Intermediate Cross Stitch: Backstitch Like a Boss | Dana Batho | Skillshare

Intermediate Cross Stitch: Backstitch Like a Boss

Dana Batho, Peacock & Fig Cross Stitch & Embroidery

Intermediate Cross Stitch: Backstitch Like a Boss

Dana Batho, Peacock & Fig Cross Stitch & Embroidery

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8 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Class Overview

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. What is Backstitch?

    • 4. Tips Before Backstitching

    • 5. Reading the Pattern

    • 6. Short Runs

    • 7. Long Runs

    • 8. Final Words

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About This Class

Have you always been intimidated by backstitch, or you're not even sure where to start with it? Learn how to backstitch like a boss with this pretty "Joy" cross stitch hoop with Dana Batho of Peacock & Fig.


You'll get a quick review of how to cross stitch, as well as learning what backstitch is, how to read it on your pattern, as well as how to do short and long runs of backstitch. Backstitch is a fundamental skill for cross stitchers, and is found in many beginner patterns and most intermediate cross stitch patterns.


Now you can finally learn how to tackle almost any cross stitch pattern, and stitch up this lovely cross stitch hoop in the process. The PDF pattern is included in the class. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Dana Batho

Peacock & Fig Cross Stitch & Embroidery


Hi there! I'm Dana Batho, designer and founder of Peacock & Fig! 

I’m well known for my easy to follow tutorials and fun colourful cross stitch and hand embroidery patterns (and sometimes quite snarky designs). My patterns have been featured in Cross Stitch Crazy magazine, Just CrossStitch Magazine, on, and I’m also a regular designer for XStitch Magazine. My tutorials have been featured on sites like BuzzFeed and Hello Giggles, and they have had millions of views online.

I've been creating art my entire life, and did four years of art and design training in New Zealand. I returned to my art and craft life after an injury while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces forced me to leave that career path. Through that experience I learned how calming st... See full profile

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1. Class Overview: Hi there. I'm Donna Bath. Oh, if this is your first class with me, I'm the owner and designer of Peacock and think in this class to be learning how to create this pretty cross. Such who project. It's using full cross stitches and back stitch. So if you're brand new to cross stitch, I'd recommend starting with the love crossed IQ Project first that's taught in the intro class. I'll briefly go over basic cross stitch in this lesson, as well as teaching you how to do back stitch, including longer runs of back stitch. So I hope you enjoy the class and I can't wait to see your finish Hoop in the class Project Gallery. Let's get started. 2. Materials: So in this quick lesson, I'm going to be going over some of your materials. So if you're new to cross stitch or you haven't done it for a while, you might want to go through the materials video on the Beginners Cross Stitch class, which is called cross stitch Fundamentals that your own who part that will actually have a bit more detailed description of the materials you're going to need for the specific class . Obviously, your patterns going to be the French and your flaws colored you're going to need are going to be different. So I printed off the last four pages of the pattern I haven't printed off the cover page. You don't really need that for stitching part. You can if you want to use it as a reference. So I've got the color page here. The color symbols. You could see all the color numbers down here match up with the color numbers on my bobbins . I bobbin ate my flaws because it makes it easier to handle color page got a black and white symbol page, in case you have, like color blindness issues, or you just prefer the black and white one got the color key here. You can see here there's a special note about the back stitch using one strand, whereas the rest of the main colors were using two strands for the main part of the stitching, and I'll explain that in a minute, and then we got a threat disorder. So again, if you've never used one of these, you can just punch holes in the side and then thread your flaws through them as you're using it. If you want to do that, you can also imagine card to make it a little bit stiffer. All right, so in the next video, I'm going to be teaching you some basics of what back stitches and why it's used. 3. What is Backstitch?: right. So in this little mini lesson, I'm gonna be teaching you what back such, actually is. It's basically an outline stitch. It's used to give fine details to a pattern such as whiskers, folds in clothing, etcetera. It's often done in a dark color. You can see in this photograph here of my that's what she said. Pattern. You can see what difference of detail makes in the back stitch and as well in so much. Nope. Pattern. You can see the top part of the image has back stitch not done yet, and then the bottom part has a backstage done so you can see it really defines the shapes and the details in the images. So I put links of both those patterns to if you want to check them out and see what they look like finished in the class resources list. Some people don't like stitching back such, but I've never really understood that, as it's like 1/2 cross stitch with navigational issues. As I like to say it, it goes a lot faster than your main stitching, and it really does bring out the details on it usually means you're almost on your pattern . So in the next lesson, I'm going to show you some chips that you're going to need to know before you start practicing your back Such 4. Tips Before Backstitching: All right. So some tips you're going to need to know before you start your back stitching the main one is do your main cross stitch first. So if you like. I said, if you haven't done a cross section a while, then you might want to go back that beginners tutorial that's in my skill share account. Otherwise, you congee just jump straight in so you can see here the back. Such lines actually cover the main cross stitch. That's where wanting to do your main cross stitch first. So, for example, you can do, uh, like the purple rose, all the purple colors in it and the darker center. And then you can do the back, sits on top of that if you want, and then move on to say the leaf. But it's Some people find it easier to do the whole pattern first, because, especially if you've got connecting areas like where the back such covers both the purple rose and a bit of the leaf. Sometimes, if you only stitch each element of the time and then back stitch it, I can get a little bit tricky and you're kind of having, you know, we've your main cross stitch underneath backs that you've already stitched in. This is kind of a pain, so I prefer personally to do all of the main city first and then tackle the back stitch and you can also see here I'm gonna zoom in a little bit. Sometimes the back such lines will cover the symbol in the pattern, so that's totally normal. That's going to happen. I mean, obviously, if you're drawing lines across a symbol, sometimes you know you can't see. The symbol is clearly so. What you're gonna be wanting to do is if it's hard for you to tell which color it is. In this case, you can match the color of seconds. OK, that's the darker purple, so it's fine. Or you can still see a little bit of the symbol peeking out underneath the line as well. So that's one way to tell and honestly, like it was a really detailed pattern. And there's like a ton of back stitch around, and your symbol is covered by beating by maybe two lines of back stitch. You could just basically such any of the neighbouring colors in that because if it's covered by that much back stitch. It's unlikely you're going to see that color really well defined anyway in the finished product. Also, some people some designers have Facebook groups as well. Like mine is linked in my bio on skill share. So if there was, if there's ever a stitch in a pattern, you're not sure what the underlying color is like. It's making you bump bananas and you can't figure it out. You know, feel free to take a photo of that little section of the chart like not the full chart, because that breaches copyright. But take a little section of the chart, take a photograph of it and put it in the group, or directly email the designer and with the screenshot or the photograph and just be like, I don't understand what color is this supposed to be? And then they'll help you out. So again, what I'm gonna be doing is I'm gonna teach you the backstage in this video, but just to start you off in case you a little bit rusty with your cross stitch, it was gonna quickly show you, um, how to start off your pattern. So again, you're wanting to start your do your main crosses first. So in the center of this pattern being elite method here, which is also covered in the cross, that fundamentals class, which is fantastic. So you're basically folding your flaws in half, creating a loop, feeding your leaks through the eye of your needle through the loops longer than your ends and then going into the center. So in this pattern here, you can see that the red line here it's a little bit faint on this print out the red line here and the red line here, that's a center. So the center of this pattern is right there and again. You can use highlighters that this is easier for you, so I'm just gonna stitch a few of the stitches, seek and see how I find my center in case again. It's been a while since you've done it, and then I'll show you the backstretch portion of it once we finish that up. So I'm just eyeballing this. Here's roughly the center there. It's gonna be a little bit more whole. So again, with leap method drop down, you can do this from the back is while I just find it easier for demonstration to do it from the front and then catch you loop bam! And then you can just pull you that little section of the back. All right, so where we started from Waas here. So 123456789 And on the eighth, there's one off the edge was going to do regular English. Cross the churches during each stitch at a time again in the, uh, cross such fundamentals class, you'll be able to see that the two different varieties of doing you're actually forming your cross stitch is whether it's doing them fully at once or whether it's doing half and then coming down and doing the other half if you've got, like, a big row of them. So this is the English method, and the other way is called the Danish Method, and I don't know why each has specific name. I'm gonna show you a trick in a moment. True, that might make it easier for you to tie off your ends in the back, - right ? So that's the last of the ninth. So I've just done this little section here from the center line up. It's the top edge there. So it's just a one call, and I'm not gonna continue doing that because you can do that on your own. But one little trick. I'm gonna show you quickly before I jump into the back stitch, because this pattern does go quite close to the edge of the hoop. If you're using a four inch hoop, you can use a bigger hoop and you'll have seen you bigger fabric. But because it does go private close to the edge of the hoop, Sometimes people find it easier to do what's called stitching in the ditch, and that makes it actually a lot easier to finish off your your threads of the back without your needle slamming into your hoop so you can see I've got it mounted like this with the inner hoop on the bottom. You can do that in reverse as well. It's called Sitting in the dirt. She klier inter Hoop Top. So because this is already kind molded to the fabric, it might be a little tricky. But make sure to catch my needle. This is what's called stitching in the ditch. She's gonna briefly demonstrate this is not centered, obviously, in the fabric, but you'll get an idea so they're going to tighten your hoop up as normal and what that does, especially for the smaller hoop it actually makes. It's less likely that you're gonna get the top surface of your fabric dirty from your hands , like your hands always have oils on them like that's just the way it is. I mean, you can't do it. Doesn't matter how much you wash your hands. You're gonna get oils onto your flaws and fabric. It's totally inevitable. But this way, you know you're you're less like you're not touching the fabric quite as much. And also, when you flip your piece over to finish off your threads of the bag, let's say you wanna just went off, running it under a couple of threads. This way. In this way, you can see that there's no hoop in your way, blocking the path of your needle. It's a heck of a lot easier to access your back, so that's called stitching in the ditch. Oh, that's a good little trick for you. So in the next video, I'm going to be teaching you how to actually do the back stitch. Once you've done your main stitching. So what I recommend is doing all of your main stitching like all of your main crosses. So everything, except for the darker lines, which is lost. Number 844 It's kind of like a charcoal brown. So do all of your main stitching again if you haven't followed across its pattern. And while please go back to the across the fundamentals class and check that out. And yes, so I will see you once you finished all your main stitching. 5. Reading the Pattern: all right. Before we jump into the back seat, you can see I finished my cute little pattern here so you can see it's obviously very similar, but it's missing all of that beautiful detail with the line work. So when you're looking at your pattern, you'll obviously notice the darker lines on the pattern or your back stitch there, Actually, in my patterns, anyway, they're darker than the main grid lines, that which makes it a little bit easier to follow when you're following your printed pattern, or even the one if you're using a PdF version of this. So in this case, the line is black on the charge. Even though the threat itself is like a really dark brown, it's basically just printed as black. Quite often, charts will have more than one color back stitch, and I will show you that with the color key. So in this case you can see which color it is. It's the back stitch. How many strands who's normally using two strands on 14 counts? Fabric? Uh, if there's more than one color, you'll see that indicated like, say, if this purple was also a backstage line, you would also see that indicated in this pattern again. If you have any questions, please contact the designer because they'll be able to help you out in my patterns. Specifically, they will be printed in the color of the back steps. So if there were purple back, such lines say around joy. Then they would actually printed on this pattern in purple just to make it easier to follow . One thing they noticed, too. It is sometimes the backstretch lines go around quite evenly. Like this was going diagonally across a stitch, going across the top of each stage diagonally across, so that sometimes they go over quite evenly. So it's like one square, one square, one square, even if it's just diagonally one square. But then sometimes you'll see what is this protocol? Shorter runs of back stitch and then centers longer runs so you can see this one here. It starts at this corner of the grid here, and that goes up one and over four to here. So you're not going up 1/1 up, 1/1, like like these ones here. So what I'm gonna be doing in the next lesson is teaching 100 due to short runs first. Ah, lot of cross that designers only design using short runs, so it makes it easier. Some, like myself, do use longer runs. It makes the lines a lot more graceful. This will make for flow easier in the design. But I will show you that in a moment. So in the next lesson, I'm gonna show you how to do these shorter runs of back stitch. So we're gonna be starting here on this little rose here. 6. Short Runs: Alright, So I've got one strand of the DMC 844 which is what your pattern says to use for your back Such I'm gonna show you a really super cool notch that it's called. The quota is not. And I learned this recently in a class I did with Kate Barlow, who is a teacher from the Royal School of Meal. Work her. She's an amazing teacher. I've seen this not before, but I've never actually tried it until I took her class. So what you're gonna do is you got your friend got your and your thread. You're gonna point your needle out. You gonna grab the end of your thread with your between us. I mean your fingertips. You just wrap two or three times about three times. Grab that with your other fingers racist, squishing the thread between your needle, and then you're just gonna draw your needle through and keep holding it until you get right to the end. There perfect little notch. So this is a super handy not to know if you are using metallic threads which sometimes don't like nodding up very easily or if you are using maybe thicker threads that you're having a hard time nodding. So it's a really, really handy not school quilters. Not. So what I'm gonna be doing is I'm gonna be starting this little section up here because these are all short runs. All right, so going to do this little section here, she can sort of follow alone. Like I said, a lot of designers do use Onley short ones when designing, particularly if their more traditional patterns so actually followed the blocky shape of of the stitches, which can look really nice. Personally, I mix up short in the long run, so I'm starting here, which is right here so you can see those three straight stitches across so the 1st 1 can come up and then drop down. Some people find it easier to do backs it with a slightly finer needle than they remain sitting with. I would still recommend a tapestry needle or like what I'm using, which is an easy guide needle sold by Self Sullivan's. Now it's got a little ball tip, so it's sort of finer than a normal tapestry needle, but it's still got the ball tip, so it's not going to split apart your flaws or your fabrics. All right, So you can see what I've done has gone up here down here, that have come up and I'm gonna go back. This is what it's called back stitch, because other than your first anchoring stitch, you're gonna go back. So again, come up stitching French and drop back down. Don't catch your threat. It's lost my needle. So the next six us are three straight stitches here the next, which is gonna be angled directly across that lighter purple stitch. So as you're doing back stitch, you can count to find your place. You can also just look at the colors and match them up with your chart, particularly if you're using the color version of the chart so you can see it's going angle down diagonally across. So again, I'm dropping my Neil down on to the far side of that back stitch and then down and same here, I'm going to keep following around. The leaf is gonna go diagonally across set break green. You can use more than the recommended strands for back such like, say, if you want a really dark line. This is quite a delicate line as its going to be stitched You want, like a really don't are darker line, then you can use two strands. But the problem with that is it sometimes will cover mawr of the underlying flaws than intended and that we can most block some of the colors from showing through seconds. You have done my top straight. One bottom straight. I'm gonna do next top straight one, and then it's gonna start angling across for peacock convict designs my designs. They the back stitch often doesn't directly follow the line of the color. Sometimes it kind of sways out or it goes way in its I call it my watercolor effect. It almost looks like pen on watercolor, which I really like, and then one warrior here. So you're basically just following that line around. What I would also recommend to is if you're doing back stitch on the whole, you can see here. There's 1234 straight stitches in a row, and sometimes I've been asked whether it's OK. There's to do one long stitch you can, but sometimes a stitch bubbles up a little bit, and so it it sort of sticks up a little bit higher than it should. So I was recommend stitching each one down individually, if you can. I want to see for longer runs. You're not gonna be able to do that, but for your shorter runs where you have the option to drop it into each whole, then I would recommend doing that. All right, upto 4th 1 here, you can see. Even now, it's starting to really define the shape of that leaf, All right. And then I'm gonna do this one little diagnose stitch up here across the purple, and then the lower one and down, down, and then we're gonna go out towards the little But so this one is 41234 straight stitches. So sometimes people have to have a really long run of straight. Such a sometimes will be tempted to kind of do this stitch and then say, Do this stitch and then do the next one and then come back the other way. Almost like running stitch. It's called. It's called Doing a Journey. If you do any black work like where you go out and you come back along the same path, um, the only promised during that with back stitch is it can make your lines a little wobbly. I don't know what it is. I think it's just angle that you're putting your Neil in going the different directions so your line can actually look like it's wavering. So I would actually recommend not doing that and just keep going out the same direction than if you need cheap and snip your thread if you're gonna end up carrying it too far. All right, so last one. All right, so that's the last one of our short run, and then we're gonna get into the longer run stitches. So I'm gonna cover that in the next video and just give you a few tips and tricks about how to a handle those and make them easier for you to follow. 7. Long Runs: all right. So protecting longer runs the reason. As I was saying, the reason that I personally designed with longer runs a back stitches to make the lines flow easier and make them less blocky, it could be used to create quite delicate curves in a short amount of space. So some people have a hard time with longer runs, it is. Can't quite figure out where they're supposed to put their stitches down. So you can, uh, do this. I've got a highlighter here, so I'm not gonna actually mark my pattern. So I'm gonna be using this again. But what you can do is you can actually mark on your grid. You can mark where your line starts, and then you can follow the line up and you'll see it cross a grid line at some point, like perfectly right at the grid line that the air section of the grid lines taken. Do another dot there 2nd 1 dot here one dot there, same thing one dot there, and that makes it a lot easier to actually figure out. OK, am I going up three and over one or up one and over four. So makes a lot easier for you to follow. So if you need to get out your handy highlighter and mark up your pattern, you can also do it in pencil If you want to keep your pattern looking nice and can erase it later just to make it easier when you're first starting eventually you'll be able to dislike the eyeball it and be like OK, and then just do each little section of the line at a time like you're obviously not gonna memorize six wrote strands of back such all at once. Just do one at a time. So for this one here it iss 1234 across and one up. So that's how I actually personally count in my head. So I've got the base of my line here. We're gonna go one, 23 for across right 1234 across and one up. Another way you can double check to is like this is crossing directly above the corner of that green one, which it is. So it's another way to check and again you're gonna go back, come up and then drop back down in my designs, I usually do maybe maximum about five. The longer ones you can alternate back and forward just because they are a bit longer anyway. So in this case, it's 123 across and one up to get to the center and you'll see it will land in the center anyway, So it's a good way of double checking. So 123 across and one up I am, that's it. And then you just go back to doing your normal back stitch around the edge of that little bud. So it's pretty much as faras the longer runs. You just have to be very careful counting, and sometimes you might not be able to tell exactly which grid Align appears. And especially there's like a bunch of back stitch lines that are also converging at one point. Just do the best you can, like honestly, unless you're like three centimeters away from the the pattern. At the same time that you're three centimeters away from the actual finished project, you're not going to know that you were like a grid line off or something like that. It's fine entire point of stitching. It's to relax and enjoy yourself, so I'm gonna keep working on this you can see here that once I finish this, then depending on the thickness of your fabric, you can sometimes jump across at the back and start working down here. Or I would actually tie off and then start again here and work down. It's always best to follow your back stitch, like especially for something like this is going out across empty space. I would start where it's the most obvious place and work out towards the sort of the more remote regions. Shall I say I was gonna finish this off time I throw up, you can see I flipped my hoop over to being stitching on top of the fabric rather than the stitch in the ditch technique. So this time at all Second See, that's why the stitching addiction can be quite a useful little technique. Because you can not have to worry about bashing your needle up against the back of your hoop, Rick. So I'm gonna keep going with this, and I hope you do, too. And, uh, you're gonna I really think you're gonna really enjoy how this comes up. Like Like I said, I don't know why some people just don't like doing back such. But I love it. I think it really ties old project together. I think it makes it look super pretty and really finishes off. And also, if you don't know how to finish off the back of your hoop, then please go to the the beginners embroidery class and see the finishing the hoop lesson . And that will actually teach you how to trim this all up. How to gather your fabric in. And then how? Toe seal the back off with a circle of felt. I can't wait to see your finished projects. 8. Final Words: e. I hope you enjoyed learning how to create your puke Crossed it. Hope if this was your first time using back stitch. Congratulations. It's a good skill to master. I'd love to see your work and see how you went with the pattern. So please post photos of your who below and across Project Gallery. I just adore seeing everybody's finished projects. And if you have any questions about your project, feel free to ask happy stitching.