Do You Backstitch?

What's Your Style

This is the eleventh entry in my series called What’s Your Style? In our everyday lives, we all have our own way of doing things; quilters are no exception to this trait. Even though there are standardized techniques to follow, when creating items with fabric, many of us choose to do our own thing. This series explores those individual habits. Let’s see what today’s question is.

When stitching a seam on a sewing machine a quilter has the option to secure the seam both at the beginning and at the end by backstitching. The backstitching helps to keep the seam from opening up.

Today’s question is:

Do you backstitch your seams? Why or Why Not?

This is my response:

Being a longarm quilter I am acutely aware of the need for backstitching. When a quilt is loaded on a longarm quilt machine the top and bottom edges are secured in place using pins, clamps or a basting stitch. These techniques help to keep seams from opening up.

The seams on the left and right edges are not typically secured. In this instance it would be a great idea to make certain the seams have been backstitched. If the seams are not backstitched they have a tendency to pull apart. Another option is add a row of stitching a scant 1/4” in from the edge all the way around the quilt top and backing. This too will prevent seams from pulling apart.

For my own projects this is my methodology:

  1. If I’m stitching an item that I know will not be cut into smaller sections I usually backstitch both at the beginning and at the end of the seam.
  2. If I’m stitching a seam that will be exposed at the outer edge of my finished project I  will do backstitching.

Now it’s your turn to share your opinion by adding a comment.

  • Don’t be bashful!
  • Nobody will judge you!
  • The quilt police will not come knocking on your door. 🙂
  • Let’s have some FUN!

Thank YOU for participating in this fun survey!

P.S. Are there questions you would like to discuss in future editions of this series, if so, share them in a comment.



19 thoughts on “Do You Backstitch?

  1. I used to backstitch everything, because that was my sewing training. However, now I don’t backstitch most things, sometimes decorative stitching, and sometimes I do what Roseanne does and shorten the stitch, especially with paper pieces that will be snapped off. It also depends on the fabric, because one I was using the other day didn’t really hold the stitching, being more loosely woven.

  2. I’m glad to read about this topic and others input about it. Sometimes when I try to back stitch my fabric gets bunched up at each end. Is this me or my machine? 😋
    I do baste around the layered quilt. And try to start stitching less than 1/4” from edge so when joining blocks it secures it.

  3. Since my medallion quilts have multiple borders, I backstitch at the beginning and end attaching each segment. And sometimes I backstitch on other units, but not as a rule. There have been a small number of quilts in my life for which I’ve also stitched an edge stitch all the way around the finished top, but that’s not typical. I quilt my own and I baste the edges all around, either as I go or first, depending on what kind of quilting I’m going to do.

    1. Melanie, It is so nice that you are able to quilt your own projects. You have so much more control over the final outcome. I enjoyed reading your reply. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. 😊

  4. I think we progress as we quilt. “Practice makes perfect!”, they say and there is a learning curve. I have no set rule, but have started noticing more and more when I need to backstitch (or not). I went in with the idea that it was not necessary because there will never be an open-ended seam. Well, you still have to handle a lot of the pieces before the quilt is finished! So, I definitely backstitch on tiny piecing. I do backstitch on quilt top piecing at the beginning and end of rows. I backstitch when I sew on my binding…not sure why! I am learning! Trust the process! Thanks, Cindy!

    1. There certainly is a learning curve. Some of us, me included, take a little longer to catch on. I often learn from the school of hard knocks. LOL! I have found that the more seams are handled the more they pull apart. If only they knew how important it is for them to stay together then they wouldn’t do the exact opposite. I do the same thing. I backstitch at the beginning and ending of rows and sometimes in between. Bindings are also where I pay special attention. Perhaps I do that because I hope the seam will outlast the quilt…who knows! I’m so glad that you stopped by today and that you added your two cents to the discussion. I really enjoy reading the thoughts of other quilters. Your participation added greatly to our forum! 😎

  5. On one of my first quilts,I realized the seams were coming apart. My friend suggested I seam around the outer edge. I started using this technique when needed. I also sometimes backstitch at the beginning and at the end. No real planning on my part.

    1. Chela, Your friend was very wise to suggest that. A row of stitching around the outside edge saves many a seam from separating. I’m so glad that you chose to voice your opinion! Your participation helped to make this discussion more interesting! 🤓

    1. Oh that is so smart of you! I know by experience that she or he really appreciates that! That simple task saves them a lot of headaches. 🙂 Thank you so much for joining in on our discussion. 😬

  6. I backstitch the outer edges of my borders because, well, just because! As I reflect on this important topic, these are the seams that usually come apart before they are quilted…at least for me!

    1. I would agree with your assessment. They are the ones that most often blow out. Darn rascals! Thank you for participating in this fun little survey! Your contribution is very much appreciated! ❤️

  7. Hi Cindy,
    I rarely backstitch. I can’t even think of a project that I last backstitched on . . . nothing comes to mind (or I might be too tired to think this morning – HAHA!). I haven’t had an issue with seams coming apart so far. I have been using a shorter stitch lately for seams so maybe that is why. I am enjoying this series! ~smile~ Roseanne

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