How to Hand Tie a Quilt: Step by Step

Last Updated on December 19, 2023

If you’ve recently created a lovely quilt from your favorite fabric panels, we’re here to guide you through the process of hand tying it for that extra touch of charm and detail.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll show you how to hand tie your quilt using basic embroidery floss, adding adorable accents that will make your creation truly special.

How to Hand Tie a Quilt


  • Use all strands of embroidery floss without separating them for a thicker, more substantial tie that adds warmth to your quilt.
  • Opt for a large-eye needle to make threading easier and accommodate the floss’s thickness.
  • Start by bringing the needle down through the quilt, wiggling it as needed, and then bring it back up, keeping the floss close to the fabric.
  • Tie two knots for added security and trim excess floss for a neat finish.
  • Experiment with tie spacing to create a personalized, charming look, adding a unique touch to your handmade creation.

How to Hand Tie a Quilt?

Hand Tie a Quilt

Use basic embroidery floss with all strands intact to hand-tie a quilt. Thread a large-eye needle and make knots at desired intervals by bringing the needle through the top and tying knots close to the fabric, leaving cute tufts as accents.

Trim excess floss for a charming finish.

Materials Needed

  1. Quilt made from fabric panels
  2. Basic embroidery floss
  3. Large-eye needle
  4. Scissors

Step by Step Hand Tie Quilt

Let’s begin with the step-by-step guide!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Start by collecting all the materials you need for hand tying your quilt. Ensure you have a quilt made from fabric panels, basic embroidery floss, a large-eye needle, and a pair of scissors.

Step 2: Cut the Embroidery Floss

Using an arm and nose measuring tool, cut a length of embroidery floss. Keep all the strands intact without separating them, as this will result in a thicker tie. Bring the two ends of the floss together to maximize thickness.

Step 3: Thread the Needle

Thread the Needle
Thread the Needle

Thread the large-eye needle with the embroidery floss. If the needle is thick, be patient, and try to thread it on the first attempt.

Step 4: Start Tying from the Top

Position the needle at the top of the quilt and bring it down through the fabric. Once through, wiggle the needle to ease it through the layers. Leave a fair amount of floss hanging from the bottom.

Step 5: Bring it Back Up

Bring the needle back up
Bring the needle back up

Bring the needle back up through the top, pulling it close to the fabric. Again, wiggle the needle as needed to navigate through the layers.

Step 6: Tie the Knot

Tie the Knot
Tie the Knot

Keep the floss on the needle and tie a knot close to the fabric. Repeat the process by tying another knot for added security.

Step 7: Trim Excess Floss

Trim Excess Floss
Trim Excess Floss

Use your scissors to trim any excess floss, leaving a cute little tuft as an accent on your quilt.

Step 8: Repeat the Process

Continue hand tying your quilt by repeating the process at desired intervals. Experiment with the spacing between ties to achieve the look you desire.

Why do people tie hand quilts?

People choose to tie hand quilts for several reasons, each contributing to the overall appeal of this quilting technique:

  • Ease of Quilting: Tying a quilt by hand is generally considered easier and more accessible, especially for those who may be new to quilting or lack access to a sewing machine. It requires fewer tools and is a less complex than intricate machine quilting.
  • Quilting for Beginners: Hand tying is often recommended for beginners in the quilting world. It provides a simpler alternative to more advanced quilting methods, allowing newcomers to enjoy the creative and artistic aspects of quilting without the need for complex stitching techniques.
  • Quilting Large Projects: Tying can be a practical choice for large quilts or projects made from fabric panels. It is quicker than detailed machine quilting, making it more feasible for larger and time-consuming projects.
  • Decorative Accent: Hand tying adds a charming and decorative accent to quilts. The knots created during the tying process not only secure the layers but also contribute to the overall aesthetic of the quilt. This technique allows for personalization, as quilters can experiment with different tie patterns and spacings.
  • Alternative to Machine Quilting: Only some have access to a sewing machine, or some may feel less comfortable using one. Hand tying offers a viable alternative for those who prefer a more hands-on and traditional approach to quilting.
  • Quilting with Panels: As mentioned in the original information, quilts made from fabric panels may benefit from hand tying. Tying allows for the secure attachment of layers, especially when panels are sewn right sides together, creating a quick and charming finish.
  • Creative Expression: Hand tying allows for creative expression and experimentation. Quilters can choose different colors and types of embroidery floss, vary the spacing between ties, and create unique patterns, adding a personal touch to their quilting projects.


What is the best thread for hand tying a quilt?

The best thread for hand tying a quilt is basic embroidery floss, as it provides thickness and a decorative touch to the quilt.

What is the alternative to hand tying a quilt?

The alternatives to hand tying a quilt are machine tacking and using an embroidery stitch. Machine tacking involves using a sewing machine to secure the layers, while an embroidery stitch allows for creative embellishments without tying knots.

Can you hand quilt with regular thread?

Yes, you can hand quilt with regular thread. It is recommended to use 100% cotton thread, preferably mercerized and made from long staple cotton fibers. Any thread marked ‘machine quilting’ is also suitable for hand quilting.

What are the disadvantages of hand quilting?

  1. Time-Consuming: Hand quilting can be significantly time-consuming, especially when working alone. The intricate nature of hand stitching can require a substantial investment of time.
  2. Solitary Process: Quilting by hand, especially if your project is set up in an isolated space, can be lonely. The lack of social interaction during the quilting process may not appeal to everyone.
  3. Cost: If you’re purchasing a hand-quilted item, such as those crafted by skilled Amish seamstresses, the expertise and time invested to make these pieces expensive compared to machine-quilted alternatives.


And there you have it! Hand tying your quilt is a simple yet effective way to add delightful accents and secure the layers together.

These charming hand-tied knots add a charming finishing touch to any quilt, whether it’s a babydoll quilt or another type of quilt made with fabric panels.

Feel free to get creative with the placement and number of ties, making your quilt uniquely yours.

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