Sewing by Hand:  Backstitch

The backstitch is one of the strongest hand sewing stitches.  It can be used to sew up a ripped seam in jeans, shorts and shirts. 

We will practice backstitching before we actually sew on our project using lined paper or the worksheet provided by Ms. Black.

On your paper draw the dots and number the dots as shown below or use the worksheet provided by Ms. Black, which already have dots.

Thread a needle and knot the end of the thread.

Backstitching is literally sewing "backwards":

Step 1:  Bring the needle from the back to the front on the dot that is labeled #2 -- don't pull too hard.  Your knot may pull through the hole because we are only using paper. 

Step 2:  Pass the needle through the dot that is labeled # 1 from the front to the back of the paper.

Step 3:  Bring the needle from the back to the front on the dot that is labeled # 3. 

Repeat Steps 1 - 3 to get to the end of the line:

The stitches on the back will be twice as long as the stitches in the front.

Try backstitching without the dots and the numbers (you won't have those on your fabric).  When you sew your hand puppet together, the backstitches need to be small and evenly spaced. 

The length of your backstitches should be approximately 8 backstitches = 1 inch.  We count stitches with a seam gauge:

You also need to know how to add more thread and tie off the previous thread.  A rule of thumb is to have about 1 1/2 inches of thread left on the back of your paper (or fabric) before you add more thread. 

Clip the thread close to the needle.  Re-thread the needle and sew the next stitch as if you haven't ran out of thread.

Tie off the old thread to the tail of the new thread by using the square knot that we learned to tie off the threads for the buttons.

Updated:  31 August 2013

by Jo Black
© 2003-2013