How to End a Stitch When Sewing

How to End a Stitch When Sewing

Whether sewing by hand or by machine, it’s important to properly end your stitches. If you don’t secure your ends properly, your thread could unravel, and all your hard work will be lost, especially once you’ve removed all the pins. No matter what type of project you’re doing, ending your stitches and securing your ends is an important final step.

There are a variety of ways to end your stitches, and each one is best suited to a different type of project. Some are better for beginners, while others are more complicated but will offer a stronger hold. We’ll go through a wide variety of different ways to end a stitch and let you know which method to use for which projects. 

Choosing Your Materials

Before you begin your project, you’ll need to select the proper materials, like your needle and thread. Once you’ve selected the appropriate fabric for the project you’re working on, you can consult a needle guide, as well as a sewing thread guide

Sharps are the most commonly used type of hand needle, and all-purpose thread works well for most types of projects. However, if you’re using an especially thick or heavy material, like leather, you’ll need a special needle and a special type of thread. 

How To End A Stitch When Hand Sewing

There are a wide variety of ways to end a stitch when hand-sewing. We’ll break them down into the most common ones below.

Tying Off A Double Thread: Method One 

Many sewists prefer to use a double thread when hand sewing. This means that when you thread your needle, you pull the all the way through so that it doubles up, and the end meets the thread from the spool. When sewing, you’ll essentially be using two strands of thread with every stitch. This makes the stitches stronger, and it makes the tie-off method easier. 

There are a few different ways to tie off a double thread. For the first, make the final stitch in your row, leaving a few inches of threads at the end. Cut the threads near the needle, so you’re left with two separate strands of thread.

Now, separate the two strands of thread. Bring one of the threads over the other, then under, creating a simple knot. Pull the knot just enough to reach the edge of the fabric, but not too tightly, or the stitches will pucker. 

Repeat once or twice more, and pull a bit tighter this time. This creates a double or triple knot, ensuring your stitches are secure. Snip off the excess thread. 

Tying Off A Double Thread: Method Two 

For the next method of ending your stitches, you’ll finish your row of stitches, leaving a few extra inches at the end. Then, you’ll bring your needle down through the fabric once more, near the end of your final stitch. Don’t pull it tight; leave a loop.

Next, bring your needle back up, very close to where you brought it back down through the fabric. Insert your needle through the loop you made. Don’t pull too tightly; leave a smaller loop. Bring your needle through the loop once more, and give it a final pull. Snip off your thread end. 

Tying Off A Double Thread: Method Three 

For the third method of securing a double thread, you’ll use your previous stitch to secure your final stitch. Sew the final stitch in your row, making sure to leave a few inches of extra thread at the end. Bring the needle back under the last stitch, forming a loop. Don’t pull tight. 

Now, pass your needle through the loop you’ve made, and pull gently until the knot settles onto the fabric. It will appear as though you’ve added another stitch right next to your final stitch. Repeat this process once more, bringing the needle under the stitch you just created. Create another loop, and pass your needle through, pulling tight to secure, then snip your thread ends. 

Tying Off A Double Thread: Method Four 

For the fourth method, you’ll use an end-off backstitch or a back tack. For this method, you’ll finish off your stitching and leave several inches of extra thread at the end. Bring your needle around, and insert it back down into the fabric just after the end of your last completed stitch. 

Bring the needle back up through the fabric, very close to where you brought it up at the end of your row of stitches. This will create a loop. Pull the thread gently until it sits against the fabric. Repeat these steps twice more, but don’t pull your final loop tight. Bring your needle through the final loop, then pull tight to secure. Snip your thread ends to finish.

Tying Off A Double Thread: Method Five 

This method is quick, but is not necessarily the cleanest. It may take a bit of practice to get it just right. Once you’ve finished off your row of stitches and left a few inches of thread at the end, bring the needle around to form a loop large enough to insert your finger.

Hold the loop against the fabric with your finger. Double back with your needle, then bring the needle through the loop and pull gently. Use your finger to keep the knot snug against your fabric. You can repeat once more to create a second knot if you like. Snip off your thread ends. 

Tying Off A Single Thread 

Some of the methods listed above will also work when sewing with a single thread instead of a double. You can use a finishing stitch, a backstitch, and an end-off backstitch, or you can try this method.

For this method, you’ll finish your row of stitches, leaving several inches of thread at the end to make your knot. Bring your needle over to the last stitch you made, and insert it behind the stitch, gently pulling to form a loop.

Run your needle through the loop, but don’t pull tight. Repeat once more, then pull your loops tight to make a knot. Snip your thread ends. 

How To End A Stitch When Machine Sewing 

There are a few ways to end a row of stitches when machine sewing as well. We’ll take you through a few of the most popular methods below. 

Method One: Lockstitch 

For a lockstitch, sew three to five stitches forward, then stop. Using your reverse stitch knob, reverse back over those three to five stitches, then stop. Sew back over those stitches once more to create a secure hold. 

Method Two: Auto-Finish Function

Some fancier machines will even have a lockstitch button. When you press this button, the machine will automatically create the lockstitch for you, so you don’t have to manually sew, reverse, then sew again. 

Method Three: By Hand 

If you prefer, you can end your row of machine stitches by hand. Once you’ve finished your row, simply snip the thread, leaving a few inches extra to tie off. Then, thread a needle, and employ one of the methods listed above for ending stitches when hand sewing (we recommend method five). 

Specialty Tie-off Techniques 

Sometimes, a regular tie-off technique isn’t right for your project. We’ll go through a few techniques here for these special situations. 

Hiding The Knot Between Layers 

For many projects, like clothing, you’ll leave the knot on the wrong side of your project to hide it. However, certain projects, like quilts, don’t have a wrong side. For these situations, you can hide your knot between layers of fabric.

For this method, leave four to six inches of extra thread once you finish your last stitch. Push your needle down through the fabric near the end of your final stitch, then back up, creating a small loop. Bring your needle through the loop, and pull it snug, but not all the way tight. You’ll repeat this process once more, but in the opposite direction. Bring your needle down through the fabric, then up again closer to your final stitches. Bring the needle through your loop and pull snug. 

Now, insert your needle through the middle of the stitch, and bring it up under the top layer of fabric only. Gently pull, then snip off your thread. Smooth your fabric so that the attached thread end is hidden underneath the top fabric layer. 

Hiding The Knot In A Seam

If your row of stitches ends in a seam, you can easily hide the knot in the seam using any of the above methods. Just pull the knot tight so it’s hidden within the seam. 


Properly finishing off your stitches is extremely important. If you don’t secure the end of your stitches, your stitching will come undone, ruining your hard work. Securing stitches neatly takes practice. Try out a few methods to see which one works best for you.

For more sewing tips, tricks, and gadgets, visit Love Sew online here. We’re passionate about all things sewing, and we’d love to welcome you into our community.



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