Stitch Tips- The Back Stitch

Stitch Tips- The Back Stitch

Cross stitch and embroidery are two related, but different beasts. And embroidery comes in many forms. There’s hand embroidery (where I dabble), machine embroidery (think logos on shirts and hats), free-hand machine embroidery (those cool lines you see on quilts), and so many more styles.


I personally LOVE embroidery. Honestly, I love it way more than I love cross stitch. Cross stitch is great, and it’s what got me started with hand stitching. But much to the same reason why I don’t bake, I don’t like to plan very much.

And, my most favorite stitch is the simple, yet effective back stitch. Why do I love such a simple stitch so much? One reason… It’s fast. I like to accomplish my projects a lightning speed so I don’t tire of doing the same thing over and over, (could be another reason I don’t prefer cross stitch) so anything I can do that makes my projects move along more efficiently, I’ll do.

The back stitch is a stitch that many of you have already tried today. It’s one we typically learn as children when you stitch yarn onto a piece of cardboard. Anyone?

To start any embroidery project, I typically draw out my idea with a water soluble pen. See cross stitch post for image of the pen!


Once I have my idea drawn out, I start my stitching. Just as with any stitch, its important you understand each simple step to make your project as clean as possible.

  • Thread- Embroidery thread comes with 6 strands of thread that need to be separated before you start stitching. For back stitch, I like to use 2 strands folded over (so 4 strand thickness)
  • Fabric- I like to use cotton fabric to stitch on that doesn’t have too much give. Anything too stretchy or too thin shows flaws and pulls (which don’t look great)
  • Hoop- Even if you’re not framing your project in the hoop, it’s important to use one during your stitching to keep the fabric taut
  • Stitch- The back stitch is one of the easiest embroidery stitches, and it’s excellent for beginners.
    • First, you start at the back of your project, and push the needle up through the beginning of where you marked with your pen. Pull the thread all the way up (but be careful that you don’t pull the thread totally out of the fabric.
    • Next, place the needle about an 8th of an inch from where you started and stich down to the back of your project.
    • Now comes the back stitch part- push your needle up about an 8th of an inch from the top of your first stitch. Once you pull up, come back down at the base of the last stitch, connecting the two.

And that’s it! You just follow along what you’ve drawn out until you’ve run out of thread or finish up that section. Re-thread, and keep going!

What’s your favorite stitch? And why?


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