What Is The Strongest Stitch To Sew By Hand? (Plus How To Do It!)

how to sew strongest stitch by hand

What Is The Strongest Stitch To Sew By Hand?

By general consensus, the back stitch is the strongest handsewn stitch. The backstitch is fundamental for both embroidery and hand sewing. In embroidery, it’s used to create straight-lined designs or outlines beneath other solid stitches. 

When hand sewing, a backstitch is an easy-to-control seam stitch. The thread naturally doubles itself for a durable seam that closely mimics a machine stitch from the right side of the project.

If you are sewing a small project or teaching a child to sew, this and a blanket stitch for securing raveling edges are a good place to start. 

How to Make a Back Stitch

In embroidery, the backstitch is fundamental to creating or clarifying creative, complicated designs. For sewing, it becomes a stitch that doubles “back” on itself to become more durable than a simple running stitch.

1.The Right Tools for the Job

Before you begin to sew, make sure you choose the appropriate needle and thread for your fabric. If you are a beginner sewer, you may want to draw a line or lines to guide your sewing. It’s probably best to draw the lines with a fabric marker of some kind. Actual ink removable by ironing will stand up better to moving and touching the fabric for an extended period.

2.Where to Begin

A straight stitch is made from right to left by a right-handed person. Once you know where your stitching should begin, pull your knotted thread through the fabric one stitch length to the left of the end of the stitch line.

3.Finish the stitch

Once you’ve pulled the needle completely through, insert it “back” at the end of the line and draw it through again one stitch length ahead of where you first pulled the thread through. So the place where the thread first comes through the fabric will be in the center of the needle’s track beneath the cloth.

Continue making new stitches in the same way. Some like to leave a few threads between stitches, other reuse the same hole on the “back” part of the stitch. It’s up to you. Sometimes the weight of the fabric will dictate which way to go. The important thing is not to pull the stitches so tight that the fabric puckers or is damaged.

How To Make a Back Stitch With Diagram

backstitch is strongest stitch to sew by hand

Why the Backstitch?

What makes the backstitch such a strong, durable choice? Looking at the backside of the fabric will show one reason. By making the stitches with a backward stitch, the thread is thicker, adding strength by simple multiplication. 

Looking at the front side of the stitch, you can see that it looks similar to a machine stitch. There are no empty spaces either above or below the fabric. So there’s no place for fabric to become stretched or stressed by normal use along the seam line. And when the project is turned rightside out, the stitching appears without gapping or other indications of hand sewing.

There are other hand stitches that each serve their own purpose. A straight stitch is easy and faster than a backstitch, but is better purposed to temporary seams than for enduring over the long run. A straight seam is also an invisible way to finish pillow or stuffed animal edges. 

It’s also good to know at least one edging stitch to prevent raveling, such as the blanket stitch. But you can always rely on the backstitch to securely hold any seam permanently in place.

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