how to tie off a stitch

How to Tie Off a Stitch

Sewing is a delightful skill to learn, and it’s important to know how to tie off a stitch. Even though it sounds like an easy task, securing your stitches with a knot is a craft of its own that all sewers should master. There is always the possibility that your stitches might unravel, causing your hard work to be undone. There are various methods of tying off a stitch that you can use, depending on the type of sewing project you are working on. In this article, we’ll cover the most popular methods on how to tie off a stitch.

Ways to Tie Off a Stitch

Before we begin, let’s discuss the two primary methods of tying off a stitch.

Securing a Knot

This method involves creating a knot on the last stitch you made, thus securing the following ones. This technique is suitable for long seams, zigzag stitches or any other stitching techniques that need a section of stitches to be secured.


Backstitching is a technique in which you weave stitches backward over your work, locking them in place. This technique is superb for smaller sewing tasks like embroidery, delicate work or finishing off your sewing project.

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How to Tie Off a Stitch: Method 1 (Securing a Knot)

This method of tying off a stitch is perfect for securing a long line of stitches or creating a tie-off end for a seam. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Make sure that you have sufficient thread to use for the knot. You don’t want it to be too short to tie off or too long to make the knot bulky.

2. Take your needle and thread and pass it through the underside of your fabric, pulling your thread through until you have about three inches of thread left on the underside.

3. Knot your thread by making a loop on the end of the length of thread on the underside of your fabric. Wrap the length around the thread once or twice and pull it tight to attain a knot.

4. Take the needle and pass it through the loop you’ve created. Pull the thread and knot towards the fabric. Remember to keep the knot as tight as possible, but not too much so that you don’t damage your thread or fabric.

5. Snip off the excess thread on the underside of your fabric, and you are done.

Usually, this process results in a small knot on the end of your stitches. It is essential to make sure that the knot you have secure won’t come loose after a lot of wear and washes. Knots with different shapes will give different results, and some knots are more secure than others, such as the double knot which is stronger than a single one.

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How to Tie Off a Stitch: Method 2 (Backstitching)

Backstitching is a classic method of tying off a stitch that works for all types of sewing projects. Here’a a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

1. Position your needle and thread to start your backstitch.

2. Make the first stitch in the usual way in reverse direction on your fabric.

3. Bring the needle back up through the first stitch.

4. Take the thread you have looped and pass it over the needle.

5. Pull the needle and thread down through the fabric, creating a stitch backward over your work.

6. Continue moving your needle backward in this way, taking into account that the stitches ought to be tight and neither too loose that they hang nor too firm that they pull.

7. Finish your stitching by passing the thread under several stitches.

8. Snip off the excess thread after you have secured the last stitch.


What is the difference between a knot and a backstitch?

When you make a knot, you create a small ball that prevents your thread from coming loose or unraveling. Backstitching involves weaving your stitches backward over your work, locking them in place.

Why is it important to tie off a stitch?

Tying off a stitch is crucial for ensuring that your stitches don’t unravel after you’ve finished the sewing project. It helps to keep your work neat and is essential for structures like seams to keep them sturdy.

Can you untie a knot or reverse a backstitch?

Yes. Untie a knot either by pulling the needle, and the thread through gently or softly tugging on the loop until it comes undone. To release a backstitch, take your stitch ripper and pick through the stitches from the back to the front.

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Does the type of fabric used affect the method used to tie off a stitch?

Yes. The weight or thickness of a fabric and the stitch spacing needed rely on the type of needle and thread, as well as the method chosen. Heavy fabrics like denim may need a bit more space between stitches, thicker thread, or a stronger knot. Softer, light fabrics might look better with a backstitch and a delicate thread to achieve a professional finish.

How to ensure the tie-off knot is secure?

After tying a knot, give a slight but firm tug on the thread to ensure it is secure. If it feels loose or bumpy, then redo it to avoid having loose threads that can unravel eventually.


Once you’ve learned to sew, tying a knot or backstitch to secure your stitches is an essential skill you need to acquire. Knowing how to tie off a stitch will save you a lot of heartache and stress due to unraveled stitching. Whether you’re working on a small embroidery project or a big sewing project, knowing how to secure the stitches can make a significant difference to the final product. Follow our guide on how to tie off a stitch to ensure a secure and professional finish.

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