How to work Back Stitch

Back stitch sampleBack stitch is often used along side cross stitch to define a clean neat line in a design. It is classified as a linear stitch because you can create lines with it! Back stitch is an old adaptable stitch which can be used as a delicate outline or as a foundation in composite stitches, such as Pekinese stitch. It is also a great stitch to whip or thread with a heavier yarn. You can add beads to it too!

Back stitch sample using hand dyed threadIf you want to work blackwork patterns using hand dyed or variegated threads use back stitch. Many blackwork patterns can be very effective worked this way and the changing colours  add a contemporary touch to a traditional style of hand embroidery.

Back stitch sample on contemporary hand embroideryThis is a stitch that is considered a basic stitch as it is always introduced to beginners, but I feel  people underestimate  its versatility which ensures its timeless appeal to generations of stitchers. For instance in this sample (click to see a larger version)  I have used back stitch to define the lines of the sand. Set against the highly textured embroidery the simple ‘basic’ stitch creates the contrast I wanted.

Back stitch step by step tutorialIf needed, mark your line with a quilters pencil or soluble pen or pencil. Bring the thread up from the back of the fabric on the line that you want to create. Make a small backward stitch through the fabric.

Bring the needle through the fabric a little in front of the first stitch and still on the line. Pull the thread through the fabric.

Make the second stitch backward,inserting the needle down into the hole made by the first stitch and bringing the needle out a little in front of the second stitch but still on the line. Repeat this movement and continue sewing in such a manner along the line.

Back stitch is also known as point de sable

Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

Templates set 1 you will find here 
Templates set 2 you will find here 
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18 Responses to How to work Back Stitch

  1. Julia says:

    I can hardly believe the beauty and intricacies of your stitching. I am always drawn in immediately when I see your work/ play; its always so completely compelling and inspiring.
    It’s good to have you back. You give fuel to my imagination, with all your luscious / glorious, stitching and embellishments – it moves me away from the ‘have to do’s’ and into that space I call meditation .
    Mind you if you need a sabbatical to write a book or 10 I won’t complain.. I’m looking forward to the end result.. Best wishes Julia

  2. jacki biller says:

    what stitches do you like to use when you are writing on a quilt? My background is flannelette. Any suggestions?

  3. Jeannette says:

    Great to be reading your posts again 🙂

  4. Lori says:

    I might be one of the only readers who did not know how to do a back stitch. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your work is exquisite with such attention to details. Thank you for the site.

  5. Hi Sharon,
    Back stitch is simple, but you have made it very beautiful.
    Thanks for the inspiration,
    Chitra

  6. Peggy Kimble says:

    So good to see you back – you were very much missed. Peg

  7. Maureen says:

    Great to see you online again! I love the versatility and definition of backstitching. Exciting to know you are creating a book!

  8. Jackie says:

    I’m glad to see you back too! I always enjoy looking at your beautiful creations….

  9. allys says:

    So good to have you back Sharon!

  10. Renee says:

    I think I caught up on reading your recent posts. I am so excited for you and the progress on your book! 🙂 Your ability to work with clusters of beads and stitches, as you did in your sandy scene, blows me away. Love the reminder that back stitch is good for more than outlining.

    • sharonb says:

      Pleased you found it useful Renee – I think lots of experienced stitchers forget how useful the basic stitches are

  11. Janie says:

    Great examples, clear directions! not to mention inspiring.

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