Embroidery Backing and Stabilisers

Embroidery Backings (or stabilisers) are designed to support fabric during machine embroidery stitching.

Fabric being embroidered generally endures large stresses imposed by dense and multi-directional machine stitching.  Backings and stabilisers, which are generally used in conjunction with an embroidery hoop, hold the fabric as flat and inflexibly as possible to minimise stress and potential damage to fabric during stitching.  Stabilisers can also provide support to completed embroidery long after the work has been done.

Stabiliser selection can be confusing – there are a myriad of stabilisers on the market, but we have tried to simplify the process as much as possible by offering the core, essential day-to-day products that you are likely to need.

Tearaway backings are often described as crisp and paper-like.   Tearaway backing is designed to “tear – away” from the embroidery stitching after the work is completed, and is a good all-round option for non-stretch fabrics.  Care should be taken when tearing away the excess backing – use slow and deliberate motions to make the tear as close to the embroidery, and as clean as possible.  Any remaining tearaway backing will generally disintegrate over a few washes.

Cutaway backings are a sturdy, durable backing used for delicate and stretch / knit fabrics.  It provides a solid foundation for crisp, clean, aligned stitches, minimising design distortion during and after embroidery.  Take care when cutting away excess backing so that you don’t cut your fabric or the embroidery stitches.

Water soluble topping film – colloquially known as “Solvy” or “wash-away” and often referred to as towel topper – is a thin sheet (usually less than 40microns) of PVA which is applied to the top of the fabric before embroidery.  It is used primarily on top of fabric that is “fluffy” or “loopy” like towelling.  It helps to keep embroidery stitches from becoming “lost” in the fibres of the fabric, or to prevent the loops from poking through the design.  Excess film can be easily removed from the embroidery by tearing it away, and as the name suggests, any remaining soluble topping film then dissolves in water.  Soluble topping film can also be used as a base for lace making.

As a final specialty item, we also offer “over-the-back” fusible interlining.  Over the Back is a lightweight, permanent stabilizer that is ideal to “cover-the-back” of finished computerized embroideries to protect sensitive skin from scratchy stitches. It can also be used as a preparation for all delicate fabrics like silk, satin, lame’, batiste, open weave wovens, and lightweight cottons to help prevent shredding or distortion due to heavy needle penetrations when embroidering.  It is comparable to Tender Touch™ by Sulky. Over The Back protects the fabric by giving it the needed support while embroidering, without changing the hand or drape of the fabric. It is ideal for baby and child garments, sports apparel, lingerie, spandex and golf shirts because it stretches with the garment.  Another layer can then be applied over the underside of the embroidery to protect sensitive skin from scratchy stitches.

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