How to End a Stitch When Sewing by Hand


Ending a stitch when hand sewing is somewhat tricky. It is harder to back stitch when you sew by hand than it is when you use a sewing machine. When hand sewing, it is important to hide the end of the stitch so that it is not visible when looking at the seam line. Typically, this is done by hiding the end of the thread inside layers of fabric or under a flap where it is hard to see the end of the stitch. There are three ways to end a stitch by hand: through knotting, stitching and locking.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle
  • Thread


  • Make a loop in the end of the thread with your finger after completing the seam.

  • Pass the needle through the loop.

  • Pull the loop tight against the underside fabric to make a knot. If necessary, make a second knot so that the knot does not pull through the fabric.


  • Push the needle up through the right side of the fabric after the seam is complete or you reach the end of the fabric. Push the needle through the fabric along the original seam.

  • Place the tip of the needle about one-eighth of an inch away from the entrance point of the needle. Make sure the needle's point is resting on a previously made stitch.

  • Push the needle through the fabric. Make about three of these tiny stitches, then cut the thread. The small stitches should hold the rest of the stitches in place.


  • Pass the needle under several layers of fabric near the seam, such as under a hem, cuff or even the seam allowance. You can also pass the needle into the fabric of the seam allowance hidden inside a hem or other area of the fabric.

  • Pull the needle through the hidden fabric about one-half inch.

  • Pull the needle out of the hidden fabric back to visibility. Trim the end of the thread close to the fabric so that the thread will vanish inside the hidden layer of fabric. Because the thread is behind the seam line, it will not unravel.

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