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Backing is known as the foundation for any good embroidery. Without backing the embroidery has no stability or structure. The importance of the proper type and weight of backing cannot be over-emphasized. Many people get confused as to what exactly backing is.

Backing is a type of cloth, usually non-woven, that consists of fibers laid in random directions. These fibers in some cases can be easily torn. When a fabric is woven or knit, certain properties like stretch are inherent in the fabric. If embroidery were laid down on typical fabrics they would have a tendency to distort the fabric and pucker and eventually lose their shape and definition. When the fibers of backing are laid down in random directions they form a fabric that holds it shape and does not stretch in any direction. Backing maintains this property even through washing cycles. Typically, one would use a heavier backing on lighter, stretchier fabrics and could use a medium to heavy cutaway on pique knits. Backing is generally divided into three major categories: tear away, cutaway and specialty backings. Fiber strength determines whether backing is considered a tear away or cutaway.

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