Sometimes you look at a pattern that has a lot of backstitch and you’re like “ohhh noooo, what did I sign myself up for?” Particularly if the backstitch doesn’t follow the exact colours or outlines of shapes, it can seem hard to know where to start. The tutorial video below will show you some backstitch techniques to help you conquer your next project, and even enjoy it. 🙂
In this image (demonstrated in the video below), you can see the highlighted points of where the backstitch lines cross the pattern grid. Marking your pattern (either using a highlighter on a paper copy, or using a PDF markup app) can make following your backstitch lines easier. As you can see from the image below (from the Joust Another Anniversary pattern), the lines do look much straighter to the eye when viewed.
Quick backstitch techniques and tips:
- Mark up your pattern as shown above if it’s easier for you to follow
- Experiment and see if you prefer breaking up longer runs into shorter runs of backstitch
- Don’t worry if backstitch seems to go “off” the pattern and away from the colour divides — not all designers will put backstitch directly on the colour demarcations
- Use a sharper needle if you’re having a hard time piercing the centre of Aida for longer runs, or if your piece is quite thick at the back from many crossed threads
- Experiment with different weights of backstitch. Most patterns will indicate how many strands to use, but it’s ok to experiment and see what looks best to you.
- Don’t let backstitch scare you, it’s literally a half cross stitch with navigational issues. Backstitch is usually the end of a project (unless there are beads to be added), and it goes much faster than stitching the main project.
Backstitch techniques tutorial