etsy shop.
Happy stitching!


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