I believe the year was around 1992 when I discovered Janome’s first “New Home” embroidery machine. Pre-made designs were limited to a small card. My husband and I wanted our Zodiac signs on all our T-shirts and so the Embroidery Affair was initiated. The requirement to embroidery on stretch fabric, i.e., t-tops was to use “Iron-On, Tear-Away Stabilizer. ” The sales lady said…..Just turn that T-top inside out, iron on the stabilizer … (it was only 1 size, small hoop) ….turn the T-top back out. The Iron On will now be attached to the front inside of the T-top. Put the bottom hoop inside of the T-top and add a layer of either “cut away” or “wash away” stabilzer on top of the bottom hoop. Then on the outside of the T-top, position your top hoop overthe bottom hoop and press and sandwich together. The Iron-On, Tear-away Stabilizer holds the T-top fabric from stretching while your design sews. After the design is done, just tear away the iron on stabilizer. It has worked for 18 years so I am a “believer.” You can use either washaway stabilizer or cut away stabilizer. I know the majority say to use cut away, but I have not had a problem with light and open designs holding up well with Washaway. On heavier designs, use cut away. It appears to be a matter of preference.
Use Water Soluble Stabilizer for fleece blankets, towels and anything with texture, regardless of how light the texture is, incuding waffle weave dish towels. You know, the one that looks like plastic wrap. Shannon and I fondly refer to it as “lick and stick” since when I bought my 2nd embroidery machine the sales lady cut a piece , licked her finger and wet one corner, pressed it down and continued with each corner, stretching as she went. She said she found it easier than fighting putting it in the hoop… plus it saves on stabilizer. Try the “lick and stick” method.