How to Make a French Knot

Working a French Knot. © Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to
  • 01 of 06

    About the French Know

    The French knot is one of several knotted stitches used in surface embroidery, and produces a knot similar to a Colonial knot. This stitch has a reputation for being a nightmare and one of the most difficult, but is actually quite simple to work once you get the hang of it.

    Read through all the steps first and then try it while going through the instructions a second time with needle and floss in hand. There are a lot of steps, but once you get the feel for it, they will blend together...MORE seamlessly. Practice the know a few hundred times and it will become second nature!

    French knots can be worked individually, in loose or dense groups as a filling, or along a line or path. A variation of the stitch is a French knot with tail, shown on the next page.

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  • 02 of 06

    French Knot Diagram

    Working a French Knot. © Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to

    Here's a diagram for making a French knot and an excellent tutorial can be viewed here.

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  • 03 of 06

    Making a French Knot

    To make a French knot, bring your needle up through the fabric where you want the knot to place the knot. Wrap the thread around the fabric once for a small knot, or twice for a larger knot. Do no wrap more than twice or you will end up with a lopsided knot.

    The tension of the thread around the fabric should not be too loose or too tight. The wrapped thread needs to be snug against the needle, but the needle should be able to slide through the threaded loops smoothly without being forced.

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  • 04 of 06

    Finishing the Knot

    To finish the knot, insert the needle back into the fabric close to the hole you came out of (almost in the same hole). Pull the thread through the wrapped loops and you will have made a French knot.

    Inserting the needle into the existing hole often results in a knot that's lost to the back side of the fabric when the thread is pulled though. Placing the needle close to the original hole - even if it's just a single split fiber away, gives the stitch a bridge of fabric to stand on.

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  • 05 of 06

    Practicing the Knot

    Practice makes perfect with this stitch. If you have not yet worked with them, try making several sample knots on a scrap of embroidery fabric. Once you have discovered the perfect tension when wrapping, the stitch is a piece of cake!

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  • 06 of 06

    General Stitching Tips

    • Work with clean hands and don't eat or drink while you stitch.
    • Stab the needle vertically up and down through the fabric as your create each stitch.
    • Keep your tension even to make smooth uniform stitches. If the stitch is too loose, it will look limp and and if it's pulled too tight the fabric will pucker.


    Please Note: Photographs, patterns and illustrations contained in this article are by Cheryl Fall, copyrighted © by Cheryl Fall, and are licensed to, Inc.

    Do not redistribute these...MORE photographs or illustrations in any form.

    This pattern is free for your own personal use only and is not to be used for items for resale.