Patented recently is a non-stratified, or homogeneous, non-woven composite having strength-imparting fibers of a relatively high denier and binder fibers of a lower denier that adhere the composite together and that form a smooth, stiff skin on the outer surfaces of the composite. In one instance, the strength-imparting fibers are staple fibers and the binder fibers are bicomponent fibers having a low melt component. In a variation, the composite also contains a small percentage by weight (that is, less than 20%) of flame retardant fibers that impart flame resistant properties to the composite. Preferably, all of the fibers are comprised of the same polymeric material (e.g., polyester), so that the composite is recyclable. The resulting composite exhibits excellent flame retardance, strength, and stiffness, as well as having a smooth surface for attachment of a decorative fabric or other material. A process for manufacturing such composites is also provided.