5 Easy Back Stitch Variations

5 back stitch variations on hooped fabric

5 Fun & Easy Back Stitch Variation

I love it when a simple stitch can be used to creatively create variations that are full of character so I’m going to hit upon 5 back stitch variations because they’re fun and easy, plus there’s no doubt they will pop up in some future pdfs I’ll be creating!

Before diving in, be sure you are familiar with the back stitch as each variation will build off of it. If you’re not familiar with it or need a refresher hop on over to my back stitch tutorial first so you can follow along.

The Back Stitch Variations You’ll Learn:

  • whipped back stitch
  • threaded back stitch
  • double threaded back stitch
  • pekinese stitch
  • interlaced back stitch

Each one starts off with a row of back stitches and then you’ll add more thread to it to create these variations. While you can use the same color thread throughout the stitch you’ll find that using different colors will give you more contrast so you can see the details.

Start with a row of back stitches.

Back Stitch Variation 1: Whipped Back Stitch

The whipped back stitch is a favorite of mine. I like to use it when I want to make a back stitch look a bit smoother and a little tighter. It has a rope-like effect when you use different colors and reminds me of old school tattoo drawings of the rope on anchors.

Your row of back stitches should be in place.

Start by coming up to the front at the beginning of your stitch. Then slide your needle under your first back stitch. You can do this from either the top or bottom but each time you do this step it will be from the same side. So if you slide your needle from the top like mine, it will always do so from the top. Be consistent with your direction.

Now, pull your needle and thread all the way through.

That’s really it! Your next step will be pretty much the same. Slide your needle under the next back stitch from the top and pull your needle and thread through. You are basically spiraling around the back stitch you laid out. Once you reach the end it will look something like this:

Notice the different thicknesses of red thread and yellow thread. You can change up the look by using the same of different number of threads, switching up colors, and playing with the length of the back stitch before adding the whipped stitch.

Here’s another little tip… when you pull your thread through it can sometimes make your stitch look a little wonky. If it does, you can adjust it by gently pulling your thread in the direction of your back stitch to straighten it out. Do this as you go and don’t wait until your stitch is complete or it will be a bit difficult.

Repeat these steps until you reach the end of your back stitch and once you’re there just exit at the end of your stitch to the back.

Back Stitch Variation 2: Threaded Back Stitch

The next back stitch variation is the threaded back stitch. It’s kind of similar to our whipped stitch but instead of spiraling along the back stitch it slithers like a snake along your back stitch from one side to the next. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

So just like the whipped back stitch you’ll start off exactly the same way by coming up at the beginning of your back stitch then sliding your needle under your first stitch and pulling your thread through.

I’m sliding my thread from the top side of my back stitch so I will end up at the bottom.

By the way, if you have trouble with your needle snagging the fabric you can turn your needle around and push it through with the blunt end. Just be careful not to poke yourself as you do this. You can also use a dull needle as long as your fabric can handle it.

In this next step you’ll slide your needle under the 2nd back stitch but this time you’ll do so from the bottom side.

Now repeat those steps. Each time you slide back under your back stitch you’ll do so from the same side as you are already on.

If you’re on the top side of your back stitch then you’ll slide your needle under and through your stitch from the top. If you’re on the bottom side of your back stitch then you’ll slide under your stitch from the bottom.

Keep up with these steps until you’ve reached the end of your back stitch.

As you create your threaded back stitch be mindful of how taut you pull your thread. You can make your thread tight or loose depending on the effect you’re going for. You can see the difference in the right photo below.

See what I mean by “slithers like a snake”? Vary the tension that slides under the back stitch to make it tight like the left side of this example. Or keep it loose similar to the right side of the example.

Back Stitch Variation 3: Double Threaded Back Stitch

Now that you know how to create the threaded back stitch the double threaded back stitch should be easy! Basically, the steps to creating your threaded back stitch are done twice; once on each side of your back stitch.

Stitch the threaded back stitch which we did earlier.

Then add a second threaded back stitch at the beginning of your back stitch and slide your needle under your 1st back stitch just as before.

This time, your second threaded stitch will be created on the other side of your back stitch.

Since I started my 1st threaded stitch by sliding my needle through from the top I’ll start this one from the bottom.

Once you’re done you’ll end up with something like these:

By playing with the tension you can create a nice tight grouping or you can be more whimsical with a loose configuration like the one on the right.

Back Stitch Variation 4: Pekinese Stitch

This next back stitch variation is super cute but it does take a little extra time to create. We’re going to dive into the pekinese stitch.

  • Come up to the top of your fabric just a little below the beginning of your back stitch.
  • Skip your first back stitch and slide your needle and thread under your second back stitch.
  • Pull through but keep it a little bit loose at the bottom.

Now return to the bottom side of your back stitch by sliding your needle and thread under your first stitch. Make sure your needle is above the thread below.

Pull through gently as you’ll be forming a little loopy-loop. You can use your fingers to hold your thread down at the top to keep things from moving too much as you go.

Let’s make another one! Slide your needle and thread under the 3rd back stitch & gently pull through. Again, you can hold down the first loopy-loop with your fingers so it doesn’t move as you do this.

Slide your needle and thread under your second back stitch (needle should be above your thread below). Hold down your previous loopy-loop then pull your thread through gently.

Repeat these steps until you’ve reached the end.

You may need to adjust your little loops as you go, especially if the back stitch you laid down is a bit loose. Just use your needle to push things around if you need to.

When you’re finished it will look something like this:

Isn’t that fun? When you end this stitch you’ll probably want it to match the beginning so just return to the back slightly below the end of your back stitch.

Back Stitch Variation 5: Interlaced Back Stitch

The last back stitch variation to cover is the interlaced back stitch and this one requires 2 rows of back stitches laid out parallel to each other.

  • Start by coming up to the top of your fabric at the beginning of your bottom row.
  • Slide your needle up through the 1st stitch in both rows, then pull your thread through.

Then slide your needle through the 2nd back stitch in both rows and pull your thread through.

Continue weaving back and forth until you reach the end.

The steps of the interlaced back stitch is a lot like your threaded back stitch with the only real difference being that here you’re using two rows.

Well, I hope you found this tutorial for the handful of back stitch variations useful. Taking a little extra time to ‘dress’ the back stitch up a bit can add a bit of extra character to an embroidery work and it can be used to add a little design element to clothing and accessories if you really want to get creative! I’d love to see your creative works where these stitches can come in handy!

Back Stitch Variations Video Tutorial

Now that you’ve had a chance to follow along with me through the 5 back stitch variations, here’s a video tutorial just for you:


Thank you as always for following along!

❤️ Happy stitching!

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5 Easy Back Stitch Variations: whipped back stitch, threaded back stitch, double threaded back stitch, pekinese stitch, and the interlaced back stitch

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