Back Stitch Tutorial

hearts made with the back stitch

The Back Stitch is Super Easy!

Just like the running stitch, the back stitch one of the most basic of basic stitches and you’ll probably use it quite often. Just imagine the running stitch which is like those dashed lines you see on the highway with gaps, except with the back stitch you’ll remove those gaps and bring the stitches closer together so they’re touching. Make sense?

You’ll use it for outlines, filling in spaces, and things like lettering. When you fill in spaces with this stitch you just create your row of back stitches then create another row right next to it. You can make the stitch lengths all the same, or you lay them in a way that gives them a brick layer effect, or you can be random with their lengths for an organic approach. However you use it to fill a space it will add some lovely texture to your work.

As the name suggests, the back stitch is created by going back one stitch length to the end of the previous stitch. It’s a bit easier to explain if you pop down to the visual tutorial below. You’ll see what I mean shortly.

If you’re interested in learning a few other variation to this stitch I have a whole blog post with 5 easy tutorials. And yup, there’s a video tutorial to go with it!

Grab your threaded needle and hooped fabric, and let’s get this tutorial started.

I’ll pass along some helpful tips in the end so your stitches will look as perfect as can be. If you need a bit more visual I’ve also included a video.

Step by step Back Stitch Tutorial

The back stitch looks somewhat similar to the running stitch, except here the stitches are added touching the end of the previous stitch whereas in the running stitch you’ll notice a gap between each stitch:

comparison of the running stitch and back stitch

Start the back stitch the same way you would a running stitch, by adding one simple stitch that goes from A to B.

needle returning to the back to create a second back stitch

Come up one stitch length away, then go back to the end of your first stitch and return to the back.

hearts made with the back stitch
two back stitches on fabric

Add each stitch like this until you’re happy with the length.

comparison of the running stitch and back stitch

Tips & Tidbits

Here are some tips to help you make your back stitch look as perfect as possible.

  1. When you enter through a hole that already has thread in it, be careful that you don’t pierce through the thread which will separate it a bit and create a little bulb.
  2. Each time to you create a new stitch try your best to line it up with the previous stitch. If it’s even slightly off it’ll be noticeable. You can push your needle partly through then pull it back out. You’ll be able to see the needle hole to tell if you’re off to the side or on cetner.
  3. When using the back stitch for curves use smaller stitches which will make the curve look smoother.
  4. Take the time to correct any stitch that looks a bit wonky right away. Trying to fix it later will be difficult since you’ll have to remove stitches to do so. It’s easy to get a bit lazy about this, and I’ve been guilty of it at times, but it’ll make a different.

Take a few minutes to watch my video tutorial if you’d like!

Back Stitch Video Tutorial


Practice Makes Perfect

If you want to learn some more basic stitches take a peek at my stitches library.

Now that you know how to create a back stitch you can practice it and other basic stitches using your own pattern or my basic practice pattern which you can download free.

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