Back stitch and whipped back stitch

We've already covered stem stitch and split stitch, and now I'd like to tell about the third commonly used line stitch – back stitch.

How to do back stitch:

When you work a back stitch, you start with a running stitch. However, you do it in the opposite direction. Usually, we bring the needle up at the starting point of a line and pull it back through the fabric at a small distance from it. Right? This time, your goal is to step a little aside from the starting point and make a running stitch, which ends in the starting point.

So, if you look at the picture below, you'll see that the points A and B switched their places, comparing to how we worked stem stitch and split stitch.

After you make this first running stitch, bring the needle back up in a C point, which is a distance of one stitch. And make a new running stitch which will finish at the start of the previous one.

Basically, it's like driving backwards. You move forward the line, but on the surface of fabric your needle is, in fact, moving backwards.

Back stitch is perfect for completing all sorts of lines and outlines. It is rarely used as a filler, but there are actually interesting ways to implement it in this way as well. For example, if you stitch few rows of back stitch tightly close, tweaking a little the starting and finishing points of stitches, you can get a “brick wall” look of your embroidery.

As for me, I rarely use solo back stitch for working lines. Simply because I tend to make my stitches smaller, so my backstitch looks more as a myriad of small dots. But I like to use back stitch jointly with whipping.

Whipping means wrapping your stitch with thread. You can do it when your line is already completed (unless you want to work with two needles simultaneously). Bring up your needle at the starting point of your line and start wrapping your backstitch in the S way, pulling your needle under each consecutive stitch.

Note: you don't need to pierce the fabric while doing that. Just pull your needle under the stitches, it shouldn't leave the surface of the fabric.

The end result looks a bit similar to stem stitch (the line to the right), but has a bit more volume, I would say. I like to use this duo of back stitch + whipping when I stitch flower stems ( in this design for example)

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