Bury to secure…

I have received emails asking me if I bury my thread tails when I start quilting, or I would stitch my stitches tiny and then clip the threads close to the quilt.  First of all, I always pull my bobbin thread up before I start quilting.  The way I do it is I would use my left hand to tug on the top thread while I use my hand to move the hand wheel to bring the needle down and up.  By doing that, your bobbin thread should emerge as a “loop” through the quilt top, as shown.


I always start and stop my quilting by stitching really teeny tiny stitches before moving on.  Now, depending on time constraint and the type of quilt, I may or may not bury my thread tails.   If I am running late and I know that I have stitched my starting and ending stitches closely enough, I would go ahead and just the thread tails.  But I always bury my thread tails whenever I can – I think the threads have less of a chance coming undone.


Here I am showing how I bury my thread tails.  First I run the tails through the eye of a needle:


Then, I poke the needle through right at the starting of my stitching, and bring the needle through the batting (BUT NOT THE QUILT BACK) and back up at a nearby location on the quilt top, with the thread tails in tow.  I tug on the thread tails a little more before snipping – that should get those tails out of sight and out of mind.  No one would even know the thread tails are under there…


The buried thread tails would either be quilted over by subsequent quilting, or just be entangled in the web of batting fibers.  They should stay where they are… at least that’s my experience.

So, how do you secure your quilting stitches?  I should dearly like to know.

p.s.  My whole family is under the weather this week.  So, you probably won’t hear from me unless it’s something urgent and requires immediate attention.  With Quilt Market being so close, I do NOT need to be getting sick. :(


20 thoughts on “Bury to secure…

  1. I pull the thread through to the back and tie the two thread together. Then thread the needle and bury them in the batting. Hope you and your family will be feeling better soon. Prayers and blessings. Carol

  2. O dear!!! Get well wishes to your entire little family. I almost always bury my threads. I use a Clover “self threading” needle. They simplify my quilting life. I do, upon occasion, stitch teeny, tiny stitches and clip my threads though,

  3. Sorry to hear that you are all not feeling well. It’s not surprising with the temperature changes and all at this time of year. I hope you get a chance to just cuddle up and take some time to relax and rejeuvinate! Hoping you feel better soon.

  4. I snip….but I am a beginner, and learned a lot from this tutorial. I hope the family recovers quickly. Will you stay through for the quilt festival week in Houston? I’m going for the first time and looking forward to all the classes.

  5. Thanks for the review Wendy. If I’m making something for myself that will never be entered into a show then I bring my bobbin thread to the top, I take tiny stitches “lock stitches ” and cut my threads. If I think the project may be judged I do the same except I bury rather than trim. The self threading needles are worth their weight in gold!

    I was down for 24 hours last week – here’s to you being healthy and the family getting better soon!

  6. Machine quilting: I bury knots/tails on those quilts to be judged. If it is only a utility quilt, I start out with the tiny multiple stitches then work my way up to normal size. When I am far enough away from beginning, I clip my threads. I always bring my bobbin thread to the surface beforehand.
    Hope you stay well, too!

  7. I like to bury my stitches too even though I do make the small stitches to start and stop.

    I hope your family feels better soon, Wendy. No … you do not need to get sick now so take care.

  8. Don’t forget the self-threading needles! makes life easier when burying threads. Hope you all get feeling better quickly! It never failed, my little ones always got sick shortly after school started.

  9. I used to bury every single thread-end – but now I’m a bit like you, and often when I’m in a rush (i.e. most of the time!) I snip them if I think they’re sufficiently secured with short/overlapped stitches. I tried the ‘self-threading’ needles, but found they shredded the threads more often than not.

  10. To teach myself to be a little more patient I bury the threads. It does take an extra minute but I like the idea that no one can see them.

    Hope you and your family are feeling better soon! A bowl of chicken soup for all of you!!!

  11. Thanks for the thread tail tips! I bury and then get impatient and often just clip. I haven’t used the tiny stitches to start and stop so will start doing that! Hope you all get better!

  12. Wendy, like you, I start and end quilting stitching with shorter stitches. I have never buried thread tails, but I do have a new understanding of the value in that. I recently quilted a wall hanging using Isacord, a shiny rayon thread. As usual, I shortened the stitch length as I started and ended quilting. However, the threads began to unravel. Turns out that rayon is slippery enough that even the shorter stitch length won’t hold them in place. I definitely should have taken the time to bury those tails. Instead, as it is a wall hanging in my own home, and won’t get much handling, I ended up securing these spots with Fray Check. Not my most magnificent quilting work, but definitely a lesson learned.

  13. I bury the threads like you do, but my thread keeps breaking as I am swirling around quilting on my regular sewing machine. How do I keep the threads from breaking? I often see the thread binding up in the needle before the break. What am I doing wrong? Can you ask your readers this?

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