How to End a Stitch: Instructions for Every Type of a Stitch

Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
Reviewed By
Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 12, 2023
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Working on your sewing project can be a calm and excellent pastime activity for you. You get to design your pieces and come up with a finished piece Trusted Source How to make the perfect dress | Craft | The Guardian For summer style perfection, nothing beats making your own dress. Perri Lewis offers a guide to the whole process, from dressmaking classes to patterns and materials that you will be proud of. The issue comes in when you have to end your stitches. If you are not careful, you might find yourself unraveling an entire row of stitches. If you are stitching by hand, this means you will take more time to redo all the work you have done. Unraveling might also fray your fabric, especially if the material is delicate. These reasons show just how important it is for you to know how to end a stitch properly.

Many people are conflicted when it comes to lock stitches over which one is stronger. The reality is, all stitches are just as good as long as you tie them off well. To help push this point home, let us look at the various ways to end your stitches, whether you are hand stitching or machine stitching.

How to End a Stitch Properly?

There are several ways of securing your stitches properly. The most common methods when hand stitching are backstitch, looping through some stitches, and hiding the knots. When you are machine stitching, you can either do a tying stitch, a backstitch, or a true lock stitch. Let’s evaluate all these stitches in detail.


How to End a Stitch: Instructions for Every Type of a StitchHand stitching is the best way to start if you are a beginner. You get to practice your stitches without a hassle and know the different types of fabrics as you go along. The one downside with hand stitches is figuring out how to end them without making the end too visible on the right side. Here are the steps to ending your stitches when it comes to hand stitching.

  • Backstitches

The easiest and common way many people use when ending a stitch is backstitch. All you need to do once you are done with your row of stitches is turn your work and stitch back on the row of stitches you just did. You do not need to stitch back the entire way. Just 4-5 stitches are enough to secure it.

  • Looping Through

Another easy way to end your stitches is by looping through. Looping through is done on the wrong side of the fabric. Once you are done stitching, pass the needle through the fabric on the wrong side. Using one of the stitches created, pass your needle through to create a loop with your thread. Pass the needle through this loop, and it will create a knot.

You can cut the thread after making the loop. One thing you need to remember when doing this is to be careful not to cut the knot when cutting the thread.

  • Hiding the Knots

Hiding the knot works very well with a single strand of thin thread because the knot is small in such cases. Hold your needle next to the thread peeking out of the fabric and then wind thread on your needle clockwise. Push the needle through the fabric while holding the end of the thread tight. Push out your needle a little distance from where it went into the fabric and pull on it. The area where you wound up your thread would form a small knot. Tug at the thread until the knot you formed ‘pops.’ Be careful here as you might rip a hole in your fabric if you tag too hard.


Machine-stitching is the easiest way for you to lock your stitches. There are no significant changes you have to make, like turning your fabric upside down. The finished end looks cleaner than it would when you hand stitch it. Here are the three ways you can finish off your stitches when using a machine.

  • Tying Stitch

The most common way to end your stitches when machine stitching is a tying stitch. All you need to do is stitch your fabric to the very end. Cut the thread loosely, then tie the two ends together at the seam. You can also stop the stitching when you need it to end, turn your fabric and pull the threads through before locking them together.

  • Backstitch

Using a backstitch to end your stitches is an ingenious way of doing things since it ensures your stitches do not unravel. Stitch your way across the length or width of the fabric until you get to where the stitch is supposed to end at. Once you get here, turn your machine on reverse stitch and stitch back 4-5 stitches. Remove the reverse stitch setting and stitch to the end of the fabric. You need to remember that not all machines can reverse stitch. One of the best-reviewed machines that can reverse stitch is the Juki HZL-DX Series Sewing Machine HZL-DX7 since it has been in use for a while now.

  • True Lock Stitch

Over the years, there have been machines that have been developed with a lock stitch function to make ending the stitch easier. On top of this list is Bernette b42 Funlock Coverstitch Machine. It has a neater finish than the backstitch method. If your machine can do this automatically, it will set a couple of stitches at the end and do the lockstitch itself. If you do not have this option, make the stitches as short as possible once you get to the end.

However, be careful as the stitches can knot and make the ends look bad.

Bottom line

Numerous resources are available to help you get it right. If you are a beginner with intentions to pursue sewing for an extended period, consider joining groups of like-minded individuals to help you perfect your craft and learn the basics of stitching without too much hassle. Ending your stitches well will determine how long they will last after sewing. It is for this reason that you need to find a method that you can comfortably work with. If you have never learned how to end a stitch, practice on a couple of scrap pieces of fabric. You will learn the proper tension and how to go about it. You also get to see the mistakes you might make and rectify them before using your main fabric.


How to make the perfect dress | Craft | The Guardian
For summer style perfection, nothing beats making your own dress. Perri Lewis offers a guide to the whole process, from dressmaking classes to patterns and materials
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