Sewing for Beginners

How to End a Stitch

By Jessica Strohlson

There are two stitching methods used to complete an end stitch; you can end your stitch by hand-stitching or by machine-stitching. Now that you’ve competed for your sewing project, whether it was designing your own dress, mending your favorite pants, or creating your very own, personalized Halloween costume, you will need to know how to complete your stitching. End-stitching by hand is fairly simple while ending a stitch on a sewing machine is even more simple. So, here are a few simple steps on how to end your stitch, first by hand followed by a step-by-step guide to end stitching on a sewing machine.

End a Stitch Through Hand-Sewing

As you would do any time you want to sew, be sure to have your fabric and your needle ready to go! Pro tip: always be sure to work in a well-lit area.

Step 1: The first thing you will want to do is flip your fabric over. You will need to have the wrong side of the fabric face you in order to see the length of your stitches as well as any knots made to end your stitch.

Step 2: Now it’s time to pick up your needle. You will be sliding your needle under your stitch and pull your thread all the way through the loop so that it comes out from the opposite side. Now you can pull until your thread forms a loop. You will want this loop to be at least 1 inch wide.

Step 3: Create a knot. In order to create your knot, insert your needle through your 1 in a wide loop and pull it tightly.

Step 4: Tie your thread to double knot the stitch. When you find yourself working with thicker, heavier fabric, you will want to double-check that your stitches are secure enough. To do so, you will want to insert your needle through your same stitch in order to create another loop. Once you have done this, you can pull your needle through this loop and pull it tightly to create that double knot.

Step 5: Get rid of any excess thread. For your final step, you can now trim any of the excess thread with a pair of your sharpest sewing scissors. Then, simply turn your fabric over. Keep in mind that you will not be able to see any of your stitches or thread when you flip your fabric over.

That is all you need to know to finish that stitch by hand! Easy, right? Now, what was that second method again? End Stitching with a sewing machine, an even easier method. Now let’s get into the 5 simple steps for end stitching with a sewing machine.

End a Stitch Through Machine-Stitching

Now let’s try ending a stitch with a sewing machine. So before we get started, be sure to dig out that machine from the back of your closet. Do you have it? Good, let’s get started on these simple steps.

Step 1: Using whatever stitch you would like, machine stitch your fabric until you are roughly 3⁄4 of an inch away from the edge of your fabric.

Step 2: Reverse. For this step, simply press the reverse button on your sewing machine. Depending on your sewing machine model, the reverse button can either require you to hold down the reverse button as you sew your stitches.

Step 3: Begin backstitching. For this step, you are going to want to make 3 to 5 backstitches once you have pressed on that reverse button. On its own, the machine will glide over your previously sewn stitches and secure them in place.

Step 4: Back to forward stitching. Now we can let go of that reverse button on your sewing machine and forward stitch over the stitches you have just made. This time, you will want to keep stitching until you reach the end of your fabric as there is no need to leave any more room.

Step 5: Cut your thread. Finally, you can lift your needle using the handwheel and pick up your fabric. You will want to carefully cut whatever thread is left over from the last stitch.

Now that you have officially mastered the art of end-stitching, you are ready to end and finish your sewing like a pro. So, what’s next? There are a plethora of different types of stitching methods and techniques to add to your tool belt and build your sewing skills. These stitches include backstitch, lockstitch, chain stitch, zigzag stitch, and plenty more!

Backstitch by Hand

Did you know that the strongest stitch by hand is the backstitch? The main purpose of the backstitch is to sew strong seams without a sewing machine. Backstitching can be used for decorative purposes as well. In order to learn how to backstitch, simply follow these 5 easy steps

  1. Begin by knotting your thread.
  2. Create your first stitch by pulling your thread through your fabric and up to the knot at the end.
  3. Stitch Backwards. In order to do so, you will need to take a small backstitch in your fabric by inserting your needle in the same place you started. Next, you will need to bring your needle up in the front of the next stitch keeping an equal distance.
  4. Pull your needle through.
  5. Repeat the process all the way along your seam until you reach the end.

If you want to backstitch using your sewing machine, you will simply need to sew in reverse. many sewing machines offer an option to sew in reverse, there are a few models out

there that do not have this function. If this is the case, you will simply need to leave your needle down on top of your fabric while changing the direction of the fabric in order to obtain the same result.


The purpose of a lockstitch is to secure the end of your seam when you are sewing. Lock Stitches are mainly known to be used on sheer fabrics or fabrics that tend to have a large amount of drape. Many sewing machine models now offer a lockstitch feature built straight into the machine. To create a lockstitch with your machine, simply begin sewing your single stitch forward and backward without repeating too many stitches.

Chain stitch

Chain stitching gives a chain-like effect and is most commonly used to hem a pair of jeans.

Zigzag stitch

Zigzag stitches are typically used for knit fabrics as it allows flexibility. The zigzag stitch is most commonly used for hemming these stretchable, knit fabrics. This versatile stitch can also be used for finishing a seam, applique, satin stitching, and more.

Now that you are more familiar with the many different types of stitches as well as got a good grip on how to end a stitch, it’s time to get started on that sewing project of yours; or rather, it’s time to finish up that sewing project of yours!

If you still find that you need a little bit of extra guidance, or if you are more of a visual learner, be sure to also search up “How to end a stitch” on platforms like YouTube.

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