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"EMBROIDERY" What can I do to make the back of a design look presentable; like with a tea towel? Answered

When the reverse of a pattern will be seen, how can I make it look neat and not with threads going every which way?


It is very easy to start your stitching without a knot if you are using even number of threads. For used two strands, take one piece of thread DOUBLE the length you really want. Double in half, and thread your needle. Insert the needle in the material and catch the loop from the doubled thread and make sure you pull your needle through that loop. It will look like a petal stitch. No loose threads and no knots

I found a video link that teaches you a lot of stiches and shows how to make the back look as nice as the front! Enjoy! I watched several.


Cut a piece of self adhesive inter-face to fit and iron on with a warm iron. This works really well. I have a few tips about "neat" work and will make an Ible soon.

With a little care, front and back can be made to look the same - loose threads get sewn in behind the stitches. Or you can do cross-stitching, which can also be as neat on the back. Or you can add a piece of fabric to cover the back completely.

Oh!  It would be great to have someone make a video on neat embroidering stitches!  I love to do this but would like to improve the look of the back side. 

I'm wondering what a domestic machine embroidery machine does - my wife's is very effective in single colour work at producing a clean back, but once you go multi-colour, things get messier, even with careful planning. Maybe the OP could applique something on the back which frames the front embroidery ?

  • Use simple, short stitches like running, back, or cross stitch.
  • If your fabric (or your embroidery thread) is thick enough, you may be able to hide your knots in it. Tie your knot small and tight around a thread, but leave a little extra "give" in the length of the thread leading to the knot. Then take a stitch with the "tail" side of the thread, pushing your needle into the fibers of the fabric itself. Pull thread taut on the far side, and cut the "tail" as close to the surface of the fabric as possible (being very careful not to cut the cloth or your previous embroidery stitches). The knot should stay caught within the body of the cloth itself.
  • To start a new thread invisibly, insert the needle an inch or two away from the area you are stitching, and carry a "tail" of thread over on the back of the fabric. Take your first few stiches and then backstich through them to lock the thread in place - you can now safely cut off the "tail" of thread.
  • To tie a thread off invisibly, backstitch the trailing thread through a few of the last stitches to lock them in place, like you did with the starting thread, and then cut off.
  • Thread your needle with longer lengths of thread to minimize the number of new threads you have to start new and then later tie off. Wax thread with beeswax to keep it from tangling.
  • Work carefully and meticulously. The back is where embroiderers hide their errors, so you can't make any - or, rather, you have to unstitch and redo those erroars that we all inevitably will make. It helps to think of the embroidery not such much a goal to be acheived, but a process to be enjoyed. If you get too frustrated to enjoy the process, it's time to take a break. (My rule: if I swear out loud more than three times in ten minutes, it's time to get myself a cup of tea - if not something stronger :)

Oh, and like Jessy said, plan your work to minimize the number & length of threads that need to be carried from one part of the work to another. It can help to make a copy of the design on paper and doodle out various paths for the thread to find the shortest/best one.

I would recommend using simple stitches such as running stitch and backstitch, and making sure to work in such a way that you're never crossing too great an area without stitching. For example, if you have four words and a border, do each word (and when you do the letters, start at the bottom of the first, work to the top, and then carry over the to top of that letter, work to the bottom, carry over the the bottom of the next letter, etc), then knot and start fresh with the next one. Do each side of the border separately. I always make sure to cut off the bit after the knot as soon as I knot it. Those little end can get in the way of stitching and they look ugly! I've also seen people use a piece of quilting cotton as a backing. Just make a square large enough to cover all the stitches, fold under all sides of the square so there's no fraying, and attach it using a decorative sewing machine stitch, or even a running stitch using embroidery floss!