Backstitch or back stitch and its variants stem stitch, outline stitch and split stitch are a class of
embroideryand sewingstitches in which individual stitches are made backward to the general direction of sewing. These stitches form lines and are most often used to outline shapes or to add fine detail to an embroidered picture.
Basic backstitch is used to outline shapes in modern
cross-stitch, in Assisi embroideryand occasionally in blackwork.
A versatile and easy to work stitch, backstitch is ideal for following both smooth and complicated outlines and as a foundation row for more complex embroidery stitches such as "Herringbone ladder filling stitch". Although superficially similar to
Holbein stitch, commonly used in Blackwork embroidery, backstitch differs in the way it is worked, requiring a single journey only to complete a line of stitching.
Stem stitch is an ancient technique; surviving mantles embroidered with stem stitch by the Paracas people of
Peruare dated to the first century BCE. [Enthoven, Jacqueline: "The Creative Stitches of Embroidery", Van Norstrand Rheinhold, 1964, ISBN 0-442-22318-8, p. 65] Stem stitch is used in the Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidered cloth probably dating to the later 1070s, for lettering and to outline areas filled with couching or laid-work. [Levey, S. M. and D. King, "The Victoria and Albert Museum's Textile Collection Vol. 3: Embroidery in Britain from 1200 to 1750", Victoria and Albert Museum, 1993, ISBN 1851771263]
Split stitch in silk is characteristic of
Opus Anglicanum, an embroidery style of Medieval England. [Levey, S. M. and D. King, "The Victoria and Albert Museum's Textile Collection Vol. 3: Embroidery in Britain from 1200 to 1750", Victoria and Albert Museum, 1993, ISBN 1851771263]
Description of the technique
Backstitch is most easily worked on an
even-weavefabric, where the threads can be counted to ensure regularity, and is generally executed from right to left. The stitches are worked in a 'two steps forward, one step back' fashion, along the line to be filled, as shown in the diagram.
Neatly worked in a straight line this stitch resembles machine stitching.
Variants of backstitch include:
*Basic backstitch or "point de sable".
*Pekinese stitch, a looped interlaced backstitch
*Stem stitch, in which each stitch overlaps the previous stitch to one side, forming a twisted line of stitching, with the thread passing below the needle. It is generally used for outlining shapes and for stitching flower stemsReader's Digest "Complete Guide to Needlework". The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (March 1992). ISBN 0-89577-059-8, p. 48] and tendrils.
*Whipped stem stitch
*Outline stitch, sometimes distinguished from stem stitch in that the thread passes above rather than below the needle.
*Split stitch, in which the needle pierces the thread rather than returning to one side.
*Caulfield, S.F.A., and B.C. Saward, "The Dictionary of Needlework", 1885.
*Eaton, Jan. "Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches", Revised by Jan Eaton. London: Hodder&Stoughton, 1989. ISBN 0-340-51075-7
*Enthoven, Jacqueline: "The Creative Stitches of Embroidery", Van Norstrand Rheinhold, 1964, ISBN 0-442-22318-8
*Reader's Digest, "Complete Guide to Needlework". The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (March 1992). ISBN 0-89577-059-8
*Levey, S. M. and D. King, "The Victoria and Albert Museum's Textile Collection Vol. 3: Embroidery in Britain from 1200 to 1750", Victoria and Albert Museum, 1993, ISBN 1851771263
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Backstitch — Back stitch , v. t. To sew with backstitches; as, to backstitch a seam. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Backstitch — (Knit) A term identical with pearl, rib, seam and turn. BACKSTITCH A stitch made by carrying the thread back half the length of the preceding stitch … Dictionary of the English textile terms
Backstitch — Back stitch , n. [Back, adv. + stitch.] A stitch made by setting the needle back of the end of the last stitch, and bringing it out in front of the end. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
backstitch — [bak′stich΄] n. a stitch made by doubling the thread back on part of the previous stitch vt., vi. to sew with backstitches … English World dictionary
backstitch — 1. noun A type of sewing stitch where the stitch goes backwards on the top side of the fabric and doubles forward on the bottom, coming out farther in front, then repeats. The backstitch is a very tight and secure stitch, and also looks very neat … Wiktionary
backstitch — noun Date: 1611 a stitch sewn one stitch length backward on the front side and two stitch lengths forward on the reverse side to form a solid line of stitching on both sides • backstitch verb … New Collegiate Dictionary
backstitch — /bak stich /, n. 1. stitching or a stitch in which the thread is doubled back on the preceding stitch. v.t., v.i. 2. to sew by backstitch. [1605 15; BACK2 + STITCH1] * * * … Universalium
backstitch — noun a method of sewing with overlapping stitches. verb sew using backstitch … English new terms dictionary
backstitch — back•stitch [[t]ˈbækˌstɪtʃ[/t]] n. 1) clo stitching or a stitch in which the thread is doubled back on the preceding stitch 2) clo to sew by backstitch • Etymology: 1605–15 … From formal English to slang
backstitch — /ˈbækstɪtʃ/ (say bakstich) noun 1. stitching or a stitch in which the thread doubles back each time on the preceding stitch. –verb (i) 2. to make such stitches. –verb (t) 3. to sew by backstitch … Australian English dictionary