Sewing is an art of making your apparels look better and keep them functional. When it comes to sewing machines, there are plenty of benefits to using it for different purposes. Different types of sewing are meant for different stitching purposes. When you first bring a stitching machine to your home, it is quite natural that you would need to learn its functionalities in order to stitch better. There are plenty of stitches that you need to learn in your sewing machines, and an end stitch is one of the important ones without which every other stitch will be incomplete. It is one of the crucial stitches that helps in ending or locking the stitch. It prevents your stitch from opening and provides it a form hold. It is essential to learn how to end a stitch on your sewing machine. In this article, you will learn about end stitch on a sewing machine and other vital information. Contents

  • How to End a Stitch on Sewing Machine?
    • Step 1: Machine Stitch The Fabric
    • Step 2: Put Your Sewing Machine in Reverse
    • Step 3: Start Backstitching
    • Step 4: Forward Stitch
    • Step 5: Lift Up The Needle
  • More Ways to End a Stitch on Sewing Machine
    • Stitching in Place
    • Tying off Thread Ends
    • Decrease The Length
    • Try Manual Stitching
  • How Do You Stop a Stitch from Unraveling?
  • How Important is Securing the Start and End of a Seam?
  • What is Locking Stitch on a Sewing Machine?
  • Why Do You Need to Secure the End of the Seam?
  • Can a Zigzag Stitch Be Used As A Back Stitch?
  • Do You Backstitch A Stay Stitch?
  • Do All Stitches Need Backstitched?

End a Stitch on Sewing Machine End stitching on a sewing machine is quite different from the hand one. You need to understand the functionalities of your sewing machine and learn the right techniques to make an end stitch. Here are the steps you need to follow to make an end stitch and complete your stitch.

Step 1: Machine Stitch The Fabric

Use any stitching such as straight or zigzag stitching until you reach the end of the fabric to start the end stitch. If you are not familiar with a sewing machine and ending stitches, you must practice it with fabric scraps.

Step 2: Put Your Sewing Machine in Reverse

End a Stitch on Sewing Machine Almost every sewing machine has a reverse button. Depending on your sewing machine, you must find the reverse button. Generally, it’s a dial with arrows indicating the motion. You need to put it in reverse. Double-check the button before starting the stitch.

Step 3: Start Backstitching

Once you have pressed the reverse button, you need to make 3 to 5 backstitches on your fabric. The machine will start backstitching on your stitches. You can also adjust the stitch length to make your end stitch stronger. It is essential to keep the backstitch shorter, so they don’t unravel.

Step 4: Forward Stitch

Switch the reverse button back to normal and start forward stitching for a couple of stitches. Keep stitching till the end of the fabric. Ensure three lines of thread overlap the end stitch at the end of the fabric before you stop.

Step 5: Lift Up The Needle

Now, you can lift up the needle using the hand wheel. Slide the fabric out of the machine and cut the threads from the last stretch. Give off a finishing touch by pressing the seams properly, and you have learned how to end a stitch. End stitch is the most crucial part of stitching, without which your stitching will be meaningless. There is no rocket science behind end stitch, all you need to learn is a backward and forward stitch at the end of the fabric, and you are good to go with a securely stitched fabric.

More Ways to End a Stitch on Sewing Machine

End a Stitch on Sewing Machine There are more than one ways to end a stitch; here are a few more ways in which you can end the stitch more professionally and elegantly:

Stitching in Place

If you feel like backstitching is difficult to control, you may prefer to stitch in place. This is sometimes referred to as a tack stitch. A tack stitch, in reference to ending a stitch, is 5-6 stitches sewn in place to create a knot in the thread to lock it in place. You can do this by turning your stitch length to 0 and sewing 5-6 stitches at the start and stop of every seam. Some digital machines come with a setting which allows for a basically automatic tack stitch. The symbol for a tack stitch on a sewing machine typically looks like a dot with a circle around it. Check your machine’s user manual to see if this is an option on your machine. If the tack setting is turned on, when you first start sewing, the machine will first do about 6 stitches in places before the feed dogs engage and move your fabric forward as usual. Once you get to the very end of the seam you will press the reverse stitch button, and the machine will once again automatically sew another few stitches in place. This makes for a very quick and easy option for securing a stitch.

Tying off Thread Ends

If you experience the machine “eating your fabric” when using either a back stitch or tack stitch (this can happen with delicate fabrics), you may prefer the securing method of tying off your thread ends. Additionally this method may be visually superior on stitches where the beginning and end of the stitch will be visible. To do this you will sew your seam without any backstitching, but make sure to leave long thread tails on each side of the seam. After the seam is sewn, use a needle or seam ripper to bring all thread ends to the back and then tie them together with a knot. This is also the proper method for ending stitches at the point of a dart. Back stitching or stitching in place can create a pucker at the dart tip, so it is always essential to lock in your stitches by tying off the ends when sewing a dart.

Decrease The Length

In case your sewing machine does not have backstitch or stitch in place options, you can try decreasing the length of the stitches. Longer stitches are more vulnerable to pulling out compared to the shorter stitch. Aim for 16 to 20 stitches per inch and decrease the length at the beginning and end of the seam.

Try Manual Stitching

Manual stitching is just giving a human touch to the stitch. When you finish the seam, leave the excess thread. Use the excess thread to make a loop and tie a knot. Now trim the excess thread to create an efficient finish.

How Do You Stop a Stitch from Unraveling?

End a Stitch on Sewing Machine There are times when your stitches become visible and start getting out of shape. It is essential to secure such stitches with a backstitch or lock stitch. Backstitching is the ideal way to secure the stitch from breaking and hiding its seam. It is a simple backward and forward stitch done at the beginning and end of the seam.

How Important is Securing the Start and End of a Seam?

Starting and ending your stitching with one of these options is very important to keeping your seams strong. It is especially crucial for seams that receive a lot of wear and tension.
To understand the importance of backstitching, stitch two seams on some scrap fabric. Use one of the previously explained backstitching methods on one of the samples and sew the other without any backstitch. Now take the fabric and pull at the seam. Notice, the seam without any securing stitch will start to come undone, while the other sample will hold strong. Adding a secure locking stitch really doesn’t add much extra time when it comes to sewing a seam, but it could save a lot of time that would need to be spent repairing an unraveling seam.

What is Locking Stitch on a Sewing Machine?

Locking stitch is yet another popular type of stitch done on a sewing machine. It makes single stitches at the beginning and end of the fabric, to keep the stitch secure. It is merely a straight stitch that you do on the sewing machine.

Why Do You Need to Secure the End of the Seam?

End a Stitch on Sewing Machine When you sew a fabric, there is a start and end to the seam. It is essential to ensure that these points are not unraveling and stretching out in different shapes. You need to provide a neat finish to your stitching. The starting and ending point a seam can be secured with the help of a backstitch and lock stitch. Backstitching is simply backward and forward stitching done at the beginning and end of the seam to make the stitch stay strong. Lock stitching, on the other hand, is a built-in stitch feature in a majority of sewing machines; it makes a single stitch on the fabric both forward and backward without repeating it.

Can a Zigzag Stitch Be Used As A Back Stitch?

Zigzag stretch is making a continuous row of letter “W” on the fabric. There are different types of zigzag stitches according to its stretch. The zigzag is commonly used for enclosing raw edges. So, in some cases, you can use a zigzag stitch as a backstitch to keep the seam from unraveling and proving a firm hold to the stitch. But, in most cases, a zigzag stitch also needs a backstitch for better hold.

Do You Backstitch A Stay Stitch?

Stay stitch is a regular stitch that you do on any fabric. It is done within the seam allowance so that it is not revealed on the fabric. You can backstitch your stay stitch if you need it. But, in most cases, the stitch line will be caught up in the seam. So, you don’t necessarily have to do a backstitch.

Do All Stitches Need Backstitched?

Any seam that is meant to be permanent will need to be secured with a backstitch. Stitches that typically do not need to be secured include stay stitching and basting as these steps are typically followed up by sewing a normal stitch that would include a backstitch. Additionally, you will never want to secure a stitch that is being used to create gathers. For gathering the thread needs to be allowed to slide through the fabric, locking your stitches with backstitching would prevent that ability. If you are following directions from a sewing pattern, backstitching will be assumed with any seam sewn and they will typically state only if you do not need to backstitch.

Introduction: Tying Off to Finish Sewing

The way you tie off when you’re done sewing a seam (or when you’ve come to the end of your thread) is very important to the the durability of your work! In this lesson, I’ll show you how to tie off both with and without knots, as well as a nice way to hide thread ends when sewing on felt. These ways of tying off are primarily used with running and back stitches. Other stitches have their own ways of being tied off — I’ll cover that when we get to them!

Step 1: Tying Off With a Double Threaded Needle

This is the absolute easiest way to tie off. It may also be one of the major reasons I almost always sew with doubled thread. 😀 Cut the thread right below the needle and tie the two halves together. If you’ve got loads of thread left, just leave a tail of 2-3 inches to make tying the knot easier. I normally do three knots. My gram did too. I have no real reason for this except that three feels like the best number. When you knot, tighten the first knot right down to the fabric but no further! If you pull the first knot too hard you can make the stitches too tight which will lead to the fabric puckering. After the first knot, you’re safe to tie really tight knots!

Step 2: Tying Off With a Single Threaded Needle by Knotting

Tying a knot this way can be a little tricky for beginners, but with a little practice it’ll become easy! The best way to make this easier on yourself is to leave enough thread to tie a knot. Always stop sewing with about three inches of thread to spare until you get good at making knots. Loop the thread to make a knot, but instead of just pulling the thread into a knot immediately, place your finger on top of the thread to hold it down against the fabric near where you want the knot to end up.
Holding the knot in place while tightening.
A tiny, perfect knot! Keep pulling on the thread end as you hold the loop down — it will get smaller and smaller until it eventually becomes a knot! Use your fingers to guide the knot into the right place. Trim the excess thread and viola! You’re done. 😀

Step 3: Tying Off With a Double or Single Threaded Needle Without a Knot

This is a really fantastic trick to tie off without knotting! You can even use this trick to anchor your thread before you start sewing. I don’t use this very often (simply because I tend to go onto autopilot and sew the way I was taught) but it is a strong and reliable way to secure your stitching. 😀 This way of anchoring the thread can be a bit more visible than a knot when the seam is pulled flat, so try to keep this style of tying off slightly in the seam allowance if you can! At the end of your line of stitching, make a very tiny stitch (this stitch should go through both layers of fabric!) and pull the thread through. Now reinsert the needle and put it through the same stitch. Pull gently on the thread and you’ll see a loop forming. Pass your needle through the loop and begin to pull. Keep pulling until the loop entirely flattens out. Cut off the tail end and you’re done!

Step 4: Tying Off on Felt

When you tie off on felt, you’ll want to hide the thread end. The majority of the time you sew with felt you’ll be sewing where the stitches will be visible! Tie a regular old knot (like the one I showed using a single thread) and butt the knot up against the felt as best you can. Insert the needle next to the knot and bring it back out in the middle of the felt. Make sure the needle is between the two layers of felt! Pull on the thread end to tighten it and snip it with scissors. Let go of the thread end and it’ll shrink back inside the felt. BOOM! Hidden thread ends and a nice neat knot. Now that we’ve covered threading the needle, knotting the thread and tying off, let’s learn about pressing, pinning and cutting fabrics! Be the First to Share


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. 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. Sources: Hand Sewing Needle Guide | Essential guide to sewing machine threads | Gathered Double Thread Knot Sewing : 4 Steps (with Pictures) | Instructables

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