Backstitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches

Backstitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches

A straight and a wavy line of backstitches.
A straight and a wavy line of backstitches.️



Backstitch aka: Hem Stitch




Flat Solid-line


blackwork basic cross-stitch crewelwork canvaswork surface


Embellishment Filling in Grass Leaves Stems

Watch this video on YouTube.


The Backstitch is characterized by its backward motion of the thread, hence its name, and it handles curves adeptly. With no gaps between stitches, it presents a seamless appearance and, like the Running Stitch, serves as a base for various adaptations.

Ideal for securing seams, the Backstitch boasts exceptional strength, often substituting for machine stitching when necessary. Though it consumes more thread compared to the standard Running Stitch, its robustness is unmatched. Employing small, consistent stitches enhances its aesthetic appeal, with stitch length often dictated by the pattern size; smaller patterns necessitate shorter stitches than larger ones.

Step 1
Decide how long you want your stitches to be and bring the needle up on the design line that distance from the start. Insert the needle through the fabric at the start of the line to make the first stitch.
Step 2
Continue along the line, bringing the needle up at the desired stitch length from the first stitch.
Step 3
Take the needle down into the fabric at the end of the previous stitch.
Step 4
Continue along the line to the end.


The historical roots of the Backstitch are challenging to pinpoint. While the earliest confirmed instances date back to English Jacobean crewel work in the 16th century, its origins likely predate this period.

In Portuguese Guimarães whitework, which traces back to the 10th century, Backstitch is now among its repertoire of stitches, although its original inclusion remains uncertain. Similarly, both Chikan embroidery from India (popularized in the 19th century but with earlier origins) and Rabari embroidery (practiced by the nomadic Rabari people for adorning garment seams) utilize Backstitch, yet the precise origins of these techniques are obscure.

In the Middle East, Backstitch adorned indigo-dyed garments in Jebel Haraz, Yemen, while by the first half of the 20th century, Syrian women in Aleppo were employing it in monochrome counted thread embroidery to embellish their future husbands' attire.


Here are some projects you can complete that include this stitch!

Reference: RSN Stitchbank

Running Stitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches
Blanket Stitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches

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Hi, I'm Kate 👋

About the author

In a previous life (AKA: pre-kids), I was a web des/dev & photographer who loved to dabble in numerous arts and crafts. Now, I'm a cross-stitch & embroidery pattern designer and full-time mum to Charlie & Alex, with adult-diagnosed ADHD. Closet nerd, self-proclaimed hermit and professional procrastinator. I have a secret crush on modern architecture, brush calligraphy, sweets, pretty nails and pastel colours.

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