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How to Tie Off a Stitch: a Comprehensive Guide to Securing Your Stitches (2024)

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how to tie off a stitchTying off a stitch properly secures your hard work, whether you’re hand or machine sewing.

For a double-threaded needle, cut the thread below, tie the two halves with three tight knots, aligning and tightening them against the fabric. Leave 2-3 inch tails for easier knotting.

With a single thread, leave 3 inches, loop and hold it down, then pull to tighten the knot before trimming excess.

On felt? Tie a knot against the surface, insert the needle beside it, pull tight, and snip – the felt will conceal the knot beautifully.

Mastering this essential skill guarantees your stitches stay put, so let’s explore the techniques in depth.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t let your hard work come undone! Tying off stitches is like putting a cherry on top of your sewing sundae – it’s the finishing touch that keeps everything sweet and secure.
  • Double trouble? No worries! With double-threaded needles, it’s as easy as 1-2-3: cut, tie three knots, and snug ’em up against the fabric. Just remember to leave a little tail – you’re not trying to give your stitches a buzz cut!
  • Single thread got you in a knot? Take a deep breath and channel your inner Boy Scout. Loop it, hold it, pull it tight – voila! You’ve just mastered the art of the single-handed knot. It’s like magic, but with thread!
  • Felt a bit different? You bet! This fuzzy fabric plays by its own rules. Tie a knot, tuck it in, and watch it disappear like a magician’s rabbit. It’s the fabric equivalent of having your cake and eating it too – neat and tidy, with no visible strings attached!

How to Tie Off a Stitch?

To tie off a stitch, you have several options depending on your sewing method. For hand stitching, you can create a small knot by looping the thread and pulling it tight against the fabric, while for machine sewing, you can use the reverse function to create a few backstitches that secure the end of your seam.

Tying Off With a Double Threaded Needle

Tying Off With a Double Threaded Needle
To tie off with a double threaded needle, first cut the thread below the needle, leaving two thread halves. Next, tie these two halves together with three knots, tightening the first knot against the fabric and the remaining knots after.

Cut Thread Below the Needle

Cut the thread below the needle, leaving 2-3 inches. This allows for:

  • Proper knot formation
  • Ideal thread tension
  • Control over the knot’s placement

Cutting too short makes tying off difficult.

Tie Two Halves Together With Three Knots

Tie the two thread halves into three tight knots. Position the knots strategically for maximum durability.

Knot 1 Knot 2 Knot 3
Tight Tight Tight
Aligned Aligned Aligned

Tighten the First Knot to the Fabric

After tying the three knots, pull the first knot close to the fabric. This anchors it in place, ensuring fabric durability and security. Proper knot placement is key for neat, long-lasting stitches.

Tighten the Remaining Knots

After tightening the first knot, pull both thread ends to snug the remaining two knots up against the fabric.

Leave 2-3 Inches of Tail for Easier Knotting

You’ll want to leave 2-3 inches of tail for easier knotting with a double thread. This tail length guarantees you have enough slack to tie secure knots that won’t slip, especially when working with thicker felt or single thread.

Tying Off With a Single Threaded Needle by Knotting

Tying Off With a Single Threaded Needle by Knotting
To tie off a stitch with a single threaded needle, leave about three inches of thread after your final stitch. Loop the thread and, while holding the loop down with your finger, pull the thread end to tighten the knot before trimming any excess.

Leave Three Inches of Thread to Spare

Leave around three inches of loose thread when tying off with a single needle. This guarantees you have:

  1. Enough length to knot
  2. Adequate tail for trimming
  3. Sufficient slack for tightening
  4. Extra if knot fails

Loop the Thread to Form a Knot

With your needle and thread ready, loop the thread around itself to form a knot. Here’s a visual:

Thread Shape Thread

Hold the Loop Down With Your Finger

Next, hold the loop down firmly with your finger. This vital step guarantees knot security and proper tension control during the knotting process.

Pull the Thread End to Tighten the Knot

Now, pull the thread end tightly to secure the knot. Adjust its tightness for optimum durability while ensuring the knot remains discreet and easily untied if needed.

Trim Excess Thread

Trim off any excess thread for security, but leave a tiny tail to guarantee the knot won’t come undone. Through practice, you’ll gain proficiency for maximum stitch durability.

Tying Off on Felt

Tying Off on Felt
To tie off on felt, first tie a knot and butt it against the felt’s surface. Then, insert the needle next to the knot, pull the thread to tighten, and snip the end – the thread will shrink back inside the felt, securing your stitch.

Tie a Knot and Butt It Against the Felt

First, tie a small knot at the end of your thread. Then, gently butt the knot against the felt’s surface, ensuring it sits flush. The felt’s dense texture and fabric thickness will help conceal and secure the knot.

Insert the Needle Next to the Knot

After tying the knot against the felt, here’s what you do:

  1. Insert the needle just beside the knot.
  2. Push it through both felt layers.
  3. Pull it up between the layers.

This guarantees the knot is firmly anchored for maximum stitch security on felt.

Pull the Thread to Tighten and Snip the End

After securing the knot, pull the thread firmly to tighten it against the felt. Leave a short tail, about 1/4 inch, and snip it off neatly with sharp scissors.

Loose Knot Tightened Knot
Felt Surface Thread loops loosely Knot butts felt tightly
Knot Location Away from felt edge Close to felt edge

The Thread End Shrinks Back Inside the Felt

The thread end shrinks back inside, hidden between the felt’s dense layers, ensuring a clean knot appearance. With this tying off method, your stitches on felt remain durable and secure, blending seamlessly into the fabric’s unique texture.

Hand Stitching

Hand Stitching
To start the hand stitching process and tie off your stitch securely, turn your fabric wrong side up and insert the needle under the last stitch you made. Then, pull the needle through to form a 1-inch loop, and cut any excess thread close to the knot you’ve created.

Turn Fabric Wrong Side Up

After securing your stitches on felt, turn the fabric wrong side up for hand stitching. Maintain proper needle insertion and thread tension by keeping the fabric flat and aligned. Adjust stitch length for knot durability and neater finish.

Insert Needle Under Last Stitch

With the fabric wrong side up, insert the needle under the last stitch, ensuring:

  1. Proper needle depth
  2. Ideal thread tension
  3. Suitable stitch length
  4. Accommodating fabric thickness

Choose the right needle type for your project.

Pull Needle Through to Form 1-inch Loop

Pull the needle through, forming a 1-inch loop. Adjust the loop size based on fabric thickness and thread type. Here’s a visual guide:

Thin Fabric Medium Fabric Thick Fabric
1/2" Loop 1" Loop 1 1/2" Loop

The loop size affects stitch tension and security.

Cut Excess Thread Close to Knot

With the loop secured, carefully cut the excess thread close to the knot using sharp scissors. Verify the knot size is small yet secure, and its placement doesn’t compromise the stitch. Consider matching the thread color for a seamless look.

Machine Stitching

Machine Stitching
When machine stitching, you want to sew about 3/4 inch from the edge of the fabric. Then press the reverse button on your sewing machine and sew 3-5 backstitches to secure the stitching before releasing the reverse button to continue sewing forward.

Once you reach the end of your stitching line, cut the thread near the last stitch to complete the tying off process.

Sew to 3/4 Inch From Edge

For machine stitching, guide your needle until the fabric edge is 3/4 inch from the presser foot. Maintain even tension and stitch quality by choosing an appropriate thread and fabric combination for your project.

Press Reverse Button

Once you’re 3/4 inch from the edge, hit that reverse button. This engages the reverse stitch, reversing your machine’s feed direction for extra security.

Sew 3-5 Backstitches

Sew 3-5 backstitches with your machine:

  • Adjust backstitch length for visibility
  • Keep backstitches close for security
  • Maintain even backstitch tension
  • Place backstitches at seam edges
  • Allow backstitches to lock stitches

Release Reverse Button and Sew Forward

After sewing a few backstitches, let go of the reverse button, allowing your machine to sew forward through the fabric layers. Maintain a consistent thread length and stitch density.

Cut Thread Near Last Stitch

After releasing the reverse button, cut the thread near the last stitch. Here are key factors to be aware of:

  • Knot size: Trim close, but leave enough for a secure knot
  • Thread gauge: Thicker threads require more trimming room
  • Needle type: Sharp needles cleanly cut threads
  • Fabric weight: Heavier fabrics need sturdier knots
  • Stitch length: Longer stitches benefit from longer tails

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I tie off embroidery stitches?

To tie off embroidery stitches, you’ll weave the needle through the back of your work. Create a small loop, pass the needle through it, and pull tight. Repeat this process twice more for security.

Whats the best thread for tying knots?

You’ll want a strong, durable thread for tying knots. Polyester or nylon threads are your best bet. They’re resistant to fraying and can withstand tension. For extra security, consider using a waxed thread – it’ll grip better.

Can I tie off with a double thread?

You’re in luck! Double-threaded tying is a piece of cake. You can tie off with double thread by cutting below the needle, tying the halves together with three knots, and tightening them to the fabric. It’s that simple!

How do I avoid knots showing through fabric?

To keep knots hidden, sew on the fabric’s wrong side and bury the knot between layers. You’ll want to use a small stitch and trim excess thread close to the knot. This technique works wonders for a clean finish.

Are there different tying off methods for stretch fabrics?

Yes, stretch fabrics require special attention. You’ll want to use a zigzag stitch or a stretch stitch to maintain elasticity. When tying off, create a small loop and pass the needle through it twice for extra security.


Ironically, mastering how to tie off a stitch might seem like the least exciting part of sewing, but it’s essential for your project’s longevity.

You’ve now learned various techniques for both hand and machine stitching, including methods for double-threaded needles, single threads, and even felt. By applying these skills, you’ll guarantee your hard work doesn’t unravel.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.