Sustainable Stitching: Creative Ways to Reuse Embroidery Backing

Sustainable Stitching: Creative Ways to Reuse Embroidery Backing

Embroidery is a timeless craft that brings art to life, but it often generates leftover bits of embroidery backing. Instead of discarding these materials, let's explore eco-friendly alternatives and discover imaginative ways to give your embroidery backing a second life.

Scrap Embroidery Stabilizer

  • Stitch together smaller pieces to make a larger piece: Often, after completing an embroidery design, we're left with stabilizer scraps the size of our hoops but with a missing chunk in the middle. Did you know you can stitch pieces of stabilizer together to minimize waste? Simply layer the scrap pieces, combining them into one whole piece. Voilà!
  • Glue together smaller pieces to make a larger piece: If your sewing machine isn't available, use a glue stick to bond the pieces. Ensure there's enough overlap for better cohesion.
  • Use them as quilt stabilizers: When making items like bags that require more rigidity in the sides or bottom, use scrap embroidery stabilizer to enhance your quilt projects' durability.
  • Stuffing: While slightly less soft than standard polyester filler, scrap stabilizer works well as filler for throw pillows, dog beds, and various applications.
  • Use leftover water soluble topping as a fabric stiffener: 

    Cut up the remaining water-soluble topping into small bits, dissolve them in water, and create a "starch-like" effect. (Recipe below).

Recipe for Creating a Fabric Stiffener from Scrap Water Soluble Topping


  • 3/4 cup of Water Soluble Topping bits (cut into 1/2" to 1" squares - so they're easier to dissolve)
  • 4 cups of Distilled Water (distilled water lacks minerals, preventing any additional deposits on your fabric)
  • 1/4 Cup Rubbing Alcohol (helps it last longer and it won't require refrigeration)
  • Quart Mason Jar (or equivalent mixing receptacle)
  • Spray Bottle
  • Stir Stick (Chop Stick works great!)


  1. Place your water soluble topping pieces in the mason jar.
  2. Heat up 4 cups of distilled water (you can heat it on the stove if you prefer, but do not bring it to a boil).
  3. Pour the water into the jar with the water soluble pieces.
  4. Use a chopstick or other utensil to gently stir the mixture until all the bits are dissolved. DON’T SHAKE IT!
  5. Let the mixture cool down and then pour it into your spray bottle. If you decide to add the rubbing alcohol, your mixture will last longer and you won’t need to refrigerate it to preserve it.
  6. We suggest testing it out on a wrinkly scrap fabric to ensure the mixture is correct.
  7. Just spray (or brush) onto your fabric and smooth out the wrinkles.
  8. Let dry and begin your project!
Dec 18th 2023 Sit n' Sew Fabrics

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