How to Sew a Backstitch and When to Use it

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This backstitch is an excellent way to reinforce a running stitch. It's appropriately named as it doubles back along your running stitch, doubling the binding.

This stitch has been around for thousands of years, so we definitely aren't taking credit for this technique. That said, we're more than happy to pass along tips for fundamental sewing skills whenever we can.

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While a running stitch is useful for light sewing applications, the backstitch is a little more sturdy. It can reinforce your running stitch which is great for sewing seams.

You probably need something more substantial if you expect the seam to undergo regular stress. But for casual seams, like a pillowcase, it's perfect.

First things first, you need to prep your project. Cut your sewing patterns and pin together any layers of fabric you intend to sew together. You may want to mark a line to guide your stitch.

Thread knot

Pierce your fabric at the starting point of your planned stitch. I usually stitch upwards from the underside of the project (if there is one) for the first stitch. Pull the thread until the knot hits the fabric. Be careful not to pull it through.

How to do a backstitch
  1. Pierce the fabric downwards from the top of the fabric.
  2. Sew upwards to start a running stitch. Be careful to create even stitches along the line.
  3. Alternate stitching through each side until your running stitch reaches the end of your desired backstitch seam.
  4. Stitch backward through your running stitch. Be sure to fill in the gaps between each stitch to create an even, solid line.
Finishing Backstitch

At the end of the backstitch, you should be back at the first stitch. Tie a knot and trim the excess thread and needle from your project.

And be sure to check out my other stitch guides like how to sew running stitches, whip stitches, and backstitches.