How to Bury Your Threads

This post is part of the Finish-A-Long Q1 tutorial week. 

Hello, and if you’re visiting here from the Finish-a-long, welcome to my blog! I’m Nicole and I’m an enthusiastic contemporary quilter. I’m a whiz at quilt math and making my own patterns. I also love quilt history and am working towards becoming a certified quilt judge.

Today I want to show you a bit about how to bury your threads. This is a good skill to have and is useful in several different situations.

Who needs to bury threads? Both longarmers and domestic quilters. (Hand quilters do this differently and I’m leaving them out because I’m not a hand quilter.)

When would you bury your quilting threads?

  • When you need to start/end a thread internally (ie, not starting the quilting at the edge of the quilt where you can trim it off easily)
  • When your thread breaks
  • When your bobbin runs out
  • When you totally goofed and missed an area of quilting.

This is a perfect example of the first. Leanne has used multiple colours of threads to match her piecing, and all the thread ends need to be taken care of.

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 3.27.05 PM.png

Image used with permission from Leanne Chahley of She Can Quilt. Her blog and Instagram.

This picture is an example of the last. Susan inadvertently skipped one of the yellow diamonds.

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 3.30.16 PM.png

Image used with permission from Susan Smith of Stitched By Susan Instagram and Facebook.

So that’s the why and the when. On to the how!

How do we bury threads anyway? You need a needle called a self-threading needle.

There are two styles of self-threading needles, and a DIY work around.IMG_8058

From left to right:

a self-threading needle, a spiral eye/side eye, and the DIY self-threading needle.

The DIY needle is pretty basic. Knot a small length of contrasting thread through the eye of a regular needle, making a loop. This loop becomes a giant needle eye, which is then super easy to thread.

How does it work? Or what am I actually doing with this awesome needle?

Your bobbin thread should already be on the top of your quilt and near your top thread. Tie them together in a square or reef knot. Pop BOTH threads into the eye of your needle.


Run the needle about an inch (2.5cm) away, making sure that you can’t see the needle on the back of your quilt. You want the threads to be in the batting layer, not sticking out on the back of the quilt! I like to align the needle parallel to and close to my stitching line. This will also help hide your thread tails.


You want to make sure that the knot you tied also goes into the batting layer, or at least into the fabric.

Trim the thread where it comes out of the quilt top. Discard your excess thread and move on to the next area.

BONUS TIP: bury thread tails as you go. Somehow it takes less time than if you do them all together at the end.

There you go! I hope this gives you another technique to improve your quilting.

Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to take a look around my blog and see what else I’m working on.

7 thoughts on “How to Bury Your Threads

  1. Well who knew? I didn’t know anything about self-threading needles or burying threads this way, and I have been quilting for 32 years! Thank you so much for the helpful instructions. I clicked on the ‘permalink’ thingy so I never lose them.


  2. Thanks for the info. I bury threads as I go with a self threading needle, but I had never seen the trick of the self-made one out of a regular needle. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I don’t have one handy.


  3. Pingback: Reminder to link up for the FAL! | Handwrought Quilts

  4. Thank you for the DIY needle option. I’ve tried one self-threading needles and they seem to shred my thread. At the beginning, I bury threads but as I get to the end of the quilt, I just clip them off 🙂


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