Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread - Tips, Tricks & Great Resources for Hand Embroidery
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Back of embroidery

Good evening everybody.
First of all, Mary, compliments for your site. I am a beginner and your site is my main source of reference.
I have a question concerning the back of an embroidery piece.
I am planning to embroider a bedcover (100% cotton) with cotton threads.
I would like to keep the back as neat as possible. I know that you are not supposed to make knots on your threads, but I find really difficult to keep the back neat without.
Are there any exceptions to this "rule"? Any suggestion about how to solve this problem?
Thank you very much!
Joined: 11/9/2011 3:15 pm
Posts: 2

Re: Back of embroidery

Hi, tiny - I think your best bet is starting your threads with tiny stab stitches and then covering them up. You can see how this is done in these photo tutorials on Needle 'n Thread: ... photo.html

To end your threads, you can use stab stitches as well, as long as they're worked in an area that will be covered with stitching. If you don't have a place where you can do that, then you can wrap the back of your stitches.

Another point to keep in mind, to keep the back of your work neat - be careful about carrying your threads across the back of your work. Whenever you have to move a short distance from one spot to another (by short, I mean about an inch) "travel" your threads through the back of nearby stitches if it's possible. You can see what I mean by this, if you look at this tutorial: ... ext-2.html

With knots, you can't guarantee that they will hold. And over time, they can loosen, or they can pull through. They can snag on things, and so forth. And they can also cause "bumps" on the front of your work. So it's probably best to avoid knots if possible.

Of course, there are exceptions, and there are other ways to start your threads. But stab stitches and wrapping the back of the stitches neatly have always worked best for me. I do this all the time on pieces that are regularly laundered - towels, tea cloths, etc. - and I've never had a thread come undone. And if you're conscientious about the way you wrap threads through the back of stitches, it won't look bad at all! Just maybe a little darker at the end of a line of stitching, but that's about it.

I hope that helps a little bit!

And of course, any other suggestions are completely welcome!

Joined: 6/1/2011 9:45 am
Posts: 437
Location: Kansas
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Re: Back of embroidery

Thank you for your prompt reply, Mary. I've tried the method you describe and it works. It looks a bit bumpy but I just need a bit of practice to improve. Thank you again
Joined: 11/9/2011 3:15 pm
Posts: 2