Using split back stitch to follow a curve

Updated: Apr 18

Split back stitch is a great way to follow a curve in hand embroidery, whether you're stitching a line drawing, outlining another portion of your design, or even stitching hand lettering!

I've written out and included photos for the steps to split back stitch here. Please note that I'm only demonstrating the stitch itself in these photos, with just a few stitches. I've also included a video tutorial at the end of this post, where you can see a curve in action!

Step 1: Pull your floss through your hoop.

Step 2: Bring your needle back down any distance.

Tip: You may want to try to keep this distance pretty consistent as you follow your line, if you're going for a consistent "look"; but, as I always say: there are no rules in embroidery, only preferences, so if you're not interested in consistency, ignore that tip!

Step 3: Bring your needle back up the same distance (see "tip" above).

Step 4: Bring your needle back down through your last stitch, splitting it in half. That's where this stitch gets its name: as you bring your needle back, you split your last stitch!

Step 5: Once you've finished your line, you'll need to end your stitch. To do this, start by bringing your needle through your last hole.

Step 6: Split your last stitch.

Step 7: Admire your work!

Here's a video tutorial where I demonstrate using split back stitch to follow a curve:

I hope this tutorial was helpful for you, and that you feel more confident in following curves!

Looking for inspiration, ideas, and guidance? Check out my available kits! Looking for supplies? I have those, too!