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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Embroidery 101: Back Stitch

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The first stitch tutorial I have for everyone is the Back Stitch. This is probably one of the more basic stitches in embroidery, and some of you may already be familiar with it. However, it will be widely used throughout this Stitch & Quilt Along, so an introduction is important.

Back Stitch will be generally used for following the lines of the embroidery patterns, and the first block is comprised of almost entirely back stitch.  When making your stitches, size is not as important as keeping the stitches even.  If you choose to make tiny stitches, make them throughout, likewise, if your stitches are a little on the longer side, keep them longer.  Keep in mind that smaller stitches work better with the curves we are working with.

This line illustrates the direction of the stitching line, I generally stitch from left to right, the same direction I write, however, it is personal preference, and one could easily stitch from right to left also.

As it's name implies, Back Stitch is always stitched in the opposite direction the line is traveling.  So, bring your thread up a stitch width from your starting point.

Then insert the need back to the starting point.  Bring the thread up again one stitch with from your last stitch.

Insert your needle through the first hole made to connect the stitches, continue stitching along the line, always moving forward but stitching your stitches back.

On the back side of your stitching, weave the tail of your thread through the stitches to secure it. You can either do this by carefully keeping the tail woven while you stitch or leaving it slightly longer and using the needle to weave it through. When you have completed your line or run out of thread, weave a portion of the remainder through to secure the ends. This is the method for securing all stitches, no knots necessary!

I hope this basic stitch will help get you off to a good start!  As usual, if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help out!


  1. If I'm using dividable floss (mine is 6 stranded), how many strands should I use?

  2. @Tiffany, I suggest using three strands, but you may want to practice a few stitches with three or four strands and see which you prefer.

  3. A nice simple explanation. Now I'm all self-taught so I'm sure I'm mistaken but I always thought that when you came back up, you backtracked a little so the stitches overlapped. Is that a different stitch or was I making that up?


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