The importance of choosing the right backing fabric

No matter how good your machine, design, needles Etc. the finished embroidery quality will always be affected by the weakest link in your production process.

The first thing that an embroidery machine does when you start it, is begin to lay down an underlay stitch. The underlay might be a single run stitch, a zig-zag, a tatami underlay, an edge run or a combination of two or more (usually 2).

What is the underlay for?
Well it serves two purposes:
1. To securely fasten the fabric down to the backing
2. It is also used to build a base over which the covering stitches can be formed.

So why do we want to fasten the fabric down to the backing?
Well, that is so that the fabric doesn't stretch and move around during embroidery. If it does stretch and move then it will be very hard if not impossible to get the borders and outline stitches to match up - a nightmare for digitisers and machine operators.

Now if the job of the backing is to hold the fabric securely in place then of course it follows that the backing itself should not stretch or tear. Yes?

Tear-away backings are nice and easy to remove after embroidery but they do not produce the best quality embroidery.

Possible quality problems caused by tear away backing:
* the finished embroidery may feel stiff
* the design may become mis-shapen and distorted after washing
* perforation or tearing during embroidery resulting in poor design registration

Always start with the best
If you are unsure about which backing to use, start with a good quality, non-tear backing of a medium thickness (non-tear backings are usually softer). When you start off producing good quality then if you choose to you can begin to experiment with cheaper quality products until you find a happy medium.
Take care!
This is a slippery slope, which can lead to a gradual deterioration in quality that is not noticed until after your business reputation has already suffered.

For more information on embroidery backings and pricing please visit the Embroidery Source web site

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