Best Backing for Embroidery

Backing in embroidery is a must sometimes, but not always. In order to help you understand how it works, grab an embroidered shirt you may have. Look on the inside and you will see some material behind the embroidery – usually white or black.

That is what backing means. It goes with the fabric and it stabilizes and supports the actual fabric and stitches. The backing is purchased separately.

Now, choosing the best backing for embroidery requires a bit of research. You want something that will last for ages and ensure good final results. On the same note, you do not want the backing to be visible from the other side.

All in all, here are all the details you need to know before making a purchase, as well as the top-rated backing options on the market.

Best Backing for Embroidery of 2020

What To Look For In The Best Backing For Embroidery

Not sure how to buy the best backing for embroidery? Here is how to make a good choice.


The thicker the fabric, the lighter the backing must be and vice versa. There are a few other factors to keep in mind too. Fabric stability is extremely important. A loose fabric or a stretchy one will require heavy backing. Tight and stable fabrics require light backing.

Stitch density is just as important. If the density is high, your fabric needs some support to keep put. Obviously, the backing should be quite heavy. The same rule applies if you use the backing on something that will be washed often – such as towels. The backing will go softer and softer, so opt for a heavy option.

Light or heavy

Understanding light and heavy backing will help you determine the thickness or weight. Backing comes in more sizes and they are given in weight. Light backing is usually one to 1.5 ounces. Medium backing ranges between two and 2.75 ounces. Finally, heavy backing is three to 3.5 ounces.


Not all the projects you do require backing. Sure, most of them do require a stabilizer, but there are a few exceptions. When you use your machine for stuffed animals, make sure you invest in toys that are made for machine embroidery, meaning they do not require any backing at all.


In terms of colors, you will usually have white and black. White backing is more common than black backing for a few reasons. First, it works well with most colors out there. Second, it will not really be visible through the fabric.

On the same note, dark colors can make the backing visible if it is white. At this point, black backing is obviously the more suitable option. There is a third option too – not that common though. The no show backing will not be visible through fabric.


In terms of style and design, there are four options and each of them has a few characteristics:

  • Cutaway – permanent support, good stability and the excess can be cut away with your scissors.
  • Tearaway – light support, available in all weights and can be torn away.
  • No show – poly mesh backing, soft and strong, excellent for low stitch projects.
  • Topping – a water-soluble plastic film that prevents stitches from damaging delicate fabrics.

Now that you know what to look for, what is the best backing for embroidery based on buyers’ reviews?

HBI Embroidery Stabilizer

Tear Away Embroidery Stabilizer - 1.8 Ounces Medium Weight 12' x 50 yd Tear Away for Machine...

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HBI’s best backing for embroidery is extremely popular among all kinds of apparel brands – including major international brands. It is well known for its high quality stability and support, regardless of the project.

The backing is set to be the tearaway type, meaning you can tear it away easily and in a clean manner. There will be no residue left behind, while the design will maintain its integrity throughout and after the procedure.

The backing brings in good value for money. Given the price, you receive a roll of backing measuring 12 inches in width and 50 yards in length – great for commercial projects. The backing has a medium weight – 1.8 ounces.


  • Excellent for all kinds of projects given its medium weight
  • Easy to tear away without any residue left behind
  • Good value for money given the size
  • Super stable, regardless of the project


  • Fibrous material leaves some lint behind, so it requires cleaning

Sulky Of America Backing

Sulky Of America Cut Away Tender Touch Iron-On Backing White, 8' by 9 yd, June Berry (664-08)

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Made in the USA, Sulky Of America’s best backing for embroidery comes in a convenient design. It measures eight inches in width only, so you will not require too much space to keep it around. It is convenient and space efficient. In terms of length, you have nine yards of it – great for small projects.

The stabilizer is lightweight. It is permanent and mostly suitable to cover the back of finished projects. Stitches can cause itching sensations, hence the necessity of some type of backing to prevent discomfort. When it comes to non wearable items, its necessity is not that obvious.

Since it has the primary role to enhance comfort, the backing is mostly excellent for baby and children designs, as well as sports apparel and lingerie. It is also great for spandex and other similar fabrics for sports apparel, since it can stretch easily with the fabric.


  • Soft and comfortable on the skin – ideal for wearable fabrics
  • Permanent stabilizer to enhance comfort
  • Ideal for children and sports apparel
  • Good value for money


  • Not wide enough for large projects

Cloud Cover Stitch Backing

Superpunch Cloud Cover Stitch 12 inch x 10 Yard Roll, SuperStable Lightweight Stabilizer, Over The...

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This backing is available in a few different styles. First, you can choose whether you want it black or white – make this decision with the colors and fabrics you work on in mind. Second, the most common size is 12 inches by 10 yards. You can also get a larger roll – 14.5 inches by 25 yards.

The stitch backing is most commonly used to cover itchy stitches on the back of your embroidery designs. It is made in the USA and it feels sheer and soft. It is great for those who face irritations from labels and stitches, as well as baby garments and sports apparel.

While often advertised to be a stabilizer, this backing is not. It does come with a multiple direction stretch based on your design. It will also bond with your fabric, but it will never affect it negatively. It is simply designed to enhance comfort and prevent irritations from harsh stitches.


  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Feels very soft and comfortable
  • Available in more colors and sizes
  • Great to prevent irritations


  • Might come off after too many washes

Sulky Of America Backing

Sulky Of America Cut Away Tender Touch Iron-On Backing White, 20' by 36', Plum Dandy (664-01)

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Sulky Of America is one of the leading names on the market when it comes to embroidery backing. The so called tender touch option is advertised to be lightweight. It is permanent and it can easily cover the back of various embroideries – ideas to cover stitches and prevent itchy sensations, especially in babies.

Apart from babies, such stitches can become uncomfortable in sports apparel, lingerie and stretchable garments. The backing has the capability to stretch with the garment, so it will stick to it for ages. Furthermore, it also prevents shredding and distortion caused by heavy needle penetrations in the process.

Altogether, the sheet measures 20×36 inches. It comes in a compact package and can be easily stuck to the garment by ironing it. It is made of knit mesh and is only available in white – there are other alternatives for those who need it black for dark colored garments.


  • Easy to apply to garments by ironing it
  • Great for most colors – especially lighter colors
  • Great for most types of fabrics
  • Can prevent irritations caused by stitches


  • Cannot be used as a stabilizer

TAOindustry Stabilizer Backing

Premium Tear MachineShoulder pad

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TAOindustry’s best backing for embroidery is less likely to disappoint. It is built as a tearaway backing, meaning you can tear it away with no issues at all. There are 200 different stabilizer sheets in the package – great value for money. Each of them measures 8×8 inches – rated to be medium weight at 1.8 ounces.

The backing is fairly simple to use – no experience required at all. It is suitable for both beginners and professionals. It is also easy to tear away and will work wonders with rayon or polyester, among other fabrics. It is more efficient on heavy fabrics though – such as jackets, towels, jeans or robes.

Despite being easy to tear, the backing is actually sturdy and can deal with high stitch counts with no issues at all. It is not messy and it is perfectly safe – lead, BPA and toxin safe. The package has good value for money and even comes with an ebook on basic hand embroidery stitches.


  • Sturdy and durable – great for heavy fabrics
  • Easy to tear away with no effort at all
  • Suitable for both beginners and professionals
  • Great value for money


  • May feel a bit too thick for light projects and fabrics

Final Thoughts

As a short final conclusion, deciding on the best backing for embroidery is entirely up to your projects. Any of the above mentioned products could do a great job on specific projects – some of them involving light fabrics, while others implying heavy and thick fabrics.

Make this decision with your personal needs in mind. A little education on backing does help, but your garments, fabrics and future projects should dictate the final choice.

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