Quilting the Invisible Flat Back Stitch For La Passacaglia Quilt

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Quilting your English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Quilt using the invisible flat back stitch has many benefits. The most profound benefit is that your stitches are hidden! In this article you’ll be able to view a video tutorial as well as a written guide with information as well as several tips that will help you learn the invisible flat back stitch.

Quilting the Invisible Flat Back Stitch Video Tutorial

Quilting the Invisible Flat Back Stitch Written Tutorial

I had never done any English Paper Piecing at all. But in my true DIY fashion I jumped in, head first right into the deep end! Once I started going, I realized I didn’t know what I was doing. When I first started, the only stitch I knew was the whip stitch (Video). I got pretty far along before I figured out that when quilting, you can come up with your own methods! I then started reading as many blog posts about thread and EPP that I could find. The learning curve has been enormous. Having said that, I am committed and totally smitten with this pattern! If I can help others to speed up the learning curve that would make me so happy!

This is what I have learned quilting the La Passacaglia..



Quilting the Invisible Flat Back Stitch Front View for English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Quilt

Invisible Flat Back Stitch Front View for La Passacaglia Quilt

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The Wonder of Wonder Clips

I started out first by using Wonder clips and stitching my pieces together with a whip stitch the traditional way. When I took the clips off and opened up the sewn pieces, they never seems to be aligned correctly, always a little off. I figured it was due to my being an absolute novice. (probably true) Once I got to stitching the pieces together when the rosette got bigger I couldn’t manage the whole clip thing. The clips would start to pop off while I was trying to sew. Immediately started to hold the pieces in place butted up to each other with painters tape and stitch from the back side. Well I can tell you it worked great! It also fixed another big problem in the process, my stitches weren’t showing on the front. Before with the traditional whip stitch you could really see my stitches. Now I’m not a fanatic about this, after all it is hand sewing but I did want to minimize them showing as much as possible. Check out my post about thread and needles which relates to this topic of stitches showing.

This is what my stitches looked like when I first started. YIKES!!!!! Pretty noticeable (I almost shouldn’t show you) but I’m not going to rip them out. It is a work in progress and I enjoy looking at how far I’ve progressed. This quilt is for me so I don’t mind. I’ve already started another one for my daughter.

Side note:

Since this original post I have ripped out all those beginning stitches. As it turns out when I took my quilt to the quilters she told me to enter it in some shows. I hadn’t planned on doing that but I thought it would be fun. So I painstakingly removed most of the bad stitches because now it was going to be scrutinized. Guess what? I made it into the Houston show with the Quiltmania collection of La Pass Quilts 🙂

Anyhow I had been agonizing over the “best” thread to use and now it really doesn’t matter because the stitches don’t show on the front.


Flat Back Stitch Zoomed in View for La Passacaglia Quilt

Flat Back Stitch for La Passacaglia

Problem solved!!!

I use one color thread because that is what I bought. No changing the thread colors for me. The reason I love EPP so much is that I don’t need too many things to make up a to-go travel kit. I can put everything I need in a sandwich size baggie and drop it in my purse. I’m ready to stitch at a moments notice!
I still continue to whip stitch the same way like before only with the pieces flat and butted up next to each other. My stitches per inch are about 22. But that varies with the type of fabric and my mood.

Lay the pieces next to each other and stitch from the back.
Now I use the clover clips to hold the pieces together, and sometimes painters tape.

Flat Back Stitch for English Paper Piecing La Passacaglia Quilt Front View

Flat Back Stitch for English Paper Piecing Zoomed In

I know this stitch isn’t for everyone but it sure did fix a few problems for me:) The stitches are almost invisible. You can see by my before photo that I needed some help!!!!! I also noticed that the pieces are lining up better too.

Let me know what you think. Good luck 🙂


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  1. Sherri 5 years ago

    I have been stitching mine like that for years… I do however,use a lot more stitches than what you are showing..and i pull it quite a bit tighter than the video shows..and i have a nice clean seam as well 😉 I don’t know what you call that stitch either. I tried to explain it to a friend, that was trying to get me to use the ladder stitch. That was an epic fail for me. This is much easier for me ! Thanks for the video 😉

    • thediyaddict 5 years ago

      Sherri it really is a great stitch. I also pull mine a little more than in the video. It was hard trying to stitch with a camera in your face 🙂 !! I still am trying to figure out how many stitches per inch to use. I haven’t found my ideal spacing yet. To be continued………………..

  2. Marilyn 5 years ago

    thanks. I have just started to use glue and this will help. I have just started another hexie quilt so I will try this method. Looks easy enough.

    • thediyaddict 5 years ago

      Marilyn I’m so glad you stopped by. I want to here how this goes!

  3. Karen 5 years ago

    Thank you so much for the video! I am new to this technique, and like visuals. Great video!!

    • thediyaddict 5 years ago

      Hi Karen, well I would like to go back and do the video a little better. Kinda’ hard with a camera in your face!!! 🙂 THX

  4. Denise in PA 5 years ago

    I can’t wait to get home to try this! Thanks so much for sharing this (and loved the video – I’m more of a visual learner!)

  5. bizinozi 4 years ago

    Thanks so much Karen…learned a great skill from you today! I’ve paper pieced for quite a few years and NEVER been happy with my stitches…also great to see how you’ve improved with trial and error! I love keeping it real…Ali @arabesque-scissors.com

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Ali I love that it helps. Thanks for letting me know. Yes a lot of trial and error!!!!! Love what you do on Instagram 🙂

  6. Pam 4 years ago

    Thank you for all your tips & advice, great for all the newbies & some oldies too. A video is worth 10,000 words, makes it make sense.

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Pam thank you so much. Yeah I have to “see it” for it to make sense too!

  7. Tarasews 4 years ago

    Hi Karen, I’m not usually a blog commenter, but I had to say I just tried your technique and I love it! I’ve always used a ladder stitch, but this is so much easier and sits much better! Thanks for the great tutorial!

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Tara thank you letting me know. I just had to share this because it changes everything 🙂

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      ooops Tara I think I may have sent a message to you by accident. If I did sorry!

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Tara I guess I didn’t…….

  8. probablydreaming 4 years ago

    Hurray!! Thanks for showing the stitch that I also use. And I have used many color threads
    and stitches don’t show at all. The name you picked for it really describes how it is done …stitch is “on the flat back”. There is a little space at the edge of the hexy. The needle slides in it without going through to the front side. Thanks for showing everyone. I hold the pieces without clips or pins.

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Glad you liked it. I just hold the pieces too and don’t need clips anymore. Thanks for commenting it puts a smile on my face 🙂

    • Cynthia 4 years ago

      Great video and I like the heads up on not having to change threads to match the fabric. Will be getting my books 1 and 2 for Christmas so I have to wait to look at them. CANNOT WAIT to start my Millefiore journey!

      • thediyaddict 4 years ago

        Cynthia I’m very excited you’ll be starting. You will fall head over heels I just know it. Thanks for letting me know and making a comment 🙂

  9. Deb Cavanaugh 4 years ago

    Thank you, I haven’t done a quilt yet because like you I was getting the thread showing on the front of my sample. I will try you method. it makes a lot of sense.

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Deb it worked for me. Let me know how it goes when you practice !

  10. Karen poole 4 years ago

    I started out using the slip stitch too and even though mine didn’t show quite that much it still showed and I didn’t like, that’s when I searched around the files in the Millifiorie face book page and there were tutorials using this stitch and the ladder stitch. I kind of combine the flat back stitch and ladder stitch and it works pretty good for me. Thanks for sharing, without help from people like you so many of us might have given up too soon!

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Karen this is the beauty of the internet at its best. Now we can research and connect so much easier. Thank you 🙂 This gives me courage to make more videos!

  11. […] Sidenote: Notice my stitches and how invisible they are.  I’m using the “Flat Back Stitch” found here. […]

  12. sharoneujones 4 years ago

    I have just started sewing my EPP pieces together this way. I use a piecenof masking tape to hold the pieces in the front, and a winder clip.

    I am much happier as my stitches are now invisible, Yippee.

    I am just wondering what type of glue stick do yiu use, do you use the Sewline glue stick or just one from the stationers? I have used both, but findnthe Sewline very expensive. Thank you for you assistance.

    • thediyaddict 4 years ago

      Hello Sharon I’m happy this way of EPP is working for you. Yes I use Sewline. It is very expensive so I try to use the smallest amount. I have tried using the kind from the stationers and found it super hard to get my papers out! If you do use the stationers use a tiny tiny amount. I have not found a cheaper replacement sorry

  13. Carlette 3 years ago

    Karen, I have seen this stitch on another site (don’t remember where) and love using it. I do however, put tape on the front side of my seam and it holds the hexies flat so I can easily stitch them.

    • Author
      thediyaddict 3 years ago

      Hi Carlette,

      That’s great to hear. I’ve seen others use the same method as well. It’s all about personal preference in the end!

  14. Kathy Schattleitner 3 years ago

    I have learnt a lot from your tutorials and am well on my way now. I like the flat back stitch and if I have a stitch showing on the right side, I just use my trusty Micron pen to color over the thread which is a gray cotton Aurifil. Thanks for all the tips.

    • Author
      thediyaddict 3 years ago

      Kathy you are so kind. I’ll keep them coming 🙂 thanks so much for stopping by.

  15. Raven 3 years ago

    I just love your videos? If I could just get fabric and start going. I tried looking for a “line of fabric” while in Houston, bt everything was so overwhelming. Came home with some Fasset fabric, but when I took a second look, most of it was in red and I wanted something more like yours (lime, oranges, purple and pink) I have a lot of the more solid colors, need something I can fussy cut that will match. What line did you use?
    BTW, it was great meeting you. Wish I could have spent more time chatting with you.

    • Author
      thediyaddict 3 years ago

      Raven I would look at Tula Pink she uses all those colors also Alison Glass has a new line called seventy six you might look at. Anyone else have a suggestion lets here it

  16. Katrina 3 years ago

    It’s called a skimming stitch.

    • Author
      thediyaddict 3 years ago

      I have never heard it called the skimming stitch. Thanks for letting know.

  17. Lyn 3 years ago

    I am quite a new addict for English paper piecing and was pleased to try flat back stitch. I find it easy to do and I loved your tutorial. My first effort looks great and I can’t see stitches on the right side. Of course I still have the papers in. I am wondering if the stitches will be loose when .i take my papers out though. I can’t quite work out the science! Any comments on whether the seams will loosen once the seams are free of the glue holding them apart?

  18. Lyn 3 years ago

    I am really happy that I can’t see my stitches on the right side and it was so easy to do. I aim wondering what happens when I remove the papers though. Will the stitches loosen as the seams are no longer held in place with glue? I can’t quite work out the science. Any thoughts? Love your videos.

    • Author
      Karen Tripp 3 years ago

      Hi Lyn,

      As with all stitches, when you take the papers out, it does loosen slightly, but if you make your stitches snug, they will hold tight and you won’t seem them on the front. It’s less about the stitch and more about the tightness. Having said that, don’t pull too tight, it’s a balance!

      • Lyn 3 years ago

        Thanks for that! Also sorry re two posts….computer didn’t seem to want to post the first one, but then decided it would!

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