How to Knot Thread for Hand Sewing

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Hey, you!

At some point during your love affair with sewing, you will probably have to do some hand sewing. For example, when you want to apply a hook + eye closure.

And when that time comes, you’ll most likely have to begin with a hand needle threaded and with a single or the double thread ends knotted.

This knot ensures that your hand stitching stays put after construction.

Now, the way I was taught involves saliva and a simple hand motion. Yes, you read right: saliva!

But…

Frankly, while I can nail this knotty technique every time, it lacks elegance and hygiene! And it results in a fugly, bulky knot that is pretty difficult to hide discreetly!

In other words, it’s a bit of a mess!

Plus, I have absolutely no idea how to begin to provide a written description of the required hand motion.

So through research, I’ve discovered a hygienic and more elegant way to begin a session of  hand sewing…

NOTE: If you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies, please click HERE!

The Rules

Rule #1: Use sharps hand needles for wovens and general use. And use ball point hand needles for knits. (See the featured image at the top of this article.)

Rule #2: Cut off a length of thread that is no longer than approximately the length from your middle finger to your elbow, doubled. (It can be shorter if that is all you need.) Any longer than this and you risk ending up with a tangled hot mess when you hand sew.

Rule #3: To make it easier to thread a hand (or sewing machine) needle, I like to cut the end(s) of my thread at a 45 degree angle with my dressmaker’s shears or my embroidery scissors. Frayed ends can be impossible to put through the eye of a needle!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn more about hand and sewing machine needles!

Okay, let’s keep this simple and tie this knot…

How to Tie a Knot When Hand Sewing

Step 1: Thread your hand needle with a length of thread that is approximately the length from your middle finger to your elbow and then double it.

length-of-thread-cut-off-and-doubled-for-hand-sewing

Step 2: Pick up about two or three threads. Because you want to end up with a discrete knot. This is especially important if your fabric is very lightweight or sheer.

Depending on the project, you can start from the wrong side (WS) or the right side (RS). The beauty of this technique is that either way you end up with a discreet knot!

picking-up-two-or-three-threads-with-hand-needle

Step 3: Pull the needle and thread almost all the way through. You want to leave about 3 inches of thread tails.

pulling-the-needle-and-thread-through-leaving-thread-tails

Step 4: Now, you want to retrace your steps — and pull the needle through the same spot once more. BUT make sure you maintain the 3 inches of thread tails from Step 3!

retracing-steps-to-form-a-loop

Step 5: Now, get ready to make your “magic” knot. Just continue to pull your double strands of thread through carefully until you have small loop like this…

continue-pulling-thread-through-until-you-have-a-small-loop

And then, place your needle inside the loop — that is, thread the loop…

Step 6: Now, close the loop by pulling the thread all the way through.

And poof, the “magic” loop is gone!

thread-needle-through-loop-and -pull-thread-through-until-loop-is-gone

Step 7: You are now free to snip off the thread tails like this…

snip-off-thread-tails

In the image above, this is how it looks from the WS.

Step 8: And behold the itty bitty knot from the right side (RS)!

itty-bitty-knot-from-the-right-side

What you’ve created is a shockingly strong but flat, almost invisible knot! Honestly, I am stupefied at how strong this knot is!

Go ahead and pull on it like you mean business!

Pretty cool, right?!

Sew easy tip: If you decide to use a thimble, place it on your middle finger!

The End

When hand sewing, you now know how to tie a knot that is not only rather pretty but super strong too!

And as a special BONUS: No spit required!

Try out this technique, and then please care + share in the comments!

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to become the mistress of all the basic sewing skills required to begin the journey to unleashing your dressmaking superpowers!

RELATED: Click HERE to begin the 5-Part Series: How to Sew a Simple Dress!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to secure the start and end of a stitching line at your sewing machine!

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2 thoughts on “How to Knot Thread for Hand Sewing”

  1. Once again comprehensive is your middle name. Related posts at bottom of page a good idea. Concave and Convex curves I went to after. Thanks.

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