If you are new to embroidery, learning to sew a backstitch is important. It is a basic stitch and it can be used in nearly all embroidery projects. It has a simple and clean look to it. It is the perfect beginner stitch.
This is a very basic tutorial that you can use to learn how to sew a backstitch. I recommend you practice on a piece of scrap fabric. Once you are comfortable with how to sew a simple embroidery backstitch, you can try your hand at an easy embroidery project such as my Spring Chick Tutorial.
How to Sew a Backstitch
Place the fabric in the embroidery hoop and tighten.
Cut a length of floss. You do not need a lot, about 9-12 inches should be plenty for practice.
Thread the floss through the needle. Pull the threaded end through just about 4 inches or so. This will create two tails, a short tail and a long tail. Tie a double knot at the end of the long tail. (Note: There are other ways to create the knot but a simple double knot will suffice for a beginner project).
Determine your starting point on the fabric. For the sake of demonstration, I marked my starting point with a blue dot. From the bottom side of the hoop, poke the needle through about a fingertip distance away from the starting point.
Pull the floss all the way through. Next you will put your needle through your starting point. Once again, pull the floss all the way through, this time to the bottom of the hoop. On the top of the hoop you should have one stitch that is about the width of a fingertip.
Now you will take the needle and go a fingertip distance past where you first poked through on the bottom side of the hoop. Poke the needle up through the fabric, and once again, pull the floss all the way through.
Next, take the needle and poke it down through the exact same hole that you pushed your very first stitch through. Pull the floss all the way through. At this point you should have a chain of two connected stitches.
Continue with this pattern of going a fingertip distance past the most recent stitch on the bottom, poking the needle through to the top, and pulling the floss all the way through to the top. Then put the needle back down the hole of the stitch next to where you came up. Continue until you have completed your line of stitching.
To finish off, weave the needle through the last 3 or 4 stitches on the back side of the hoop and cut off the remaining tail of the floss.
And that is it! Sewing a backstitch is very simple and it is easy to get in a nice rhythm with it. I recommend that you practice several times. One of the most important things of all is to keep the stitch length consistent. You can take it a step further and practice simple shapes such as squares, circles, and hearts.
As you get more comfortable, try to make your stitch length smaller. A smaller stitch length will give you more control on curves and make your projects look more polished.
Once you master sewing a backstitch you are ready to try your hand at an actual pattern!