Learn the Backstitch

January 9, 2012 at 11:00 AM Leave a comment

Hand Embroidery using the Backstitch


DIY Felt Pillow


Here is a cute & simple little project that you can use to work on learning new hand stitches. Even the little ones in your house can do this one with your supervision. It makes for a great quiet activity and keeps little hands busy. In case you were wondering, this activity is also great for building eye-hand coordination and strengthening those fine motor skills.

The tools needed for this activity:

  • Pinking Shears
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Pattern/Template
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Embroidery Floss
  • 2-8½ X 11 Pieces of Craft Felt
  • Batting
  • Sewing Machine (optional)

First, let’s dive into the backstitch, itself:

Give yourself a length of embroidery floss not more than 18 inches, and knot it off at the end. (I’ve used a double strand to make it easier for you to see what I am doing.)

Next, come up from the bottom side of the fabric a full stitch length ahead of where you actually want to begin.

Then, re-enter the fabric {back} where you originally wanted the stitching to begin…

…and pass the needle underneath to come up a full stitch length past where the knot was placed.

Now, re-enter the fabric from the top side {back} at the position where the knot is.

Again, pass the needle through the fabric and a full stitch length past where you came up last time.

Now, re-enter the fabric {back} where the prior stitch came through.

Continue to repeat this process until you have accomplished your goal.

Pass the thread through to the back side of the project and knot it off.

Now onto a way in which we can use this lovely and simple stitch! Use a piece of paper to create a template or pattern for your pillow.

(I cut a heart out of notebook paper, but you can probably Google just about any simple image and adjust its size in your printer’s dialog.)

Mark around the very edges of your template using pins in order to give you the ability to eyeball your stitching placement.

I knew that I wanted to stitch the word “LOVE,” so I folded my pattern piece in half in order to give me a straight line to draft the word upon.

With my sizing and spacing figured out, I wrote directly on the felt above my sample writing on the paper.

Through the top layer only, I began my backstitching.

There are lots of ways to do this: You can use a grid to help you with stitch consistency by marking where your stitches should begin. There is a fabulous product out there called Tiger Tape that Quilters use for stitch consistency. You could use a ruler. You could just follow the lines that you drew and try to keep your stitches the same length. I chose the plastic grid that I had handy.

*Stitch Consistency is keeping your stitches all the same length, tension, and same distance apart from each other.*

This is very hard to achieve by hand, however not impossible with much practice.

Using my grid for uniformity, I darkened where every other hole in the grid lined up. Then, I began my backstitch, as shown before, from the underside of the fabric one stitch ahead of where I actually wanted to begin.





Now that you’re finished with the hand embroidery, layer the two pieces of felt together, replace the pattern & move the pins to secure the pattern piece in place. Using pinking shears, cut around the outside of the pattern, leaving about an inch of space between the cut line and the pattern.

With your machine (optional) you can stitch around the perimeter of the pattern piece. If you’re really ambitious, you could just backstitch the perimeter. Remember to leave an opening in order to stuff this cute pillow. Then, simply close it with whatever means you chose to sew the perimeter.

You’ve done it! What an adorable way to practice your hand stitches! This would make a great teacher gift for Valentine’s Day, pet toy, doll cradle decoration, or seasonal decoration. Make three different hearts for Valentine’s conversation hearts as a table centerpiece. Do you have a special neighbor or friend? Is there a nursing home or rehab center nearby? This could really make someone’s day!

With whatever pattern you choose, and whatever word(s) or shape(s) you add, may you truly enjoy the process. Have fun!


Jen & Dee

Backstitch w/ModestyMatters.net


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Entry filed under: DIY, Girls, Girly / For Girls, Handmade, Home Life, Ladies, Patterns, Sewing, Simple.

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