The Reverse Running Stitch

K. E. Hockenberry

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Most projects can be stitched together using a reverse running stitch, sometimes incorrectly referred to as the saddle stitch.  The reverse running stitch is very simple to implement.  The thread reeves in and out of each hole, then the thread reverses, filling in the spaces in between the holes.

The difference between the reverse running stitch and the saddle stitch is, the reverse running stitch is worked using only one needle while the saddle stitch is worked using two needles.  Albeit the finished results of both are identical, the reverse running stitch is less than desirable when stitching together thick oak tanned leathers because of an inability to pull the stitch tight, but quite suitable for light leathers.

As I said, the reverse running stitch is easy enough to work.  The first step consists of reeving the thread in and out of each hole.  The second step is just a bit tricky.  While reversing the thread back through the holes is easy enough, making the stitch look machine made necessitates careful and deliberate positioning of the needle.

Upon reversing the thread, the needle breaks over the top, then under the bottom of the previously worked thread, alternating between the two, first one then the other.  Similar to braiding with an over one, under one sequence.

The path of the thread must be consistent.  Starting the thread over the top of the previously worked thread necessitates continuing to work the thread over the top every other hole.

As an example, enter your needle through a hole from the back, making sure the needle crosses over the top of the previously worked thread.
Upon entering the next hole your needle will enter from the front under the previously worked thread.  Alternating between the two will result in a reverse running stitch that looks machine made.

Setting the stitches with a smooth faced hammer will close the holes tightly around the thread, and slightly recessing the stitches into the leather helping to protect them from wear.

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