How to Hand Sew a Backstitch for Strong Durable Hand Sewing

  • 01 of 05

    What Is a Backstitch?

    Anchor the Knot
    Anchor the Knot. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    A backstitch is sewn when the stitches will not be seen on the right side of a garment or project. It is an excellent hand stitch to sew a seam because it is one of the strongest and most redundant stitches, making it very reliable.

    Note: The samples shown are sewn with contrasting thread for visibility, you would normally sew with a thread color that matches the fabric color as closely as possible.

    Materials needed

    • Fabric
    • Needle
    • Thread
    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Threading the Needle

    • Thread a needle with a piece of thread that is no longer than a yard long. Longer pieces of thread tend to get tangled and knot as you sew. As tempting as it may be to start with a long piece of thread so that you won't have to stop and re-thread the needle, you may pay for it many times over with knots. Work with the thread 18 to 24 inches long by doubling the thread at the needle area and shortening the doubled area as you sew and use up the thread.
    • Knot the ends of the threads.
    • Sew the knot...MORE in an inside area (usually a seam allowance) near where you want or need to start sewing.
    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    The First Stitch

    The First Stitch
    The First Stitch. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to
    • Push the needle into the fabric where you want to start the seam or joining two pieces of fabric.
    • Bring the needle back through both layers of fabric just in front of the previous stitch for the strongest back stitch. Stitching in this fashion will resemble a machine sewn stitch.

    Tip: The length of the stitch sewn can be adjusted for the look or effect you desire. For example, a hand-picked zipper is also sewn with a back stitch, but the length of the stitch is tiny so that it is barely visible....MORE See step four to see variations created by changing the length of the stitch sewn as you go back.

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Second Stitch

    Second Stitch
    Second Stitch. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to
    • Push the needle back into the fabric in between where the needle came in and out of the fabric to create the first stitch.
    • Bring the needle up through the fabric the same distance you came forward in creating the first stitch.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    What a Backstitch Looks Like

    What a Backstitch Looks Like
    What a Backstitch Looks Like. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Once you've sewn a distance, you will see that the threads overlap on one side of the fabric. Take your time and sew small stitches for a secure seam. A seam such as a crotch seam in a pair of tight pants requires a strong reliable seam if you don't want to expose more than should be shown. Practice a backstitch with small stitches to feel confident when you bend over in a pair of mended pants.