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Backstitch Embroidery Tutorial [+ Learn 2 Fun Variations!]

The backstitch is one of the most common embroidery stitches out there, but did you know there are other stitches that build off of it and make it look fancy? First, I’ll be going over how to do a basic embroidery back stitch, and then we’ll get into two of the more fun and fancy stitches that are in the backstitch family: the Pekinese stitch, and a whipped backstitch.

This post is one of many embroidery stitch tutorials

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To practice this stitch, you’ll need;

How To Do A Back Stitch

how to do a back stitch
  1. Come up through the back of the fabric
  2. Go back down through the fabric a little bit past where you came up initially, making a straight stitch.
  3. Skip ahead and come up through the fabric again, about the same length as the first stitch you made.
  4. Go back down right where the last stitch you made ends.
  5. Repeat the desired length.

You can make these back stitches as long or short as you want. If you are making a curved line, it is more beneficial to shorten the stitch because it makes the curved line a bit more smooth-looking.

Whipped Backstitch

whipped backstitch tutorial

The whipped backstitch is a fun and easy variation of the basic backstitch. The end result is a twisted, rope-like line of stitches. (This stitch also makes for a great-looking candy cane!)

This is a decorative stitch that normally uses two different colors of thread. It is helpful to complete this stitch with a tapestry needle (blunt needle) because it prevents your stitches from being snagged when you are completing the stitches with the second color.

  1. Make a line of back stitches.
  2. Using a contrasting color, come up next to one side of the back stitches you created.
  3. Cross over with your thread and place your needle underneath the first stitch you created.
  4. Pull the thread through, and continue crossing over and whipping or wrapping the thread through each backstitch.

Pekinese Stitch

pekinese stitch tutorial

The Pekinese stitch is another variation of the backstitch that is great for decorative borders.

This stitch is also easiest to use with a tapestry needle and looks best with two contrasting colors.

  1. Make a row of back stitches.
  2. With the second contrasting color of thread, come up through the fabric slightly below the line of back stitches.
  3. Skipping the first backstitch, place your needle underneath the second backstitch you made and pull through.
  4. Come back down underneath the first backstitch, and over top of the stitch you just created, leaving a slightly loose loop.
  5. Repeat the process, this time bringing your needle underneath the third stitch and then down through the second stitch.

Practice the Back Stitch

Simple Watercolor Pattern

The pattern above uses the basic backstitch along with an optional watercolor part. As you can see, this stitch is very versatile and you can use it to complete an entire embroidery if you wanted to!

Various backstitch embroidery stitches: the pekinese stitch and the whipped backstitch.