Have you seen this tutorial/blog post over at Sublime Stitching? If you haven’t I suggest you click over, read it and then come back.
Mind blown? Mine was. Actually, I was a little peeved that I hadn’t thought of it first! It couldn’t be simpler. On fabric, I have no problems with chain stitching in “the standard way”, but on paper? That’s another story. It’s tricky to keep the tension correct, and there’s always the worry that I’m pulling too hard and will rip things. But this other top-down method is no harder on the paper than the standard backstitch and that makes me both worry less and results in (what I think are) cleaner stitches. Though you might not be able to tell from this photo. The top-down method is on the left, the standard on the right. Plus it takes only half the time to work a line of stitches. In the future, this is how I’ll be working the chain stitch in my paper pieces!