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How to Fasten Off Thread on the Back of Your Embroidery – video

How to tie off the tail of your thread on the back of your embroidery - video tutorial

So – one of the very first videos I made showed how to tie a knot in your thread, for sewing or embroidery. A reader recently asked me how I knot off the thread on the back of my embroidery. Good question! Here’s the answer.

That’s the back side of my Firefly Tree embroidery pattern you see me working on. 🙂

Here are all my posts about knots.

Before you knot that thread you need to know how much to use, so here’s one more post that doesn’t really have a better place to live. 🙂 How Many Strands of Thread Should I Use?

Return to the Learn to Embroider main Table of Contents.

Move on to the lessons for the four most basic embroidery stitches.


  1. I’ve been doing this but also doubling my first and last stitches before I weave the floss. I’m glad to know this might not be necessary.

    It was also helpful to see the back of your work. You hear a lot about making the back of your work look “as nice as the front,” but there’s not much about exactly what that entails. I never know how far of a jump I can make across the back of the fabric. What’s your opinion on the maximum distance you can “jump” before you should tie off and restart?

  2. Jenny – I don’t buy into the whole “back of your work should look as nice as the front” thing. Why? I’m all about making the extra effort when it makes a difference. I bind all my quilts by hand. I use ladder stitch to close my softies.But I don’t worry even a tiny bit about what the back of my embroidery looks like. 🙂

    For me it’s all about function. Carrying a thread even a short distance behind lightweight and light-colored fabric will show – so I don’t do it. Carrying a thread more than an inch or so inside a garment or on the back of a tea towel is easy to snag fingers and toes on – so I don’t do that either. But carrying a thread behind a heavyweight or dark fabric that is going to be framed in a hoop and hung on the wall? No problem. 🙂

    My opinion, of course. At heart, I’m really a very lazy stitcher. I take the time on the things that matter to me and I don’t worry too much about the “right” way to do things. It keeps my heart happy and my blood pressure low.

  3. thanks. I wish I’d asked earlier. I’m making an embroidered quilt in which the embroidery is on white quilting cotton, each block a different color (a gift for a teacher). I have indeed carried the thread short distances, and sometimes with dark thread! No more than 1/2″ I’d say, but still. Maybe it won’t be too bad. Perhaps the beauty of the hand binding will distract . . . .

  4. That short a carry probably won’t be noticable at all – especially on a quilt. It’s most noticeable on a softie, where the stuffing pushes the threads really firmly against the fabric. Things are looser on a quilt and that helps a lot. Have fun with it!

    • Judy SAYS...

      How do you tie off thread on the back when you just have one small stitch, e.g., a nose? There’s nothing on the back to work the thread under.

      Thanks, Judy

      • I don’t run into that very often, but when I do I have two options. If there’s other stitching around that tiny bit I’ll do that first to give me some anchor threads to tie under. If it’s just a lone stitch with nothing else nearby I’ll run my thread a couple of times between the strands of thread under the knot. I always feel like it’s not quite as secure, but I’ve never had one come loose so I guess it’s ok. 🙂

  5. Pingback: How to Start Your Embroidery Without Knots – video - Shiny Happy World