| |

How To Make A French Knot – The Easy + Simple Way!

Let me guess: you’ve landed on this page because you’re ready to learn how to do a French knot. You picked a fun one, this is one of my favorite stitches! I’ll be honest though: This stitch is notorious for being a little bit challenging when people first learn it. When I first started practicing this stitch, the thread would get tangled and the knot often times would end up looking less than stellar.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that hard! I will guide you through how to make French knots the easiest way I know how. You’ll learn how to avoid some common problems and my hope is that learning this will be a breeze.

And if you enjoy this tutorial, I recommend you check out this page full of other embroidery stitch tutorials.

  • An embroidery hoop
  • Fabric
  • Embroidery Thread
  • An embroidery stand – optional, but this stitch is a lot easier to do when both your hands are free
  • A needle – I like to use Milliner’s needles. These needles are a little bit different than regular embroidery needles. They’re really good for any kind of embroidery stitch that involves wrapping thread around the needle. The eye of the needle is the same width as the shaft of the needle which makes it way easier to pull the thread through.

How To Do A French Knot

There are two ways I generally recommend starting and setting up this stitch: I like to secure the tail of thread with my middle finger on the back of the fabric or use an away knot. I don’t recommend starting with a knot at the end of your thread because it can get in the way or get snagged.

how to do a french knot
  1. Come up through the back of the fabric with your needle and thread.
  2. Grab the working thread with your index finger and thumb. Now that you have everything in place, take the needle and twist it around the thread, wrapping the thread 1-3 times depending on the desired size.
  3. Keeping the wraps snug around the needle and close to the surface of the fabric, place the tip of the needle directly beside the hole you came up through. Then begin pulling the thread through to the back of the fabric.

    It’s important to not lose the tension on the thread when the knot starts to form. When you first start pulling the thread through, keep holding onto the thread until it’s almost all the way through; then you can let go.

Like any new skill, this stitch will take some practice. But once you’ve learned how to master this knot, you’ll be able to use it in all sorts of different ways. From filling in large areas, to using them for the center of flowers. They add a lot of dimension to your embroidery which helps keep things interesting!

Tips For Fixing Tension And Tangles

If you are having trouble with your French knot tangling or not forming into a tightly formed knot, here are some extra tips you can try.

how to make a French knot using an away knot
  • Try making an away knot (aka waste knot) through the front of the fabric a few inches away from where you want to make the first French knot. This is a temporary knot that will serve as an anchor for your thread. This way, you won’t have to worry about holding the tail of thread on the back of the fabric. The away knot will do some of the work for you, providing an adequate amount of tension on your working thread as you’re making the stitch!
  • Use an embroidery stand – this will free up your non-needle hand so you can focus solely on getting the tension right while making the stitch.
  • If you are using stranded thread, make sure that all of the strands are smooth and equal in length. I usually do this by pinching the thread and running it between my fingers. Then trim the ends and re-thread your needle. You can also use thread conditioner which will help keep the strands together.
  • Make sure you are are using the correct needle size according to how many strands of embroidery floss you are using. Using the incorrect size may make it harder to pull the needle and thread through smoothly. Check out this post for a needle size chart.

30+ Embroidery Stitches

Learn over 30 hand embroidery stitches with step by step photos and instructions as well as some extra helpful tips sprinkled in so you can perfect them even more.

Why Does My French Knot Pull Through?

Have you ever made a French knot and accidentally pulled it through to the back of the fabric?

If this is happening, then you may be making the stitch through the same hole you came up through. This can also happen more easily with fabrics that have a looser weave.

When you make the knot, make sure that the tip of the needle is going back down directly beside the hole you came up through. This will anchor the knot on top of the fabric and prevent it from slipping through to the back.

Size Variations

different sizes of French knots - each one made with a different amount of thread wrapped around the needle
French knots made with 1-5 wraps around the needle. (using 6 strands of embroidery floss)

The size of the stitches you make depend on a few things:

  • how many times the thread is wrapped around the needle
  • how many strands of thread you are using
  • what type of thread you are using

The examples in this post use stranded cotton floss, but there are so many other kinds of thread you can use that will also change the size and texture. Try experimenting with wool yarn, pearl cotton, or ribbon!

French Knot Stitch Flower

french knot stitch flower

Small flowers are easily made using only French knots.

  1. Make one French knot.
  2. With another color add five more surrounding the first stitch.

You can also fill in the shape of a flower with little French knots. This is great for flowers with small buds like lavender. To add more dimension, make the knots smaller towards the top by making fewer wraps around the needle.

french knot flower

Patterns Great For Practicing

All of the patterns below use the french knot, and would be great to practice with!

I hope these tips help you to create the perfect French knot. Once you practice and get the hang of it, I guarantee it will become one of your favorite embroidery stitches!


Similar Posts