Back stitch, as the name suggests, is an outline stitch that is worked backward to the usual direction of stitching.
Back stitch is easy and can be attempted by beginners. Beginners can first try this on even weave fabric like aida before trying it on linen.
Uses of Back stitches
Back stitches are usually used to make borders and outlines. They can be used pretty much everywhere the running stitch is used except for a couple of instances. For a detailed list, please refer to 10 uses of running stitches. While the running stitch can be used to gather fabric and to temporarily baste fabric for sewing pieces of fabric together, back stitches cannot be used for these two purposes.
When two pieces of fabric are joined using back stitch, it is usually permanent and is usually a substitute for machine sewing. In fact it resembles machine stitch if done neatly (when all the stitches are the same size).
It resembles Holbein stitch or Kasuti stitch. But Holbein stitch is a reversible stitch (meaning the stitch on the right side of the fabric and back side of the fabric are the same). Back stitch on the other hand is not reversible.
Adding outline stitches to cross stitch patterns
Before and after pictures
Here is a heart that was made using half cross stitch. Scroll down to see how different this heart looks after it is outlined by back stitch.
After stitching outline with back stitch.
Back Stitch Tutorial
To stitch the back stitch, we take two steps forward and one step backward.
Come up at 1. Then go back & down at 2. And come up at 3 as shown in the image below.
( Two steps forward – 2 to 3. One step backward – 1 to 2)
It will look like this.
Go back and down at B. Come up at D.
(Two steps forward – 1 to 4. One step backward – 3 to 1)
Continue this step till the end.
Completed back stitch looks like this.