Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Backstitch / Back tack

In the realm of sewing, understanding essential techniques is crucial for creating strong and durable seams. Two techniques commonly used to secure stitches are “backstitch” and “back tack.” In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the purpose and methods behind backstitching and back tacking, equipping you with the knowledge to reinforce your sewing projects effectively.


Strength and Security Backstitching is a sewing technique used to reinforce stitches at the beginning and end of a seam, providing strength and preventing unraveling.

Purpose and Benefits of a Backstitch:

  • Securing Stitches: Backstitching ensures that the stitches remain intact even when subjected to tension or stress.
  • Preventing Unraveling: By backstitching, you create a barrier that prevents the seam from unraveling, enhancing the durability of the finished garment.

Backstitching Technique:

  • Start by sewing a few stitches forward.
  • Reverse the stitching direction by sewing backward over the previous stitches, overlapping them.
  • Continue sewing forward as usual, ensuring the backstitched section is secure and visually prominent.
  • Repeat the backstitching at the end of the seam to complete the reinforcement.

The Back Tack

Temporary Strength Back tacking, also known as anchoring or bar tacking, is a temporary stitching technique used to secure stitches in specific areas temporarily.

Purpose and Benefits:

  • Temporary Hold: Back tacking holds fabric layers together in sections that may experience stress during construction or fitting.
  • Ease of Removal: Unlike permanent stitching, back tacking is intended to be removed later, allowing for adjustments or alterations.

Back Tacking Technique:

  • Sew a few stitches forward in the desired area.
  • Sew backward, creating a small bar or cluster of stitches.
  • Sew forward again, overlapping the initial stitches.
  • Repeat the back tacking as needed in the designated sections.

When to Use Backstitch and Back Tack:

  • Backstitching is ideal for permanent reinforcement at the beginning and end of seams, ensuring longevity and stability.
  • Back tacking is useful in temporary situations, such as securing pleats, darts, or pockets during the construction process.

Tips for Successful Backstitching and Back Tacking:

  • Use a regular or smaller stitch length for increased strength and stability.
  • Maintain a steady pace and even stitch tension to ensure consistency.
  • Consider using contrasting thread for backstitching or back tacking to make it more visible for removal or alteration purposes.
  • Practice on scrap fabric before applying these techniques to your final project to refine your skills.


Mastering the art of backstitching and back tacking is essential for seamstresses and pattern makers seeking to create strong and reliable seams. With backstitching, you can secure stitches permanently, ensuring the longevity of your garments. Back tacking, on the other hand, provides temporary reinforcement during construction or fitting stages. By incorporating these techniques into your sewing repertoire, you’ll achieve professional-level craftsmanship, adding strength and durability to your creations.

Got Questions?

Melissa Villegas
Pattern Maker &


Melissa Portrait

Villegas Patterns

Recent Patterns

Need A Tutorial?

For detailed and in-depth instructions, watch my pattern tutorials on YouTube