To Backstitch or Not To Backstitch: a Sewing Technique Debate
The pros share their opinions and stitching alternatives
When you begin sewing a seam, do you automatically backstitch?
Nearly every domestic sewing machine has some sort of backstitch function, be it a lever, a button, or a switch.
The earliest sewing machines could stitch in only one direction. The “stitch regulator” on my vintage 1920s Singer 66, a large front-mounted screw, controls stitch length only; there is no backstitch function at all. What’s a sewer to do?
The purpose of the machine backstitch is to secure the beginning and the end of a stitch line; naturally, we don’t want our seams to open. The backstitch is easy to use and effective, in most cases. There are alternatives to the backstitch, however, and depending on how you learned to sew and what type of sewing you generally do, you are probably familiar with them.
First, is it even necessary to secure most stitch lines at all, given that…
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