Mastering the Art: How to Perfectly Finish a Sewing Stitch

Sewing is a timeless craft that has been passed down for generations, allowing us to create beautiful garments and household items with just a needle and thread. But as any experienced sewer knows, the key to a professional-looking finished product is knowing how to end a stitch properly. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just picking up a needle for the first time, mastering this essential technique is crucial. In this article, we’ll explore the various methods for ending a sewing stitch to ensure your projects have that polished, seamless finish. So grab your needles and let’s dive into the world of stitching!

What is a Sewing Stitch?

A sewing stitch refers to the joining of two or more pieces of fabric using a needle and thread. This technique has been around for centuries and is still widely used today in various industries, such as fashion, home décor, and crafts.

The basic concept of a sewing stitch involves looping the thread through the fabric in a specific pattern to create a strong and secure bond. While there are various types of stitches used for different purposes, they all serve the same function – to hold fabrics together.

Stitches can be created by hand or by using a sewing machine, with each method having its own unique advantages. Hand-stitching allows for more control over the stitches and is great for creating intricate designs, while machine-stitching offers speed and consistency.

Different Types of Sewing Stitches

As mentioned earlier, there are many types of stitches used in sewing. Each type has its own characteristics that make it suitable for different applications. Here are some common stitching techniques you may come across:

1. Running Stitch: This is the simplest type of stitch where the needle goes in and out of the fabric in equal lengths, creating a continuous line.

2. Backstitch: The backstitch is stronger than running stitch as it doubles back on itself at regular intervals. It is commonly used for creating secure seams or decorative designs.

3. Blanket Stitch: This stitch is often seen on edges like hems or blankets, where it provides reinforcement while also adding a decorative touch.

4. Zigzag Stitch: The zigzag stitch creates a zigzag pattern by overlapping two lines of stitches at an angle. It is great for securing seams that may be prone to fraying.

5. Slip Stitch: Also known as the blind hem stitch, this technique creates nearly invisible stitches on one side of the fabric while being completely hidden on the other.

How to End a Sewing Stitch?

When it comes to ending a sewing stitch, there are a few different methods you can use depending on the type of stitch you are working with. Here are some techniques you can follow to effectively end your stitches:

1. Lock Stitch: This is a technique used to secure the stitches at the beginning and end of each seam. It involves backstitching at the start and end of the seam, which prevents the stitches from unraveling.

2. Knotting: Knotting is another popular method for ending your stitches and is commonly used for hand-sewing. To knot your thread, simply make a small loop with your needle and pull it through, then pass the needle through the loop before pulling tight.

3. Back-tacking: Similar to locking stitch, back-tacking involves sewing a few stitches in reverse over the initial stitches at the start and end of a seam. This technique ensures that your stitches stay in place without any unraveling.

4. Fray Blockers: If you are using fabrics that tend to fray easily, you may consider using fray blockers or fabric glue to secure the ends of your seams. Simply apply a small amount on the edge of your fabric before folding it over and pressing it down.

Finishing Techniques for Different Stitches

As mentioned earlier, different types of stitches are used for various purposes, therefore they require different finishing techniques as well. Here are some common finishing techniques for different types of sewing stitches:

1. Serger Finish: The serger finish is commonly used on knit fabrics as it prevents them from unraveling by encasing the raw edges within two rows of stitches.

2. French Seam: This finish is perfect for delicate fabrics as it not only provides reinforcement but also gives a clean and neat appearance by enclosing the raw edges within itself.

3. Bias Binding: Bias binding is a great way to finish raw edges on garments, such as necklines and armholes. It is made by cutting strips of fabric on the diagonal grain, then folding and sewing it over the raw edges.

4. Hemming: Hems are used to finish the bottom edge of a garment or piece of fabric, preventing it from fraying. There are various types of hems, such as rolled hem, blind hem, and topstitched hem, each with its own unique purpose.

Final Considerations

In summary, ending a sewing stitch involves locking or securing the stitches at the beginning and end of your seam to prevent them from unraveling. The method you choose will depend on the type of stitch you are using and the fabric you are working with.

It is important to note that practice makes perfect when it comes to sewing stitches. As you continue to work on different projects, you will become more familiar with different types of stitches and their finishing techniques.

Remember to always take your time and be patient with your stitching. With proper technique and attention to detail, you can create beautiful and durable creations that will stand the test of time. Happy stitching!

Understanding the Various Types of Sewing Stitches

Sewing is a widely-practiced skill that has been around for centuries. It involves joining fabrics together using a needle and thread or sewing machine. There are different types of sewing stitches, each serving a unique purpose in creating various projects.

One of the most important aspects of sewing is knowing how to end a stitch properly. This is crucial in creating neat and secure seams that will withstand the test of time. In this article, we will explore the different ways to end a sewing stitch, as well as when and how to use them.


Backstitching is a popular technique used to secure the end of a sewing stitch. It involves stitching backwards over your previous stitches at the beginning and end of your seam to create a reinforced hold.

To backstitch, bring your needle up through the fabric at the start of your seam and pull it through leaving about an inch-long tail. Then take another stitch forward and bring your needle back through both layers of fabric, creating a small loop. Next, insert your needle into the loop and pull it tight, effectively securing your stitches.

You can repeat this process at the end of your seam to ensure that it is tightly secured. Backstitching is especially useful when working with delicate fabrics or when you want extra reinforcement on high-stress areas such as hems or side seams.


Knotting is another common method used to end a sewing stitch. It involves tying a knot at the end of your seam using your needle and thread.

To do this, bring your needle up through the fabric at the end of your seam and then wrap the thread around itself two or three times before pulling it snugly against the fabric. Finally, insert your needle into the loops formed by wrapping and tighten the knot. You can trim off any excess thread to create a neat and secure finish.

Knotting is great for securing seams on thicker fabrics or when you want a more subtle finish compared to backstitching. However, it can be time-consuming and may not be suitable for delicate fabrics as it can create bulk at the end of your seams.

Lock Stitching

Lock stitching is a technique used to secure the beginning and end of your stitch without creating any visible knots. It is especially useful when working with transparent or lightweight fabrics where knots or backstitching may be too noticeable.

To lock stitch, you will need to have a sewing machine with the ability to do this type of stitching. Sew your seam as normal, leaving a long tail of thread on both ends. Then go back and sew over your initial stitches one or two times using the reverse setting on your machine. This will effectively lock the stitches in place without adding bulk or creating any visible knots.

You can also use lock stitching by hand, but it requires more precision and patience compared to using a sewing machine. This method is great for creating an invisible finish on sheer fabrics like chiffon or silk.


Serging is a type of finishing technique commonly used in professional sewing to prevent fraying along the edges of fabric. It involves using an overlock machine or serger to create neat, enclosed edges that are more durable than traditional straight stitches.

At the end of your seam, simply turn off your serger and pull out your fabric. The serger will automatically create loops that you can easily clip off leaving behind tightly sealed edges. Serging eliminates the need for backstitching or knotting and produces clean finishes on seams that are prone to fraying such as those found in stretchy knit fabrics.

Blind Hemming

Blind hemming is a technique used to create invisible hems on garments. It involves sewing a series of small stitches that only catch a thread or two on the fabric, creating an almost imperceptible hem.

At the end of your seam, tie off the thread using either a knot or backstitching. Then trim off any excess before flipping the fabric over to reveal the finished blind hem. While this method may not seem as secure as others, it creates a neat and professional finish that is perfect for dress pants, skirts, or curtains.

Knowing how to properly end a sewing stitch is essential in achieving professional and long-lasting results. Whether you choose to backstitch, knot, lock stitch, serge, or use blind hemming, it’s important to choose the right method for your project and fabric type.

Consider practicing each technique to find which works best for you and your preferred sewing style. With proper ending techniques, you can confidently sew garments and other projects that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also built to last.


1. What is the correct way to end a sewing stitch?
The correct way to end a sewing stitch is to make a backstitch, also known as a reverse stitch. This helps secure the thread in place and prevents the stitching from unraveling.

2. How do I make a backstitch?
To make a backstitch, sew forward for a few stitches, then press the reverse button on your sewing machine or turn your handwheel backward to create a few stitches in the opposite direction. Continue sewing forward to complete the stitch.

3. Can I use knots to end my sewing stitch?
While knots can sometimes be used to secure a sewing stitch, they may not be as strong and reliable as a backstitch. Knots can also create bulkiness and affect the overall appearance of your stitching.

4. What should I do if my needle is stuck at the end of my stitching?
If your needle gets stuck at the end of your stitching, try gently pulling on the fabric while slightly adjusting the handwheel or pressing the reverse button on your sewing machine. This can help release any tension and allow you to smoothly remove your fabric.

5. Do I need to use special techniques when ending hand-sewn stitches?
Yes, for hand-sewn stitches, you can either make a small knot before trimming off the excess thread or weave in the tail of thread into several stitches on the wrong side of your fabric using a needle.

6. Should I backstitch when using an overlock machine?
No, most overlock machines have built-in functions that secure and cut threads automatically at the end of each seam or section of hemming. It is important to follow proper instructions when using an overlock machine to ensure clean and tidy edges without extra finishing steps.

In conclusion, knowing how to end a sewing stitch properly is an important skill for any sewing enthusiast. By following the proper techniques and using the right tools, you can achieve a professional and neat finish for all your sewing projects. From backstitching to knotting, these methods can help secure your stitches and prevent them from unraveling. It is also crucial to choose the right thread and needle for your fabric to ensure a strong and durable seam. Additionally, practicing good thread tension and using quality materials can greatly impact the overall quality of your stitches.

It is important to remember that taking the time to properly end a sewing stitch may seem tedious, but it ultimately results in a more polished and long-lasting garment or project. By following these steps, you can achieve clean and professional-looking stitches that will hold up over time.

Moreover, regularly checking and maintaining your sewing machine or hand-sewing tools will aid in producing consistent stitches. This not only improves the appearance of your work but also saves time and effort in fixing mistakes or redoing stitches.

Additionally, keeping an organized workspace with all necessary tools within reach will make ending stitches easier and more efficient. It is crucial to have a sharp pair of scissors or snips on hand at all times for trimming excess threads.

Finally, always

Author Profile

Jill Nammar
My name is Jill but everyone calls me Jilly. I design original cross stitch patterns inspired by vintage French and flowers. Roses are my muse.
I hope you have a cozy time stitching my patterns. Put the kettle on, relax and create a heartwarming piece of hand-embroidered art. Personalize your home and turn up the soulful charm with soulful stitchery.

My goal is to provide you with pretty patterns that promote peaceful stitching. My wish is for you to discover the gentle beauty of hand-embroidery.My patterns have been featured around the web and in Homespun Magazine and Boston Magazine. I find my bliss in cross stitch.

From 2024, I have embarked on a new venture—writing an informative blog on the “Embroidery and Cross-Stitch” niche. This blog is an extension of my passion, where I share detailed posts and respond to queries related to embroidery and cross-stitching.

The blog covers a wide range of topics from beginner tips, pattern creation, historical insights, and the therapeutic benefits of stitching. My goal is to build a community where enthusiasts can learn, share, and grow in their embroidery skills, ensuring everyone can find their own bliss in cross-stitch just as I did.

Thank you to all my customers and readers who have supported Sew French. Your kind emails, photos of completed patterns, and continual encouragement fuel my dedication to this beautiful craft. Join me in stitching a world of beauty and peace, one pattern at a time.