I’ve loved this stitch since it was taught to me by my mum. It’s got a lovely undulating rope-y-ness that gives a strong line without being overly showy or drawing too much attention to itself. As a result, I use it lots for outlines and borders, even text sometimes.
So your starting point is a line of backstitch.
Don’t know how to backstitch? No problem – just hop on over to this guide and you’ll be sewing away in no time at all.
It will be easier, at least in the start, if your backstitch isn’t as tight as tight as can be. Just a tiny bit of slack will make it a bit easier when you’re doing this the first one or two times.
So, start by looking at your line of backstitch.
See that very first hole where the thread comes up through the fabric, right at the start of the line of stitches? Well bring your needle up either just above that point, or through the original hole if you prefer.
Then take your needle above the first backstitch that you did and pass the needle from top to bottom under the stitch without actually piercing the fabric.
I like to think of it as a river going under a bridge, with the river being the needle and the bridge being the backstitch.
That may, or may not, work for you as an analogy!
Then it’s just a case of bringing your needle above the next backstitch and again passing it from top to bottom under the stitch without piercing the fabric.
Carry on following this rhythm of passing the thread under the stitches, from top to bottom, until you have reached the end of your original line of backstitches.
To finish off you just need to bring your needle through the fabric either using the last hole made in your original line of backstitches, or a spot just a smidgen below it.
Once you’ve mastered this, you might want to try using a contrasting colour to the original stitches to get a lovely twisted effect.