In this video, I demonstrate how to do backstitch, which is such a handy stitch to know. This stitch is pretty common in many cross stitch patterns and can be used in many ways and different types of embroidery. For those who have never seen it, backstitch is the black outline you see often in certain cross stitch patterns. It can also be used to outline details inside the pattern itself, such as eyes, whiskers, or lettering. It’s quite simple to do but it can take a while depending on the detail of the pattern. Backstitch can be done in any colour, but usually it’s done in black. In a pattern it’s often shown as a darker heavier line — you can see this in a portion of one of my charts below.
In this sample you can see the backstitch is indicated by a dark heavy black line (it’s even heavier than the grid lines). Backstitch can be done with one or two strands, depending on the pattern and whether you want a lighter or darker line. Sometimes it pays to experiment and see what works best with your fabric and that particular design. Often the pattern will indicate how many strands to use, but there’s nothing wrong with changing that if you want a different look. Just be aware you’ll use more floss of that colour if you decide to use two strands and the pattern indicates to use one strand.
In many of my designs and cross stitch patterns, I don’t use backstitch as I find it tends to make my drawings look more like an illustration. Most of my work is quite painterly, so that’s why many of my designs don’t use a traditional backstitch outline. However, several patterns do incorporate backstitch, particularly those in the Vintage Sass cross stitch pattern collection.
How to do backstitch
Links mentioned in the video:
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