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How to Back Stitch – embroidery video

Last Updated on January 15, 2020 by wendigratz

How to Backstitch - video tutorial

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

The backstitch is probably THE most common outline stitch used in embroidery. It gives a nice, smooth, continuous line. If you’re going to be stitching tight curves make sure to use a shortish stitch length. Otherwise, just use a stitch length you’re comfortable with and try to stay consistent.

Ready to learn it? It’s easy.

With this one simple stitch you can do just about any embroidery pattern out there!

Happy stitching!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

Try my new embroidery book! Over 500 fun motifs – all embroidered using the easiest, most basic stitches. Get the book here.


  1. Anonymous SAYS...

    Hello. I’m new to cross stitching and am confused on the outline stitch the instructions are showing. It doesn’t match any of your videos. It looks like the backstich but different. You come up at “A”, go down at “B”, and come up at “C” (which is halfway between “A” and “B”). Does that make any sense? I love your videos and have learned a lot from them. Thanks for all your help!! –Tracy C.

  2. Tracy – What you’re describing sounds like split stitch (and I do have a video for that – it’s one of the outline stitches). But back when I did counted cross stitch I always used backstitch for all of my outlining. I would think that split stitch would be a little too textured for counted cross stitch – the backstitch really works with the overall geometric look of cross stitch.

  3. Anonymous SAYS...

    Thanks Wendi….I figured I would go ahead and use a regular backstitch. I just needed a pro to tell me it was okay. Thanks again for your help and for putting easy to use vidoes on your site. I must have watched fifty videos on the french knot on YouTube before you popped up and saved the day!!! –Tracy C.

  4. Pingback: Free Pattern – Flora the felt bird | Shiny Happy World

  5. Sylvia Pearson SAYS...

    I am just starting cross stitch and asked a customer at Joans about the outline stitch. She told me about your site. It was very easy to learn! I am 83 and just beginning embroidery!! Thank you for having these free lessons! Sincerely, Nana Syl

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Thanks so much!

  6. Judy Hudgins SAYS...

    How do you hold your needle to ensure that you are stitching straight up and down into felt. I thought I was doing fairly well until I had to use a Holbein Stitch (Double Running Stitch) to stitch two layers of felt together (the stitching needed to look the same on both sides). I discovered that might stitches were actually NOT straight up and down, and they absolutely needed to be. Any and all tips for this would be appreciated!
    Thanks, Judy

    • I’m a stabber. It’s a little bit slower, but I find it’s much more accurate (especially when working with felt) than always working from the top of the fabric. Many embroidery books (especially vintage ones) only have illustrations showing the stitches worked from the top of the fabric, so you may need to do a little adapting.

      • Delores Bruyette SAYS...

        I’m confused what is the head of the bunny made OF. I think its felt but it doesn’t say

        • What bunny? There’s no bunny in this video – you must have meant to comment on a different post.

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