How Can I Remove Embroidery With Backing?

Removing embroidery with backing is, indeed, a very possible task. Doing so, while causing no damage, can be made easy with a few simple steps.

It will take a small amount of time and can be done using tools most people already have laying around the house. This method will also be much more efficient than removing an embroidery design using solely a seam ripper.

How Do You Remove Embroidery With Backing?


Removal of embroidery with backing can be achieved by first scoring the basting stitches from the underside of the design using a razor.  Doing so will cause the thread to be made loose enough to then be plucked out of the fabric with a pair of tweezers.

Using a seam ripper may be necessary for removal of any underlay stitching. You may also want a lint roller on hand to continually remove any fuzz created throughout the process.

Method 1. Using A Seam Ripper

Seam Ripper

You will need the following items:

  • Seam ripper
  • Lint roller 
  • Flat working surface

Step 1. Turn your garment inside out. This helps you to see the backing and the embroidery location. Removing embroidery in this method is a long and tedious process, Turning your garment inside out ensures that you don’t have to keep going back and forth.

Step 2. Most types of embroidery backing are easy to tear off the garment. You can use your fingers to see how easily it comes off. If it doesn’t come off easily using fingers, you can resort to using your seam ripper. Rip off the backing carefully. Making sure not to tear your clothes.

Step 3. Once the backing is ripped off, you can now see the embroidery stitches on your embroidery design. Usually, they are quite small, hence the need for the seam ripper. Start ripping off the stitches on the embroidery. Remove the stitches fully from the embroidery design. 

Step 4. Turn to the front of your garment. Touch your embroidery design. You will see that it starts falling off on its own, now that the stitches holding it to the garment are ripped. Remove the embroidery design from your garment. This part is easier and quicker to complete as nothing is holding the threads to the garment.

Step 5. If there are any threads on the embroidery design still stuck onto the garment, turn it inside out and rip off any remaining stitches that are holding the embroidery design onto it. 

Step 6.  When you have removed most of the embroidery design, you may have some leftover small threads that are too small to be lifted off by hand. Take up your lint roller and roll it over the location of the design. It will pick any remnants of the embroidery design, leaving your garment as plain as you want it.

You can also use a wet cloth to pick off these small threads of the embroidery design.

Method 2. Using A Stitch Eraser 

Seam Ripper

You will need:

  • A flat working surface
  • Stitch eraser. This is a stitch cutting machine that resembles a shaving machine. It is easy to use and is the fastest embroidery removal process. 
  • Tweezers

Step 1. Make sure you have a flat surface to work on. Turn your garment inside out and make sure that you can see the whole embroidery design. 

Step 2. Pull your garment taut. You can use a hoop, pegs, or pins to stretch the garment as tightly as possible. This helps to expose the threads on the embroidery design and the backing.

Step 3. Using your tweezers and your fingers, tear off the backing of your embroidery. The embroidery stabilizer that is used as the backing is quite easy to remove and tears off easily by pulling it off. You can tear off the first bit with tweezers and proceed by hand.

Step 4. Switch on your stitch eraser and aim for the bobbin stitch on your embroidery design. Bring the stitch eraser onto this stitch and it will cut it off. Do this on the whole embroidery design. Make sure that the garment is still held tightly in place for easy movement of the stitch eraser. Cut off all the stitches that are holding the embroidery design onto the garment. 

Step 5. Turn the garment around when you are through cutting the threads. Wipe them off with your hand. For those that don’t wipe off easily, you can use tweezers to pull them from the garment. 

Step 6. Be careful when using the stitch eraser. Keep your hands away from the garment you are working on. You don’t want to injure yourself with its sharp razors while working with it.

Method 3. Use A Razor

Stitch Eraser

Step 1. Turn your garment inside out and place it on a flat surface to work on. 

Step 2. Bring your razor to the backing of the garment and start rubbing it off. If it is easier to peel off with your fingers, you can peel it off.  

Step 3. When the backing is peeled off, it is now time to remove the stitches that are holding the embroidery design onto the garment. Bring your razor to the stitches and cut gently on every aspect of your embroidery design.

Step 4. Using a razor is almost similar to using a stitch remover. The only difference is that the stitch remover is mechanical. Thus, using a razor is much slower than using a stitch remover. 

Step 5. Turn your garment right side up. At the point where the embroidery design was, you will find that it has already started falling off. Pull off the threads that make up the design. You can use a lint roller to remove any threads that remain on the garment.

Step 6. Using a wet cloth, dub the area of the embroidery design to confirm that your garment is in good condition and that you have removed all parts of the embroidery design. 

Method 4. Using An Electric Shaver 

Electric Shaver

Step 1. Turn your garment inside out to expose the embroidery backing. Make sure that the garment is pulled taut to make it easier to access and shave off the stitches of the embroidery design.

Step 2. Peel off the backing with your fingers. You don’t need any specialized tool to remove the backing especially if it is a stabilizer. You can easily peel it off with your fingers. 

Step 3. Bring your shaving razor to start shaving off the stitches of the embroidery design.

Step 4. When you have finished shaving off the stitches, turn the garment to the right side. Wipe off the embroidery design threads until you have a plain garment where you once had an embroidery design. 

How To Remove Embroidery From Nylon? 

Any type of fabric can be embroidered including nylon. You can also remove embroidery design from nylon if you want. To remove embroidery from a nylon garment or bag, you need a seam ripper. On your embroidery design, pick a starting point and start to rip off the embroidery design threads and stitches holding it onto the nylon fabric. 

After you have cut off all the threads and stitches on the embroidery design, turn your nylon garment inside out. Using tweezers pull off remaining threads. Removing embroidery on nylon leaves holes. You can cover them with a different embroidery design or applique. 

How To Remove Stitch Marks From Fabric?

Once you have finished removing your embroidery on your garment, you will leave stitch marks on it. You cant wear clothes with stitch marks. Thus, you need to know how to remove them. First, iron your garment at the point where the embroidery was removed. 

Next, run your hand over the stitch marks. Place your palm over the stitch marks and smooth them. Move your hand over them to seem like you are close open pores. Lift your hand and you will find that your stitch marks are gone. You can also use a spoon if you need a tool. Using your hand is faster.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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