I Don’t Like the Embroidery Backing Showing Through My Shirt!

Embroidery backing showing through on a shirt is a common issue in embroidery, and one without a definitive solution. If you have read my previous post on how we ensure the quality of our logo embroidery, you know quality is always an issue of concern in our process. This post is to specifically address the issue of the embroidery backing showing through on some shirts.

The reality in today’s world is that fabrics are lighter weight than ever before, but also of better quality.  On dark colors, we rarely have an issue with opacity or with the backing showing through, but on white or light colors this is a concern. Backing is required in the embroidery process to stabilize the embroidery, keeping the stitches from pulling back into the garment.  As for the type of backing to use we basically have 3 options:

  1. There is a tear-away backing that is primarily used on hats, bags, and heavyweight apparel like jackets. After embroidery the backing can be torn off, leaving backing only under the stitching with no backing showing around it. This method is quick but is seldom used on shirts or finer fabrics because when the backing is torn off it can cause distortion on the front side of the embroidery.

  2. In the past few years, the industry has developed a variety of backings referred to as “No-Show”. They are lighter weight backings that have less of an outline showing when they are trimmed. I say less because they still show, and quite often 2 or more pieces are needed so it shows up more than intended. In our experience, we cannot consistently get the quality of embroidery we expect with the lighter weight no-show backings. Some shops will use a piece of no-show and a piece of regular backing…which is pointless. Then it shows anyway.

  3. So in our shop, we continue to use 2 pieces of our heavyweight backing to stabilize the embroidery on lightweight shirts. This ensures that we always get quality embroidery and minimal puckering. The downside is that on white and lightweight fabrics the backing will often show through.

The photo below is somewhat extreme. This is a very lightweight fabric but it demonstrates what happens with all 3 backings. The pictures correspond to the backings listed above. Number 1 with the tear-away backing is totally unacceptable. The “no-show” backing on number 2 is less visible, but the detail in the embroidery is poor. Only number 3 using our standard backing produces consistent, acceptable results.  If you find that the backing showing through is unacceptable, I suggest you use only dark color garments for your embroidery.