Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Sew a Lock Stitch, Technique #1

I've sewn lots of stitches in my project since our last visit, and I'm running out of thread. It’s time to end my sewing and re-thread the needle with a new length of thread. When ending a line of stitching always lock the stitch so your work doesn't come undone. I'm going to show you an easy technique today.

As always, I will show you how to do each step while sewing a stuffed softie made of felt where the stitches on the finished toy will be visible to everyone. 

You will see in the photos that there are dots on the stuffie. These show a beginner where to make each stitch while she is learning stitch spacing. Read about how I prepare sewing projects for beginners.

Making a Lock Stitch

When there are about 4½" - 5" of thread left on the needle, it’s time to secure your work with a lock stitch and rethread the needle. 

It takes about 4½" to make a lock stitch and the easiest way for kids to gauge this length is to measure the thread against a pair of thread snips. 

These items can all be used to gauge when it's time to lock the stitch.

Okay, let's do it!

1. Poke the needle up through the same dot on which the last stitch was made.  Like in the picture.

2. Don’t pull the thread tight; leave a loop about as big as your little finger. 

If the loop is too big the stitch will lock too soon. Expect a learning curve. It takes a lot of coordination to sew.

3. Poke the needle through the loop and tug.  Tada!  A lock stitch! 

Now make two more lock stitches in the same place. One… Two... Three.

Next, you need to hide the thread.

4. Poke the needle between the two pieces of felt close to the lock stitches.

5. Reach inside the softie for the needle. Grasp it and pull the thread to the inside.  

6. Cut the thread so there is a tail about an inch long inside the softie.  

After re-threading the needle, start sewing again in the next dot with a freshly threaded needle. Let your child choose a different colour thread if she wishes.

Happy stitching!


  1. I'll have to try this method! What I've been doing is similar, but I just do one time through, and I loop the thread around the needle 2 or three times. It's tricky to get the knot right against the felt, and it means it is a bigger knot, but I only have to do it once.

    1. If the knot is easy for your students to execute on their own and it holds even after the shape is stuffed, all should be well.

    2. It's kind of late to be adding to this conversation, but I just reread your comment today and it sounds like what you are describing is a surgical knot, which is a perfect knot for locking your stitches!


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