I purchased a Singer Start 1304 Sewing Machine and am watching tutorials.

In one of them, the lady demonstrates how to make a simple stitch. She goes a few stitches forward, a few stitches back, and continues stitching forward to the end.

Then she goes a few stitches back, a few stitches forwards, and then cuts the fabric:


Later in the video, she demonstrates making a zig-zag stitch. However, she does not demonstrate going back a few stitches in the beginning, and going back few stitches in end:


Is this correct?
If I decide to make a zig-zag stitch, should I only go forwards (and not backwards)?
If so, then how do I ensure my zig-zag stitch does not come apart?

  • First answer is correct . You do not have to back stitch a zigzag , just that straight stitches especially the corners Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 6:56
  • I don’t sew back when I zig-zag, as the stitches stay on their own (and often tangle, if you do try to sew back over them!)
    – user3025
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 21:26

3 Answers 3


To understand when to use backstitching, you need to understand the purpose of it in the first place. It's not just "a thing that is done," it is a technique to "lock" the stitches in place on a seam. To illustrate this for yourself, get some scrap fabric and stitch two pieces of it together along a straight edge. Backstitch at one end, and just stitch off the edge on the other, trim the threads, then attempt to pull the fabric apart at the seam on both ends. You'll see that the end you didn't backstitch will pull apart much more easily, while the end that is backstitched will hold more securely.

Cases where one would expect to backstitch the seams are primarily in structural areas; finishing (top) stitching is also frequently backstitched to prevent the stitches from pulling out.

Similarly, you'll need to understand the purpose of the zigzag stitch. In most cases for home sewing, the zigzag is used to help prevent fraying in woven fabrics; because it's not structural, there's minimal benefit to backstitching at either end, though you may find it easier on some fabrics that are more prone to fraying to start on the fabric and backstitch to the edge before going forward in order to help prevent the fabric from being pulled down through the throat plate.

For further information, I would highly recommend taking a beginning sewing course that can be tailored to your knowledge level. Online tutorials and videos are only marginally useful when you don't have the basic experience expected from them.


You can back stitch a zigzag, but usually it’s not your stress stitch. Also, you probably don’t want to back stitch when making gathers or basting. Back stitching helps secure your stitch and is very useful. Good habit to start with but i have found many times that it’s unnecessary. Like darts! Have fun!


If fabrics are very delicate leaving long tails and tying the threads may be preferable to backstitching. I also rarely backstitch if I am piecing quilt blocks or doing aplique work, but instead make sure that all stitches get sewn through or rows will be crossed with other stithcingto hold in place. Never back stitch if you do not want to show extra bulk or more thread density in your stichline.

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