How to remove embroidery with backing

How To Remove Embroidery with Backing – At Home In 2023

It doesn’t matter how much beautiful the embroidery looks on a dress or a piece of fabric, it can’t always be up to the preference. it could be misplaced, or stitches are wrong, etc. and in this case the removal is necessary but it is one of the most daunting tasks in the embroidery and sewing journey. If you need to remove an embroidery, there are many reasons why. It may be because of stitching mistakes or because you change your mind about the design.

Taking out embroidered stitches without damaging the cloth can be challenging, but it is possible. Even though it is time-consuming and annoying for beginners if you don’t have proper guidelines and instructions to follow for a better outcome. So, how to Remove Embroidery with Backing? In order to achieve the best results when removing embroidery stitches with backing, make sure you have the appropriate equipment and know how to use it.

Key Takeaways

  • Embroidery backing is a must for some valid reasons, especially to help protect the embroidery.
  • There are different types of backings for embroidery purposes which requires their own unique techniques to remove.
  • Note down the additional tips, tricks, and precautions so that you can remove the embroidery with backing easily.

Does Embroidery Require Backing?

Embroidery backing, also known as a stabilizer, is a material that is placed underneath the fabric during the embroidery process. It helps to provide support and stability to the fabric, preventing it from puckering or stretching while the embroidery is being stitched. So, the answer to the question “Does embroidery require backing?” is yes, in most cases.

Backing comes in different forms and can be made from various materials such as tear away, cut away, or wash away. Tear-away backing is usually used for lightweight fabrics, while cutaway is used for heavy or stretchy fabrics. Wash-away backing is used for delicate fabrics that can be damaged by a tear-away or cutaway.

Using backing is especially important when embroidering designs with a high stitch count or density. These designs can cause the fabric to pucker or stretch, ruining the embroidery. Backing also helps to prevent the embroidery thread from showing through to the back of the fabric. In some cases, where embroidery can be done without backing if the fabric is very thick and stable, or if the design is very small and simple, the backing may not be necessary. It is not recommended for most embroidery projects, as using backing helps to ensure the quality and longevity of the embroidery.

Different Types of Backing for Embroidery

Since you know about the fundamentals of backing and its necessity let’s take a brief scan through the types that are used by people all around the world for this purpose.


It offers the sharpest embroidery on highly detailed designs, including small lettering, since cut-away backing is heat set fusible. The backing is available in light to heavy weights and is heat set fusible. In addition to staying permanently affixed to the fabric, cut-away backing is removed with scissors. It is available in 1 oz. (light) and 3.75 oz. (heavy).

It prevents the design from stretching when it is worn and washed frequently, so it is best to use cut-away on materials that stretch (like knits) and fabrics that will be worn frequently.

A lightweight cut-away is used for light-stitch-density designs, while a heavyweight cut-away is used for dense designs. For a better understanding of whether a fabric falls under the “stretchy” category, feel it. Make sure you pull on the fabric while holding it in the middle of the fabric, and do not touch an elastic waistband or zipper. If there is substantial stretching, you may want to use a cut-away backing.



Tear-away backing has less stability than cut-away backing, so it is used for light support. There are several weights available, and there is also an adhesive version available.

Like cut-away backing, tear-away backing is true to its name. As the name implies, it is removed by tossing it off. It is often used for terry cloth, robes, blankets, leather, and other firmly woven natural-fiber fabrics that don’t stretch.

A tear-away design is not only suitable for strong and stable fabrics, but it can also be used in designs where the backing doesn’t want to show on the other side, such as towels, caps, and bags.

In cases where your fabric needs strong support, you can use several layers of lightweight or medium-weight tear-away. It is easier to remove one sheet at a time, rather than struggling to remove a heavier tear-away.


Poly mesh

Poly mesh
Poly mesh

Known as a no-show backing, the poly mesh is a lightweight, thin, and strong weave cutaway that is designed to provide additional stability to knit shirts.

Unlike most stabilizers, this one is transparent through light-colored garments. For best results, we recommend combining a no-show backing with a tear-away backing on polos and T-shirts that will contain low stitch count designs. You can remove the no-show backing with water or heat.



When stitching on textured fabrics, Aqua-top topping prevents stitches from sinking into the fabric. These fabrics are delicate, mesh-like, and difficult to mark, such as pique, fleece, terry cloth, or corduroy, which require temporary support.

It is also a good idea to top towels when embroidering because it makes the stitches stand out more. You can either tear away the topping, spray water onto it or combine both methods to remove it from the back of the fabric.

5 Embroidery with Backing Removal Techniques

Embroidery can be removed successfully by either hand or machine, regardless of whether you used mesh or basic backing.

1.Seam ripper

Firstly, the seam ripper can be used to remove a seam in your project. Seam rippers should always be kept in your sewing kit as well as in your DIY arsenal.

It has sharp points on the tip and resembles a claw. It can be used to unpick seams and stitches. You can loosen the embroidery threads by slowly and gently tugging on them, one by one.

You may then want to cut them with small, sharp sewing scissors. To remove very small amounts of embroidery, you can use small, clean nail scissors instead of sewing scissors. But this can be very time-consuming and tedious.

Seam ripper
Seam ripper

2.A stitch eraser

If you have a stitch eraser on hand, that would be an excellent option, since it is much faster. The devices look very much like electric shavers and trimmers. They use electricity or batteries to power them and have small teeth for cutting away embroidery. This can be accomplished without damaging the garment underneath, provided you are on a flat surface, pulling it taut, and taking your time. The stitch eraser can be applied right over the backing and embroidery of your garment after you turn it inside out.

It may be necessary to repeat this process a few times depending on how much embroidery there is. The embroidery can then be easily removed.

To remove loose threads, use tweezers or seam rippers, then turn the piece back the way it should be, and begin wiping away the stitching. In case you are short on time or wish to erase a large amount of detailed embroidery, this method is perfect for you. People may not be able to wait until they purchase these tools, since not many people have access to them already.

A stitch eraser
A stitch eraser

3.Electric shaver

Electric shaver
Electric shaver

The stitch eraser we talked about in the previous step looked very similar to an electric shaver, right? In fact, electric shavers are very similar to embroidery removers in many ways. It’s easy to run an electric shaver over your embroidery’s back because it has those teeth, like a stitch eraser.

To run the garment along the embroidery backing, make sure you are working on a flat surface with the garment turned inside out. To remove the loose embroidery, turn the garment the right way around and brush or rub it away.

4.Manual razor

Manual razor
Manual razor

In addition, we would like to mention a method that involves using a manual razor. The ideal type is a one-use plastic one that you can buy at a drugstore in bulk. The stitch eraser will take a little longer than the electric shaver but will be much quicker than the seam ripper. Grab a clean, unused one, turn your garment inside out, and repeatedly run it over the embroidery backing. If you want to ensure you do not accidentally shave some of the clothing while using this method, you must always pull the garment taut and place it on a firm, flat surface. Once all of the embroideries on the backing have been loosened, rub away the rest of it from the front.


A pair of tweezers is the best tool for removing embroidery with backing. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it: First, trim off any excess thread from the back of the embroidery. Gently pull up the backing with tweezers. If there are any stray threads remaining after removing the backing, trim them using tweezers from the front of the embroidery.


3 Simple Additional Techniques

Here are some more simple and easy tricks you can try to remove the embroidery from your favorite dress with backing.

1.Lint brush

Do you know that you can also use a lint brush or lint roller to remove embroidery backing? Most people have a lint brush or lint roller in their homes to remove lint and hair from their clothes.

You can loosen the backing of the embroidery by gently brushing the lint brush or roller over the surface. Remove the embroidery stitches by slowly and carefully peeling back the backing.

Brush away any adhesive residue with a lint brush or roller. A seam ripper or stitch eraser will damage the fabric if you use this method to remove embroidery with backing.

Lint brush
Lint brush

2.Duct tape

Duct tape
Duct tape

Getting rid of embroidery with backing can be done quickly and easily with duct tape or adhesive tape. The embroidery should easily come off once the tape has started.

You may need to use some force to get the tape started, but once it has, the embroidery will easily come off. Tweezers or a needle can be used to gently remove any stitches or fuzzy threads left behind by the embroidery.

3.Magnifying glass

Magnifying glass
Magnifying glass

A magnifying glass is a great tool to use if you’re trying to remove embroidery with backing. This method is simple, effective, and efficient. Here’s how you do it: You can remove the backing of the embroidery with a magnifying glass by holding it over the embroidery and scraping it off with the side of the glass.

Embroidery has some small stitches that are difficult to find, making it more difficult to remove. Take a magnifying glass and look at the whole embroidery design until you can see the entire design. Remove the backing until all embroidery is removed. Enjoy your newly embroidery-free item!

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6 Tricks for Removing Embroidery with Backing

Removing embroidery with backing can be a daunting task, but with the right tips and tricks, you can do it successfully without damaging the fabric.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • A seam ripper or small scissors can be useful in removing the embroidery without damaging the fabric. Be sure to use a sharp blade to avoid snagging or tearing the fabric.
  • Before removing the embroidery, turn the fabric over and start removing the backing from the back of the fabric. This will help prevent any damage to the front of the fabric.
  • Take your time when removing the embroidery. Working too quickly or roughly can cause the fabric to pucker or tear.
  • If the embroidery has been fused onto the fabric, use a hot iron to melt the adhesive before removing the embroidery. Be sure to place a pressing cloth over the embroidery to protect the fabric.
  • Removing embroidery can take time and patience. Don’t get frustrated if it takes longer than you expected.

Few Common Problems and Mistakes to Avoid

During the procedure of removing, you might face problems and make some ground mistakes. If you know them beforehand it’ll be easy for you to deal with them.

  • When removing the embroidery, be sure to avoid cutting too close to the fabric. This can cause the fabric to fray or tear.
  • A dull blade can snag or tear the fabric. Be sure to use a sharp blade when removing the embroidery.
  • Tugging too hard on the embroidery can cause the fabric to pucker or tear. Work slowly and carefully to avoid this.
  • If the fabric puckers while removing the embroidery, try using a hot iron to smooth out the fabric.
  • If the fabric tears, try using a small piece of fusible interfacing to patch the tear.
  • If the embroidery won’t come off, try using a fabric-safe adhesive remover or gently heating the embroidery with a hot iron to loosen the adhesive.


Does the embroidery backing come off?

After embroidery the backing can be torn off, leaving the backing only under the stitching with no backing showing around it.

What is the best tool to remove embroidery?

A seam ripper is an easiest and cheapest way to remove an embroidery logo. This tool will easily cut and remove the seams from the stitching. Also, it removes embroidery without damage.

How do you remove the back side of the embroidery paper?

Well, the cut-away backing must be removed by cutting it away with scissors after the embroidery is complete. It is best to remove leaving ⅛ to ¼ of an inch edge.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to worry much about it when you follow these methods and instructions, do you? However, you still need to be very attentive, and patient, and have a bit of advanced craftiness to get the best results. To begin, gather all the necessary tools, including a seam ripper, tweezers, and scissors. Before dealing with the backing material, carefully remove the excess threads from the surface. Preventing embroidery removal is always the best course of action. Test a small sample before embroidering to ensure the desired results, and make sure the stabilizer is appropriate for the fabric and design.

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Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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