Back stitch

Back stitch is arguably the most important stitch for a brand new stitcher to learn. Not only is it a versatile stitch on its own (for example, some well-known stitchers use ONLY back stitch for their work!), but it also forms the foundation for so many other stitches! What's more, it's a great place to start if you're a new stitcher - if you can draw something, you can stitch it with back stitch.

I've written out the basic steps of back stitch here, and I've included a video tutorial below to help you really understand it's versatility by modifying it to fit different needs.


  • Start by bringing your needle up through your fabric.

  • Bring your needle down any length - you'll want to maintain this length for each stitch.

  • Bring your needle back up the same distance/length as that first stitch.

  • Bring your needle back down through the hole created by that initial stitch.

  • Repeat until you're finished stitching that particular line!


You can change the look and feel of your back stitches by modifying how many strands of floss you use and/or by changing the length of your stitches. For example, in the photo below you can see that for larger yellow circle on the left, I used all six strands and a medium stitch length; for the smaller green circle at the bottom right, I used just two strands and kept my stitch length very short.

Although there are NO rules in hand embroidery, I do typically recommend that you choose fewer strands and shorter stitches the tighter your curve. That said, if you want to stitch chunky tiny circles, stitch chunky tiny circles! Don't worry about what's "right" or "wrong."

Here's a video tutorial where I show this stitch in action in real time:

Looking to practice your embroidery skills? I have loads of kits and patterns available in my shop! Already have all the supplies and patterns you need, but want to treat yourself to something special? Check out these cute embroidery scissors - they make a great gift, too!