How to Tie Off a Stitch in 6 Ways

Are you a beginner in knitting or sewing and having trouble tying off your stitches? Properly tying off a stitch is crucial to keeping your projects intact. This article will guide you through the easy steps to correctly tie off a stitch.

Whether you’re finishing a seam or completing a row of knitting, knowing how to tie off your stitches is essential for creating professional-looking projects. You can confidently finish your work and prevent unraveling with a few easy-to-follow techniques.

Following our step-by-step guide on how to tie off a stitch, you’ll soon be tying off your stitches like a pro and creating beautiful, lasting pieces easily. Mastering this basic technique will give you the confidence to tackle more advanced projects in the future.

What You’ll Need for This Tutorial

Sewing by hand requires different sewing tools and techniques than sewing by machine.

What Tools You Need for Hand Stitching Row Endings

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors or snips
  • Your project.

What Tools You Need for Ending a Row of Machine Stitching

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • A pair of scissors or snips (optional if your machine comes with a thread cutter)
  • Your project.

Hand Tie-Offs: 6 Ways to Finish a Stitch

Tieing off a row of hand stitching is as simple as making a knot. This can be done in several ways.

Method 1: Tying Off A Double Thread

I use a double thread whenever I hand sew, as my mother taught me. This strengthens the stitches, making it easier to tie them off when finished. There are a few different ways to tie off a double thread. I’ll start with this.

  1. Step 1—Finish your row by making the last stitch. Leave a few inches at the end of the thread, as you will need this to make your knot.
  2. Step 2—Once the two threads have been separated, cut them apart. The threads should be brought over and under each other. Pull the threads far enough to reach the fabric’s edge, but be careful not to pull too tightly, or the stitches will pucker. Your first knot begins here.
  3. Step 3 – The knot should be tightened by repeating Step 3.
  4. Step 4 (optional): I prefer making another knot after this. Some people even make two more.
  5. Step 5 – Your thread end should be snipped off.

Method 2 (Finishing Stitch) for Tying Off a Double Thread

Here’s a third method for tying off your double-thread sewing to ensure your stitches stay secure.

  1. Step 1—Leave a few inches of thread at the end of your row of stitches, then finish the row of stitches.
  2. Step 2—Thread your needle through the fabric near the end of your last stitch. Don’t pull it too tight; instead, make a loop.
  3. Step 3 – After lowering your needle, bring it up very close to where you lowered it.
  4. Step 4—After Inserting your needle through the loop, gently pull your needle into the fabric. Don’t pull too hard! It would be best to leave a smaller loop.
  5. Step 5 – Give the loop a final pull with your needle as you bring it through the loop again.
  6. Step 6 – The end of your thread should be snipped off.

Method 3 (Back Stitch) for Tying Off a Double Thread

The previous stitch will secure your finishing stitch with this method.

  1. Step 1 – Leave a few extra inches of thread at the end of your row before sewing the final stitch.
  2. Step 2 – Create a loop by bringing your needle back under the last stitch.
  3. Step 3 – Your needle should now pass through the loop. Once the knot is on the fabric, pull gently until it settles.
  4. Step 4 – Repetition of steps 2 and 3 will secure the row.
  5. Step 5 – The next step is to snip the ends of the thread.

Method 4 (End-Off Backstitch) For Tying Off a Double Thread

Hand stitching can be tied off easily and securely with an end-off backstitch or backtack.

  1. Step 1 – Leave several inches of extra thread at the end of your stitching.
  2. Step 2 – Insert your needle into the fabric immediately after your last completed stitch ends.
  3. Step 3 – Immediately after you row stitches ends, bring the needle back up through the fabric. The loop is now complete. The thread should sit against the fabric when you pull it gently.
  4. Step 4 – Steps 2 and 3 should be repeated twice more. Make sure you do not tighten the last loop.
  5. Step 5 – The final loop should be brought through with your needle. Make sure it is tight.
  6. Step 6 – The ends of your thread should be snipped.

Method 5 for Tying Off a Double Thread

Using this method, you can tie off your thread quickly and dirty. However, getting the knot to sit perfectly on your fabric may take some practice.

  1. Step 1 – Leave a few inches of thread at the end of your row and stitch until the row is completed.
  2. Step 2 – Your finger should be able to fit inside the loop created by the needle.
  3. Step 3 – Double back the needle with your finger while holding the loop to the fabric. The needle should be brought through the loop and pulled gently. Tie the knot snugly against the fabric with your finger.
  4. Step 4 – The knot can be repeated if you wish. It is optional to complete this part.
  5. Step 5 – You can now snip off the end of your thread.

How To Tie Off A Single Thread

In some circumstances, single threads can be used instead of double threads. Finishing stitches, backstitching, or end-off backstitching are all methods for single-thread stitching, which may also work for you.

  1. Step 1 – You will need several inches of thread to make your knot at the end of your row of stitches.
  2. Step 2 – Bring your needle back over the last stitch for a backstitch or an end-off backstitch.
  3. Step 3 – Make a loop at the back of your last stitch by inserting your needle behind it and gently pulling it.
  4. Step 4 – Make a loop with your needle and run it through. Repeat the process.
  5. Step 5 – Snip the ends of your thread after you have tied your knot tight.

What Is The Best Way to End a Row of Machine Stitches?

The stitches you make with a sewing machine can be secured in several ways.

Method 1 – Creating a Lockstitch

Using a sewing machine, lockstitching secures a row of stitches.

  1. Step 1 – Forward-stitch three to five times. Then stop.
  2. Step 2 – Turn those stitches over and reverse them. Then stop.
  3. Step 3 – A second stitch should be sewn over the first.
  4. Step 4 – Your threads can now be snipped with confidence.

Method 2 – Using the Auto-Finish Feature

Lockstitch buttons are available on some sewing machines. It eliminates the need to manually sew, reverse, and sew again by automatically making a lockstitch for you. It is possible to program lockstitches into sequences of stitches on some fancy machines.

Specialty Tie-Off Techniques

There are times when a regular tie-off isn’t the best option. You might need to use a specialized tie-off technique in some tricky situations.

You Can Hide Your Knot Between Layers

When sewing by hand, you can leave the knots on the wrong side of the project when starting and finishing. The wrong side doesn’t exist in all projects, for instance, quilts. You don’t want to leave unsightly knots on either surface in hand quilting.

A finishing knot can be hidden between layers of fabric using this method.

  1. Step 1 – Leaving four to six inches of thread after the last stitch.
  2. Step 2 – As if you were making a backstitch, loop your needle around the previous stitch.
  3. Step 3 – Your needle should now be snug but not tight as you pull it through the loop.
  4. Step 4 – Continue stitching in the opposite direction by looping your needle again, from the end of the stitch to the beginning.
  5. Step 5 – Through the loop, bring your needle and pull snugly.
  6. Step 6 – Bring your needle under the top layer of fabric only by inserting it through the middle of the stitch. Pull gently.
  7. Step 7—Finally, snip off the thread end and smooth the fabric to hide underneath the top layer.

Hide A Knot In Another Way

A knot at the end can also be hidden in this way. Multiplying the fabric doesn’t have to be the case, but it is helpful.

A quilter’s knot is used to secure the row of stitches. A hand quilter uses this knot to begin a row of stitches. It can also be used at the end.

  1. Step 1 – Leave several inches of extra thread after you finish your row of stitches.
  2. Step 2 – The thread should be wrapped around the needle three times.
  3. Step 3—Now, reinsert the needle close to where it came into the fabric and pull it tight while holding the knot. You may need to practice making the knot, but keep trying. The knot should disappear beneath the top fabric layer as you pull it.
  4. Step 4 – Pull the fabric until the thread end disappears. Snip the thread end and snip the end of the thread.

Hand Sewing Basics: Tying Off and Securing Stitches

Starting and Finishing Your Sewing Projects

  • Embroidery Starting Methods—Before learning how to tie off stitches, it’s essential to start your project correctly. Use a secure knot or a backstitch to begin, ensuring your thread won’t unravel.
  • Securing Thread Ends—Secure the thread ends properly to prevent your sewing from coming undone. This will not only add to the durability of your project but also maintain its clean look.

Sewing Knot Techniques

  • Knot Tying Guide: Several knot types secure thread at the beginning or end of sewing. A simple overhand or tailor knot is sufficient for most projects.
  • Embroidery Thread Tying—For embroidery projects, ensure your knots are small and discreet to avoid showing through on the front side of your fabric.

Advanced Finishing Techniques for Hand Sewing

Thread Knotting Tutorial

  • Secure Sewing Finish-Learning various knotting methods allows for a more secure finish. Techniques such as the quilter’s or surgeon’s knot provide added security for your stitches.

Stitch Ending Methods

  • Hand Stitch Closure: Perfecting your stitch ending methods is key to a professional finish. Techniques like the woven-in end can hide thread ends within the fabric, making them invisible.

Sewing Project Completion

Finishing Sewing Projects

  • Sewing Technique Improvement-Improving your finishing techniques can elevate the quality of your sewing projects. Practice different methods to find what works best for you and your project.
  • Sewing Thread Management-Effective thread management is crucial in hand sewing. Use thread conditioners to prevent tangling and ensure smooth stitching throughout your project.

How to Tie Off a Stitch FAQs

What are the necessities for tying off a stitch by hand?

To effectively tie off a stitch by hand, you’ll need a few essential tools: a needle, thread, and scissors or snips. These tools help you execute the finishing techniques accurately, ensuring your sewing project is completed with professionalism and durability.

How can I securely tie off a stitch when hand sewing?

A secure way to tie off a stitch by hand involves several methods. One straightforward method is to make a loop with your thread after the final stitch, pass the needle through this loop, and pull it tight to form a knot. This method ensures the end of your sewing is secure and the stitches do not unravel.

Are there different techniques for tying off a stitch on a sewing machine compared to hand sewing?

Yes, ending a row of stitches on a sewing machine differs from hand sewing. You can use the machine’s lockstitch function or manually make a few reverse stitches over the end of your sewing line. These methods effectively secure the machine’s stitches, preventing them from coming undone.

What specialized technique hides the knot when finishing a sewing project?

A specialized technique for hiding a knot in a sewing project involves pulling the finishing knot between layers of fabric or into a seam. This method benefits projects that want a clean finish without visible knots, such as quilts or garments with delicate fabrics.

Can you explain how to tie off a double thread for hand sewing?

Tying off a double thread involves a slightly different approach to ensure both are secured. After making your final stitch, separate the two threads, cross them over each other, and tie them in a knot close to the fabric. Repeat this for additional security. This method benefits stronger stitches and a more durable finish in your sewing projects.

How important is it to properly tie off stitches in sewing projects?

Properly tying off stitches is crucial in sewing to ensure the longevity and durability of your project. It prevents stitches from unraveling and maintains the structural integrity of the sewn item. Taking the time to finish your sewing project correctly can significantly impact its overall quality and appearance.


Mastering the art of tying off and securing stitches in hand sewing is essential for the longevity and finish of your sewing projects. By incorporating the techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your work looks professional and withstands the test of time. Practice these methods to improve your hand-sewing skills and take your projects to the next level.

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