The Easy Way to Tie a Knot at the End of Your Sewing Thread

bigger knot at end of thread

This is a wonderful trick I learned in a millinery class. It’s one of those silly things that someone shows you and you wonder why you never thought of that….  It’s simply the fastest way to tie a knot at the end of your sewing thread. I mean, right at the end, every time, without the knot slipping off the end of the thread.

needle and thread end in hand
Start with a threaded needle. Hold the end of the thread and the needle in the same hand, so that the thread makes a giant loop.
thread and needle held between thumb and forefinger
Grasp both thread and needle between your thumb and index finger. Hold them towards the eye of the needle. There should be about 1/4" of thread tail hanging past your thumb.
winding the thread around the needle
Wind the thread around the needle three to five times. The more you wind, the bigger the knot. I usually use my other hand to do this, but it's holding a camera.
knot has been slid partway along thread
Shift your grip slightly so you're pinching the wrapped thread and the needle. Grasp the needle with your other hand, and pull it as though taking a stitch. This will slide the little coil of thread onto the main thread (seen here).
knot at end of thread
Continue pulling the needle, until the thread has all been pulled through the coil. Let go of the end. You have a knot.
creating a larger knot
If your knot is not large enough, simply repeat the process. Make sure that the original knot is somewhere in the middle of the thread you're wrapping around the needle.
bigger knot at end of thread
Pull the needle through, as before. Now you have a larger knot, because your original knot is in the middle of the new knot.

13 Comments

  1. Teehee…. That is *exactly* what I thought when I learned it. I’ve never gone back to knotting off thread (starting or finishing) with anything but a bullion knot. (Well, except when I forget to leave myself enough thread. That’s a whole different thing, though.)

  2. One of my college costume instructors could tie a knot with one hand–although she showed me more than once, I never could figure out how she was doing it. I will have to try this method! (enjoying all your postings!)

    1. Yep – down with that. ;) I’ve learned to do a lot of sewing tasks one handed, mostly because I lack the planning skills to to obvious things (like threading needles and tying knots) in advance. *laugh*
      Glad you’re enjoying the site!

  3. Oh, I will SOOOO have to try this! I’ve never been able to master the ‘loop the thread around your index finger a few times, slide it off and pull” technique… I wind up with a HUGE snarl, not the neat little knot that everyone else under the sun seems to get. Thanks for the pointer. :)

  4. It would have been nice,if you had used a darker thread for contrast..it was difficult to see the light colored thread. Thanks

    1. Sorry, Matia – sometimes these things come up while I’m actively sewing something, and then I just take pics of whatever I’m working with.

  5. Thank you for this post. I’ve read about this method on other sites but just didn’t get it until now. You made it easy.

  6. It helps to explain to your readers which end of the loop of thread gets wrapped around the needle. I often try to remember this trick, but I don’t make a knot. This time, when I consulted your website, I failed the first time. The second it worked when I wrapped the thread loop at the side closest to that little tail hanging out between thumb and forefinger. If it’s already in your instructions, please accept my apology for not reading carefully enough. Thank you for posting this!

    1. Hi, DZ – I will recheck the article, and update it if I left that out! It’s easier to remember if you visualize it as a big loop (I always think of the Norse serpent eating its own tail), then wrap the loop part of the thread around the needle like some sort of fancy calligraphic O. I think in pictures a lot, though. :)

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