Embroidery How To – Backstitch

Have you ever wanted to embroider something for yourself ? Embroidery is easy and once learnt allows you to create the most beautiful and magical things. Embroidery is such a joyful way to spend time.

The flower I am currently embroidering was inspired by a water-colour I painted a few weeks ago. I love flowers and thought the water-colour would translate easily into a flower embroidery. I drew the design directly onto the cotton fabric using an water soluble markers I featured in a recent blog post. I am stitching the flower almost entirely using the backstitch. Even if you don’t want to draw your own designs there are so many beautiful designs available to you. It’s easy to begin your embroidery journey;

What you will need;

Step 1 – Materials

  • Cotton or Linen fabric. Cotton is cheaper and ideal for a beginner.
  • Cotton embroidery thread often called floss.  Two of the best brands are DMC or Anchor.
  • Embroidery Needle – fine & sharp
  • Embroidery Scissors. You can use any scissors really but embroidery scissors are smaller and easier to use.
  • Iron on embroidery transfer
  • Embroidery Hoop

Step 2 – Transfer the Design onto the Fabric

I have assumed you will be using an iron transfer to transfer your design onto the fabric. There are many embroidery designs to choose from on-line and also from your local embroidery store.  If you prefer you can transfer any design directly onto your fabric. A heat-transfer pencil lets you draw a design (in reverse) onto tracing paper and iron it directly onto fabric, like a store-bought transfer. Alternatively can use a “light table.” Make your own by balancing a piece of glass between two chairs and placing a lamp beneath the glass. Lay the design on the glass, and place the fabric over it; use a sharp dressmaker’s pencil or a disappearing-ink marker to trace the design onto the fabric.

Step 3: – The Backstitch

Place your fabric into your embroidery hoop after you have drawn or transferred your iron on transfer onto the fabric. Use your embroidery floss to start your embroidery using one of the many embroidery stitches available.

Most embroideries use the Backstitch. It’s the easiest of all stitches and one of the most versatile. Here’s how;

  1. Insert the needle from the wrong side of the fabric coming out at 1.
  2. Insert the needle at 2, pull back out at 3 and pull the thread tight.
  3. Insert the needle again at 1 and pull it out past 3 at a distance equal to the length of the previous stitches. This is the first step for the next stitch.
  4. Insert needle into 3 and continue.

I will feature more embroidery stitches in future blog posts. In the meantime I wish you many lovely and enjoyable hours as you begin your embroidery journey.

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