How to Back Stitch

  • 01 of 10

    Get Ready to Stitch a Back Stitch

    Begin the Back Stitch with a Waste Knot
    Begin the Back Stitch with a Waste Knot. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    In this lesson, you will learn how to back stitch a short line.

    To learn to stitch a back stitch line, you will need:

    • a pair of sharp scissors
    • a small embroidery hoop
    • a piece of 11-count Aida fabric large enough to overlap the hoop by a few inches
    • a short length of embroidery floss - any color
    • a size 24 tapestry needle.

    Find and mark the center of the fabric. Place the fabric in the hoop and set aside. Cut a 12 to 14 inch length of six-strand embroidery floss. Separate out two strands and thread the...MORE tapestry needle.

    When back stitching, it is helpful to start with a waste knot. Place the waste knot near the edge of the hoop. Count over two squares from the center of the fabric and bring the threaded needle up from the back of the fabric. The waste knot will keep the floss from pulling through to the front of the fabric as you stitch.

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  • 02 of 10

    Stitch the First Back Stitch

    Begin the First Back Stitch
    Begin the First Back Stitch. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Insert the needle in the hole in the Aida square that is immediately to the right of the hole you brought the floss through. See the image above for guidance. Throughout this lesson, you will move your stitching hand from the back of the fabric to the front of the fabric as needed.

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  • 03 of 10

    Begin the Second Back Stitch

    Begin the Second Back Stitch
    Begin the Second Back Stitch. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Draw the needle and floss to the back of the fabric. Insert the needle in the next empty hole to the right on the fabric and draw the needle and floss to the front of the fabric. Do not pull the stitches too tightly or leave them too loose. You will learn how much tension to put on the floss as you stitch.

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  • 04 of 10

    Complete the Second Back Stitch

    Complete the Second Back Stitch
    Complete the Second Back Stitch. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.
    Insert the needle in the hole to the left of the one you just drew the floss through to complete the first stitch. The photo shows the floss being drawn to the back of the fabric.
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  • 05 of 10

    Two Completed Back Stitches - - Where Does the Next Go?

    Two Completed Back Stitches
    Two Completed Back Stitches. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.
    The image above shows two completed back stitches. Where will the next one start in the line?
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  • 06 of 10

    Start the Third Back Stitch

    Start the Third Back Stitch
    Start the Third Back Stitch. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.
    Did you get it? Of course - start the third back stitch as shown, bringing the floss up from the back to the front of the fabric.
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  • 07 of 10

    Complete the Line of Back Stitch

    Complete a Third Back Stitch
    Complete a Third Back Stitch. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Insert the needle as indicated to complete the third stitch. You have completed a line of back stitch! You are awesome! You are on your way to making your cross stitch project even more awesome and more detailed! You are on your way to becoming a master cross stticher. Now that you have this stitch down, you can build on it and learn other more complicated stitches. That is awesome! 

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  • 08 of 10

    Lesson Two - Step One

    First Step from Lesson Two
    Lesson Two - Step One. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    This image shows the first step in How to Stitch Back Stitch - Lesson Two. See the next page for an image of the square. This may seem like a simple stitch but learning more about how to do a backstitch, the more detailed your piece will be and the more you can take your project up another notch. 

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  • 09 of 10

    Lesson Two - Learn to Stitch a Back Stitch Square

    Back Stitch Square
    Back Stitch Square. Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Now that you have learned to stitch a back stitched line, proceed to Lesson Two - Stitch a Back Stitch Square. This lesson will allow you to build on the first lesson so you can learn to write letters and other images that need a bit more detail. You can stitch smaller details with this stitch also. 

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Now You Know

     Now that you have the back stitch down you have a perfect starting point for finishing your cross stitch pieces and for adding more detail to your piece. This stitch may seem very simple but it is very crucial to your cross stitch projects. It adds dimension to the pattern and allows you to add facial features, lettering and closes up the stitching so it looks more like an actual thing then just a bunch of "x's".