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We are doing big designs, we're setting up for the Irish Dance Dress market but doing spinoffs of the designs onto hoodies and sweats. Mainly using the 300 x 300 to 450x480 hoop sizes.

The range of fabrics we are trying to set up for is rather large too, anything from woven to stretch knits and even silks and crystal organza.

The celtic knotwork and similar open designs also tend to be quite gappy rather than a solid fill so there are many areas of backing left between stitches.

For stretch fabrics (hoodies and sweats) we are currently using 2 crossed layers of a directional tearaway obtained from AJS (38g/m2) but it is far from perfect. There is too much stretch when in the large hoops, and it takes ages to tear out afterwards. We are using tensioning stitches (running a 10mm x 2.5 mm pitch steil around the outside of the design area) to improve the stretch problem, but on a recent batch of hoodies the design took 20 minutes to run and the backing took 25 minutes to pick out (incompletely).

so far we have found Madeira (of course) and ETC in the UK, but not getting the results I want from the samples of their backings that I've tried.

Madiera's tear away goes from not strong enough to hold at 40g (comes out easily, but the stitch tension also tears the backing and the results are too inaccurate) to being hard to tear (pulled on the stitches & fabric too much) and leaving horrible long fluffy fibres at the 50g. We also tried the madeira 100g/m2 AS heat film but still too stretchy for the big hoops and it melted into the fabric when we tried to remove it. The water soluble was fun but not suitable for large hoops or fabrics that would water mark.

we've got another batch of samples from the ETC stand at the NEC to try but their samples are never big enough to try in the larger hoops. With a single head in part time use we are not a high volume user so do not want to commit to big rolls unless we know they will work.

are there any other backing suppliers and backing types worth trying in the UK?

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 I have been making stabilizers for 33--34 yrsI do not know about the UK as we do not have distributors there.

We do have some  in the US that ship to the UK What is your approx stitch count? Is it dense and what type of material are you embroidering on - is it stretchy?

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"stretch fabrics (hoodies and sweats) we are currently using 2 crossed layers of a directional tearaway obtained from AJS"

You also want to use a "wet laid" non directional non woven - only one latyer of the proper weight to match the crirteria in my post http://www.lebowconsulting.com/stabilizer-glossary.htm   --  wet laid

One other point for now

Cutaways have longer fibers (polyester) for softness- Would you use a cutaway on some items

We will gladly have samples sent


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I found your website 6 months ago from your posts on the pulse list emails and it has been really useful in trying to understand backings.

I would already have ordered from you but unfortunately we don't yet want to be importing anything yet, we are struggling with the paperwork for a UK only business, the additional red tape and tax form complications would swamp us at the moment.

I'll look into the cutaways available locally.

Many thanks

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