Perfect Backing for Best Looking Embroidery
It is an opinion of all the experts that selection of the perfect backing is the key to achieve the best-looking embroidery. However, this decision is very much personal.

In proportion to cost, embroidery backing is a small investment next to purchasing sewing machinery, but choosing the perfect backing for each project expresses vast difference between a product customers want to buy and one that they do not.


Backing is a non-woven material put behind the garment, which is to be embroidered, holds the fabric firm and does not allow it to move or stretch while the embroidery process is on. Thus backing works as a fulcrum or a strong support for non-woven material.


High-quality backing lengthens the life of the embroidery and improves its looks. Moreover, it increases permanence of the fabric and furnishes stitches more dimensions as thread has more to 'hold on to' as it is sewn. It saves the garment from pressure and friction of the thread and bobbin as it is sewn.


There are some fabrics that do not need backing before doing embroidery, however, like heavy canvas or some woven shirt materials, most do.


The finished product appears much smoother with backing because if no backing is used, particularly on a thin T-shirt, you can get wrinkling. Backing also holds lock stitches tight and prevents them from being pulled out. If stitch tends to get pulled out, it is less expected if you have got backing stabilized the cloth. Backing also makes laundering or dry cleaning last longer.


Backing can also make the machine run more competently and smoothly.
Backing helps the needle heat as far as the needle enters the backing. If one has the appropriate backing, one does not get as many thread breaks.


Production of Backings

Embroidery backings are normally fabricated from polyester and rayon fibers that are pressed together to create a non-woven fabric like a paper-sheet.


One cannot define a fixed percentage mixture, but they are composed of polyester and rayon fibres.
Processes for fabricating backings hinges on the manufacturer and end users.



John Solomon Inc. and Hollingsworth & Vose both fabricate wet laid backing. To make wet lay, fibers are blended with water and laid on a screen. As the screen ascends, the fibers get dry to form the backing.
This is the best form of backing for embroidery for the reason that it is multidirectional - i.e. it does not spread out in any specific direction and it can be torn in any direction. It has an unchanging, even surface, and if you select the appropriate weight, you should require only one layer.


Despite the fact that using numerous layers is a prevalent practice among embroiderers - and in some cases, two layers may be proper - it's generally not the best way to go, as advised by industry wizards.


Use as low-weight a backing as possible. Use a single layer of a medium to heavy backing to hold up rather than taking care of three or four pieces.


It is better not to employ multilayer because of bulk; lot of people in big production houses believe that multi layering is the perfect answer of their problems, but it is just a fallacy.


Backings are also fabricated in carded saturate and random saturate. The fibers in carded saturates are all arranged in one direction. The fibers in random saturates are haphazardly blended.

Which backings to apply

If we ask two or three embroiderers which kind of backing is ideal for which use, and we might receive as many as 10 different answers.
Cutaway and tearaway are the two most accepted types of embroidery backings. Both are available in different weights to be used with various weight fabrics.



Cutaway backings are normally a more significant for embroidering sections like soft or very stretchy fabrics, which require more support. They are composed to be clipped from the edges of the finished embroidery.
Cutaway backings are for bigger areas like sweatshirts since you have thousands more stitches in the area that is being embroidered. Essentially, when one has smaller areas, one uses backings that tear away. However, the weight of the fabric that one is embroidering also matters.


Since special care is required in clipping close to embroidery, cutaway backings are more time-consuming and it would be an unwise option for large amount of productions.
Tearaway backings intend literally to be torn away from the back of the embroidery, and they can be much faster and more effortless to use. They must, however, be used with the appropriate fabrics.


If it is a very light material, sometimes workers or technicians may use a cutaway, because the pressure of tearing might damage the fabric.
All embroiders have different opinions about when to use which backing.



There are no hard and fast rules. There are so many variables - machine tensions, thread type, how the operator feels when they wake up in the morning, the weather, and the hooper.
It is advisable to use always one layer of backing only.
If an embroiderer uses 2000 stitches he prefers lightest weight. Moreover, if embroiderers are doing 15,000 stitches, they do not want to use three layers; it costs them too a large amount of money. Density of their stitches should be in proportion to the number of stitches they do.


The selection of backing is primarily relied on the weight of the fabric.
It is recommended that the backing should be slightly lighter in weight than fabric. Both, lightness and heaviness of backing damage the fabric; too light a backing does not give required firmness and too heavy a backing presses down the garment and alters the shape.

Many companies provide lighter weight mesh backing other than standard weights of cutaway and tearaway backings.

As mesh backing is a waffle-weave, some embroiderers like it; it is a very soft backing and it fuses into the fabric after it is cut. Waffle weave does not expose as much in thin fabric.

Since mesh backings are woven, they can be used for embroidering on leather.

Sometimes when somebody embroiders a letter O on vest leather, the O is dropped out. The benefit of a woven backing is that it stitches it back.

Special uses

Adhesive backings are generally used with distinctive hoops or hooping tools.



Those are all fixtures that are fabricated in such a manner that one can put adhesive onto the frame, then put the garment down onto the adhesive backing and it adheres into place while the embroidery is being done, therefore, one does not have to support it. That is for hard-to-hoop items like the rim of a collar or cuff, or for something where one does not want a hoop burn to come forth.


More and more embroiderers are opting for backings that fade away to generate a finely embroidered appearance without the bulk of backings. Water-soluble film, used for years as a topping material, is increasingly common as a backing because it fades away when wet.


The benefit of using it is the complete design comes to be a lot softer. We are inclined to find out a lot in the towel industry, because they require to use topping to keep the stitches from vanishing, but also when they are using it on the back, it appears rather nice without having that typical tearaway left behind. Moreover, any little bits left behind dissolve with the first washing.


It is also used in fashion applications such as wedding costumes.
For the moment, it tends not to be used by the big commercial embroiderer who is doing lots of T-shirts or golf shirts.
For fabrics that cannot get wet like suede, velvet, corduroy and silk, heat removable backing suits well. The backing fades away with the treatment of a hot iron.


Top it off

Toppings are used on fabrics with loft, texture or nap such as terry cloth, velvet, velour or corduroy to keep the stitches from sinking into the fabric.


The use of topping immensely enhances the appearance of embroidery on any fabric with texture. It may also be applied when embroidery has been carried off and re-stitching is needed. In this case, topping can stop stitches from sinking into holes left by the deleted design. Parts of the topping are left under the embroidered design and as a result, they modify the surface of the fabric that is being embroidered.


What one needs?

To start a new shop and know which backings to store can be a complex question for the embroiderer.


To start a new shop and know which backings to store can be a complex question for the embroiderer.

The small shop is advised to focus on maintaining a small inventory of light, medium and heavyweight backings, hence the shop can satisfy the customer's needs no matter which kind of fabric or product the potential customer brings in.

A bigger shop with numerous heads is characteristically embroidering for a specific market section. They would test depending on the runs that they are currently doing and choose the backing that functions most suitably from a performance outlook and a cost perspective. Until and unless the class of product they are embroidering alters suddenly, they will stay with that and then they would put to the test again.

In testing, the shop owner will embroider samples for the customer who then approves or disapproves the quality.

If one uses an inefficient backing, one is not going to have good stitch formation and they are not going to sanction the project.

Shop owners also should decide whether to purchase their backing on rolls or in pre-cut sheets.

If you have number of persons working for you, and you are paying large amount of salary for machine operators, you may come to know that the quickest way to do it is to buy it in cut sheets. On the other hand, you may have somebody who has time on their hands between embroidery that can cut it themselves. You must consider costs.

Tips and Tricks

Some tips and tricks for successful embroidery: If you apply spray adhesive with backing, it keeps the cloth thoroughly flat and not stretched out therefore when you get it out of the hoop, it appears nice, flat, smooth embroidery. It is also much easier to hoop since you are not pursuing a piece of backing beneath the shirt trying to discover if it's in the right place or not.


It is also advised that embroiderers always tell their digitizer in advance what type of garment the design will be stitched on, because the best backing and hooping job will not secure a design planned for the wrong shape.



Finally, experimenting is recommended. Nearly all of the topmost backing suppliers have models on hand.


Stitch out some samples. Check out a couple of diverse backings and a couple of different weights of backing. There are many experts out there, but eventually, if you just give enough time practicing with your device, you will come to know what works best for you.


Sew Special

It is tough task to know whether or when to apply specialty backings. Information provided below can help you decide.


Peel and stick:It is a tearaway backing with a pressure-sensitive coating and a release liner. It has three general uses:
. To make hard-to-hoop applications such as shirt collars and cuffs is easier.
. To stabilize high-stretch fabrics such as bicycle shorts and sweatshirts.
. To eliminate hoop marks that can occur with certain problem materials such as brushed denim and suede.


Caps: Tearaway cap backings are used to enhance the crispness of lettering and columns, specifically with low profile and unstructured caps.

Fusible: Fusible backings can be lastingly fixed to garments with a hand iron and are used for very stretchy and hard-to-hoop materials such as fleece and leather. They can also be used to coat the inside of accomplished embroidery designs that may have a rough surface, such as metallic threads.

Puff: Puff backing is a lofty material used to create a three-dimensional, trapunto or quilted appearance.

Children's sleepwear: Backings whose fiber content meets fire retardant standards.

Black backings: Black backings are used for dark garments where white backing would show and be distracting.

Toppings: Toppings are used to stop stitches from sinking into high profile fabric.