When kind of embroidery backing should I use with sheer fabric?

A soft, sheer, textured backing, polymesh was developed for use with sheer fabrics, such as tulle and chiffon, and lightweight garments, such as T-shirts and polos. The texture allows polymesh stabilizer to hold a large number of stitches, despite its light weight, which reduces the number of pieces needed to stabilize the garment.


Because polymesh is sheer and light, show-through is minimized on garments. Polymesh can also help eliminate the unsightly wad of cutaway or tearaway backing that is often employed to hold a large number of stitches on flimsier materials.


A fusible version is also available with all the qualities of regular polymesh, but it can be fused by heat to the decorated material. Fusible polymesh has two main uses. One use is as a skin protector. Using a fusible polymesh is common for those who embroider baby and children’s clothes. The fusible polymesh is sealed over the back of the embroidery to protect delicate skin from irritation. The second use is to stabilize stretchy or flimsy fabrics. Because fusible polymesh literally fuses to the material, it provides an extra layer of stability and helps minimize stretching when embroidering performance garments or flimsy fabrics.


Contact Brooks Industries today to receive a Polymesh Sample. Just one of the many backings in our Embroidery line.

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Custom Logo Elastic


With more and more companies looking to stand out from the pack, we are receiving more and more requests for custom elastics, including logo/jacquard. We have partnered with mills both domestically and overseas, and currently produce logo elastic for several high end and well known brands. Custom colors/widths/thickness and images are no problem and we will work with you from design to delivery to make the process as easy as possible.


Contact us today at BROOKSBACKINGS@GMAIL.COM to discuss your project or to receive a sample of some of our logo and custom elastic work. We also have the ability to create custom projects that are not limited to waistbands (i.e. hair ties/hats/promotional items/etc.).



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Custom Projects/Selvage Tape


Once in a while, we at Brooks Industries have clients who come to us with nothing more than an idea. Be it a custom waistband, environmentally friendly interlinings, print designs, etc. Recently, we were approached by a high profile design team to create thread and color specific selvedge tapes. Used to provide denim with elevated detail, we worked closely with this design team to take their idea from paper to production.


This custom tape is only one example of the many ways that Brooks Industries works tirelessly with their clients to provide a service unmatched by anyone else in the business. With apparel mills spread out across the globe, we are confident that we can produce out-of-the-box ideas that show off a company’s originality.


Contact us today to inquire about your project or to sample any of the several items that we have in stock.

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Embroidery Backing 101

From time to time we at Brooks Industries are asked about selecting the correct embroidery backing. Here is some helpful information to answer many of the frequently asked questions we receive. Included in this discussion are key differences between Cutaway and Tearaway backings.


When it comes to selecting embroidery stabilizers, knowing what embroidery backings other embroiderers use with a particular garment is a good start. Unfortunately, this information may not provide all of the answers or, for that matter, any of the answers for your particular machine or design. Stability of the garment fabric, stitch density, color, stitch length, stitch speed, size of the embroidery, and stability of the design are some of the variables that can influence backing selection.


Fabric stretch is probably the most important factor in selecting embroidery stabilizer. No matter what type, embroidery backing has to be stable enough to prevent movement during the stitching process. There are many different fabrics and many qualities within those types. Experimentation is often needed even when changing blank suppliers of what appears to be an identical garment. A fabric’s structure (weave or knit pattern) is apt to be a better indicator of stability than weight alone. This is particularly true of golf shirts.


How well you hoop your fabric has an impact on the finished product. Poor registration of embroidery stitches can occur from loosely hooped or insecurely hooped garments. This is not an embroidery backing problem. A secure grip on thick or slippery materials can be gained by using higher hoops. Fabric tension in the hoop can be checked by pushing your finger across the fabric. If you see wrinkles, your tension may be too loose.


Be cautious in using materials not specifically designed for use as an embroidery stabilizer. These products frequently are seconds and contain errors. Some products have large variations in weight. Extreme shrinkage, particularly dryer shrinkage, and bleeding colors are two other problems that can arise. Puckering can occur when using an inappropriate material with too much stretch. The use of poorly performing products can test an operator’s stamina. The cost per garment for backing of any type is very small. However, using the wrong embroidery backing can be expensive.




A tearaway is the backing of choice for most embroiderers. Designs can usually be finished more quickly, safely, and cheaply with a tearaway than with a cutaway material. If you cut one expensive garment, the advantages of tearaway stabilizers will be with you for life. Most tearaways range in weight from 1.5 to 3 oz/yd. To perform well as a backing, a tearaway should be stable and able to withstand repeated perforations. The tear away backing should tear easily and cleanly in either direction. This seems obvious but some embroiderers are still using backings that tear only in one direction. These products have to be tugged at, leave long strings of fiber, and take some courage to remove. Pulling a tough tearaway stabilizer too hard or too quickly on a delicate long stitch design can needlessly cause distortions.


No matter the type of tearaway backing, the accepted wisdom is you should tear the stabilizer as close to the stitches as possible to reduce any chance of distortion. Using two light layers of tearaway backing pulled off one at a time is a technique that can avoid a distortion problem. However, this procedure is relatively expensive and time consuming.


Finally, in choosing a tearaway, most embroiderers consider ease of tear, cleanness of tear, hoop stability, and perforation resistance as important factors in their selection process. Tearaways can be used on most items but, in general, should be used with caution on exceptionally delicate or stretchy fabrics such as loosely knit sweaters.




Cutaways embroidery stabilizers are needed to provide a stable base for delicate and stretchy fabrics both during the stitching process and afterward. Some fabrics are so stretchy they can force themselves down the throat plate. A cut away backing not only helps maintain the crispness of a design’s details during the embroidery process, it also helps retain the design’s shape after repeated washings. Having an angry customer return a sagging or stretched design will remind you of a cutaway’s advantages. A quality embroiderer should insist that cutaway backings are both washable and dry cleanable.


Accepted wisdom says you should not cut too close to the embroidery with your scissors and that a gliding scissor motion rather than a cutting one should be used. A cutaway that has some rigidity will enable this gliding scissor motion. When cutting, both the backing and the fabric should be kept in view. Do not allow the garment to fold over. Some industry consultants recommend blunt-end scissors to prevent snagging fabric. Many people use 3.5-inch to 4-inch double sharps because of their general utility. Nippers are not particularly useful for this operation.


Most cutaways range in weight from 1.5 to 3.5 oz/yd2. Cutaways, in general, tend to be more resistant to needling perforations than tearaways. In choosing a cutaway, most embroiderers consider ease of cutting, wash stability, hoop stability, and perforation resistance. Cutaways tend to have more bulk than tearaways. Softness, ease of cutting, and stability can often be mutually exclusive properties for cutaway backings. In some cases, the embroiderer needs to determine which property is most important for a particular design. The softer backings tend to have more hoop stretch and, accordingly, will not allow as crisp a design as stiff ones.


Brooks Industries stocks several different sizes and qualities of tearaway and cutaway embroidery backing. We also carry numerous specialty products as well as die cuts. Contact us today to learn more or for any other questions that you may have.

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Happy Holidays/Holiday Schedule


We at Brooks Industries would like take a moment to wish all of our customers and their families the happiest of holidays.


As we inch closer to the end of the year, please note that our office will be closed on the following dates: 12/25, 12/26, 12/27 as well as 1/1, 1/2, 1/3. During this time, we will be available via email and checking our answering service. However, we cannot guarantee delivery on these dates.


Thanks again for such a wonderful year and we look forward to all the things that 2014 will bring.


Happy Holidays!

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What’s New At Brooks Industries

Custom Tape – Twill tape is a flat twill-woven ribbon of cotton, linen, polyester or wool. It comes in various widths up to 2 inches. Used in sewing, and tailoring to reinforce seams, twill tape can make casings, bind edges and create sturdy ties for closing garments. Besides uses in apparel, twill tape is also used in theatres to tie curtains, cable and scenery to various objects, or to tie cable coils so that they do not unroll. Brooks Industries stocks several different sizes of twill tape and can custom dye the product tomatch any color. We also carry apron tape for products, where a heavier tape is needed.


Brooks Industries is also now taking orders on our new monofilament elastic. Created specifically to fill a void in the denim market, we have tested and worked with an affiliate mill for several months to create this unique product that both reinforces as well adds elasticity to waistbands and other apparel linings

Call or email us today to learn more about our tapes/elastic or any other product that you are looking for.

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Yoga/Athletic/Fitness Apparel

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  Recently, Brooks Industries has been approached by several clients looking to design yoga, athletic and/or fitness apparel. Due to the tight fitting nature of these styles, most companies are looking for high-end products that can handle a lot of … Continue reading

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Often overlooked, the right pocketing can make or break a garment. With so many different styles of fabrics and blends, designers can find it difficult to find the right pocketing to compliment their product. At Brooks Industries we understand the frustration that can arise from choosing the perfect pocketing. For this reason we stock a wide range of pocketing in different weights, colors and fabrics.


Our 30 years of experience in apparel construction has given us the knowledge of working with you to find the right material to be dyed, washed, handle shrinkage and feel comfortable against the skin.


We have worked with clients such as American Apparel, Frame Denim, Fresh Produce and LF Sportswear to create memorable looks with unforgettable fits.


Please contact us today to discuss your pocketing needs or to place an order.

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Featured Product: Plush Elastic


Brooks Industries is one of the few distributors on the West Coast (and The US), who stocks multiple sizes and colors of Plush Elastic. This featured product is great when looking for a cheaper alternative to woven elastic. It provides comfort on exposed applications like waistbands or any other elastic that has direct contact with skin.


Plush Elastic can be stitched directly to the fabric with the Plush side being exposed to the body. It is also a “breathable” product that allows perspiration to escape & dry (to avoid skin problems), making it perfect for activewear.


We stock this product in multiple sizes starting at 1/2″ and up to 2″. It comes on 40-50 yard rolls or in festooned cases and is available in white, black, and other custom colors upon request.


Contact us today to learn more about Plush Elastic.

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Featured Product: Elastic w/ Drawcord


Elastic with drawcord is a great idea to save sewers the extra step of feeding cord through a waistband.


This elastic comes with a built-in cord that can expand to twice the elastic length. It is the comfortable, suitable choice for waistbands on sportswear. The drawstring can be hidden on the inside of the waistband or pulled through to the outside for use.


Brooks Industries stocks this product in multiple sizes and combo colors. It is a great cost and time saver.


Contact us today to purchase or sample.

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