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Stabilizer And Backing Guide





puckering example

Use embroidery backings and stabilizers to prevent puckering. Puckering happens because embroidery thread is stronger than the fabric and pulls the fabric as it is being embroidered. The result is wrinkled, lumpy work as shown on the left. Our Llovet backings and stabilizers solve this problem by temporally strengthening the fabric while it is on the hoop so it resists the pulling that causes puckering. They are removed by tearing, cutting or washing when the job is done.

How to buy the right backing - Understanding backing types and styles, weight in ounces, color, the difference between sheets and rolls and how to do price comparisons are key to buying the right backing.

Type and Style - Experienced sewers will tell you that selecting the right type and style backing is more important than the brand. Type refers to a class of backings such as tearaways or cutaways. Style refers to specific kinds of backings. By convention, we use Hollingsworth and Vose style numbers that are used by many in the industry. Download their Embroidery Backing Guide

Ounces - As a general rule the backing's weight should increase as the fabric's weight decreases. Backing weight is expressed in ounces per square yard. It refers to the backing's density not its thickness. Backings are soft and spongy meaning measuring it's thickness with calipers is pointless.

Color - Most of are backings are white, but we do sell some black backings at a price. The conventional wisdom is to use white backings with light fabrics and black backings with dark fabrics. In practice, the backing's color does not matter if it is completely removed from the finished garment.

Sheets and Rolls - We sell backings in precut sheets and large rolls. Precut sheets are convenient and easy to use one at a time. Rolls are heavy, bulky, and must be cut into sheets before they can be used. But, they are much less expensive. We stock 8" x 8" sheets for all styles and sell them in 100 and 500 sheet packages. Other sheet sizes and rolls are shipped within four business days.  Please call if you have an ongoing need for a specific putup. Also call for special pricing on ten or more rolls or 500 sheet packs.

Prices - The best way to understand backing prices is to know their cost per square yard. Please download our Backing Price Comparison Worksheet. It shows our prices and cost per square yard helps you calculate our competitors' cost per square yard.

Types of backings - We sell tearaway, tearaway / washaway, cutaway, and water soluble backings and stabilizers


Applied to

Excess removed by



Back of fabric


Faster removal. No risk of damaging
work with scissors

Tearaway / Washaway

Back of fabric

Tearing. Any remaining
backing comes out with
the first washing

Best all around backing.


Back of fabric

Cutting with scissors

Best for stretchy, delicate fabrics,
maintains design detail, more bulk,
better needle perforation resistance.
Risk of damaging work with scissors

Water Soluble

Front of fabric

Steam or fine spray

Used with high profile fabrics such as
fleece or terry cloth. Use with a
Tearaway / Washaway backing.

Tearaway Backings - Remove tearaway backings by tearing them from the embroidered fabric. This is faster and less expensive than cutting because our tearaways are specially designed to be torn from any direction. Tearing also eliminates the risk of ruining work with scissor cuts. Tearaways work well with most fabrics. But they are not recommended for exceptionally delicate or stretchy fabrics such as loosely knit sweaters. We have two tearaway styles:

Style 1525 is a 1.5 ounce, general purpose, tearaway with a medium-firm hand. Use it for: Aprons; leather jackets; sweats; t-shirts; blouses - silk and polyester; coat linings; felts; shorts - cotton and nylon; socks; ties - knit and silk; tote bags; webbing and belting.

Style 3020 is a heavy duty, 3 ounce, tearaway that tears exceptionally well in all directions leaving a fuzz-free edge. Use it for caps and hats.

Tearaway / Washaway - This backing is the closest thing to a "universal" backing available today. Remove tearaway / washaways by tearing them from the fabric in any direction just like our tearaways. Any residue dissolves with the first washing. Our Tearaway / Washaway backing provides excellent hoop stability and stitch performance on high stitch-count applications, difficult garments such as socks and bathing suits, and as backing for water soluble toppings. It often replaces two layers of regular tearaway backing on delicate materials.

Style 2020 is a 2 ounce Tearaway / Washaway stabilizer. It lets embroiderers tear away backing and know that remaining small pieces will disappear with the first laundering.

Use it for: aprons; baby bibs; bandanas; blankets - stadium and horse; caps - canvas, cotton, and knit; coat linings; duffle bags - cotton and nylon; felts; fleecewear - light, medium, and heavy; golf shirts - herringbone, loose, and pique; jackets - satin and nylon; karate belts; leather; suede; vinyl; scarves; sheets and pillowcases - percale and satin; shirts - denim, twill, linen, oxford, cloth, and turtleneck; shorts - bicycle, cotton, and nylon; swimsuits; tablecloths; napkins; placemats; ties - knit; towels - bath and golf; t-shirts - medium and heavy; and umbrellas.

Cutaways - Delicate and stretchy fabrics with high stitch-count designs need the cutaway backing to maintain crispness and design details. They provide a stable base before and after embroidery, prevent fabric from being forced down the machine's throat plate, an retain the design's shape through repeated washings.

Excess cutaway backing has to be removed with a scissors and work an be ruined with a bad scissor cut. Our cutaways reduce this risk by being easy to cut and still maintaining stability. You can further reduce this risk by not cutting too close to the design, using a gliding scissor motion, avoiding blunt-end scissors, and not using nippers or clips.

Soft-N-Stable Cutaways - These cutaways are exceptionally soft and comfortable, easy to cut, and very stable.

Style 8820 is a 2 ounce, Soft-n-Stable, cutaway backing that is soft to the touch, comfortable, and wearable. It is lightweight for low to medium stitch-count applications. Use it for: knit caps; heavy fleecewear; light golf shirts; nylon jackets and windbreakers; and turtleneck shirts.

Style 8825 is a 2.5 ounce, Soft-n-Stable, cutaway backing that is soft to the touch, comfortable, and wearable  It is a very versatile, soft cutaway for medium stitch-count applications. Use it for: double knits; light, medium and promotional fleecewear; golf shirts; satin and wool jackets; and Shetland sweaters.

Style 8830 is a 3 ounce, Soft-n-Stable, cutaway backing that is soft to the touch, comfortable, and wearable  It is a heavier soft cutaway for higher stitch-count applications. Use it for: loose and pique golf shirts; high-density stitching designs, and Shetland sweaters.

StitchBacker Cutaways - Standard cutaways that are easy to cut, have good hoop stability, resist perforations, remain stable after repeated washings or dry-cleanings.

Style 9925 is a 2.5 ounce StitchBacker backing used as an all purpose backing for medium and high stitch-count applications. Use it for: sweats and t-shirts; double knits; fleecewear; golf shirts; satin and wool jackets; and sweaters.

Style 9930 is a 3 ounce StitchBacker backing used for high stitch-count applications. Use it for: high-density stitching designs; and Shetland sweaters.

puckering example

Water Soluble Toppings - Water soluble toppings are also known as Sol-U-Film and Solvy. The are used to prevent stitches from sinking into high profile fabrics such as fleece and terry cloth as shown on the left. Apply topping to the top of the fabric and remove it with steam or a fine water spray. Always use a backing with a water soluble topping. We recommend our Tearaway / Washaway backing. Here is a list of popular water soluble topping applications.

Use Water Soluble Toppings for: monogramming, computerized embroidery, lace work, quilting, applicque, buttonholes, bridging, edges, cut work, 3-D work, heirloom sewing, serging, hand-turned applicque, and thread sketching.

Use / Backing Style - Here is a list of fifty embroidery applications and the backing styles that work best with each application. Just click on a style to see our selections.


Backing Style


Backing Style


2020, 1525

Karate Belt


Baby Bibs


Leather, Suede, Vinyl

2020, 1525







Sheets, Pillowcases--Percale




Sheets, Pillowcases--Satin


Blouses--Silk and Polyester


Shirts--Denim or Twill

2020, 1525

Caps--Canvas and Cotton

3020, 2020




8820, 3020, 2020

Shirts--Oxford Cloth


Coat Linings

1525, 2020



Double Knits

8825, 9925

Shorts--Cotton or Nylon

2020, 1525

Duffle Bags





2020, 1525

Sweaters--Fine or Tight


Fleecewear--7 Oz Light

8825, 9925, 2020


8825, 8830, 9925, 9930

Fleecewear--9 Oz Medium

8825, 9925, 2020

Sweats and T-Shirts

9925, 1525

Fleecewear--12 Oz Heavy

2020, 9925, 8820




8825, 9925

Tablecloths, Napkins, Placemats


Golf Shirts--Herringbone

8825, 9925, 2020


2020, 1525

Golf Shirts--Interlock

8825, 9925, 2020



Golf Shirts--Light

8820, 2020

Tote Bags


Golf Shirts--Loose

8830, 8820, 8825, 9925, 2020



High-Density Stitching Designs

8830, 9930




1525, 9925

T-Shirts--4 Oz Medium

8820, 2020

Jackets--Satin (Baseball)

2020, 9925, 8825

T-Shirts--6 Oz Heavy

2020, 9925

Jackets--Nylon (Windbreaker)

2020, 8820