FRENCH KNOT Stitch Tutorial & its 5 uses in embroidery

A French knot is a knot stitch made by wrapping thread once or twice around the needle and pulling through leaving a small and beautiful knot on the surface of the fabric.

This is that one stitch every embroiderer should be learning early in the learning process but most of the first timers have a dread of this stitch – which is not at all warrantied. It is easy to do this stitch – like any other hand embroidery stitch.

french knots made to decorate a design of a cat and  tree

And the beauty of french knot – I do not have to elaborate. They look like a rose embroidered on its own. The unparalleled texture given by a mass of french knots to your embroidery work is beautiful.

It is one of my favourite filling stitches, be it filling the whole design or as gap filling stitches.

Uses of french knots in embroidery

As a filling stitch inside the petals of flowers.

filling stitch french knot

or as a whole flower itself

french knot stitch used inside a flower in shades of different colors

To make cute animals in embroidery.

French knot stitch made to embroider a cat sitting on a tree

or the cute lamb embroidered on the easy to make baby dress ( tutorial &  pattern)

Baby lambs embroidered with french knot

As an embroidery border design

French knots used as a border stitch

To fill the gaps in embroidery.

embroider flowers made with frenchknots

Combined with bead embroidery.

french knots are combined with beadwork

Filling for center of flowers.

embroidered flower motifs are made with french-knot stitches in the center

How to make a french knot easily and beautifully 

You need a thin needle with a small eye to make the french knot. Like what you use for making bullion knot stitches. Thread your needle with two strands of thread. Catch the two tails and tie a knot.

Keep the fabric taut on a hoop/frame.

Step 1

Come up from behind the fabric (where you want the french knot to be). Hold the thread to the left. Keep the needle on top of the thread slightly to the back of where you came up.

Wrap the thread on the needle twice or thrice

Step 2

Wind the thread twice ( or once or thrice – though twice is best).

Step 3

Twist needle to the right, two thread away from where you originally emerged. Ensure that the thread is still taut on your needle. If they are not you can use your left hand to tighten them around the needle. Not too tight that all the loops disappear – you need some volume for the french knot. You may also be twisting your fabric in the process – just don’t worry about this at this point of time. it will be corrected.

Insert the needle into the fabric and push down slowly.

Now reach under the fabric and pull the needle through the wraps. Hold on to the thread till almost all the thread is pulled to the back. A perfect french knot will be formed.

You can make beautiful ribbon embroidery – french knot stitches with thin ribbons

French knot stitches made with small ribbon

How many wraps are right for a french knot

This depends on you and the effect you want with the french knots. You can even get away with a single wrap if it is a thick enough thread like a wool yarn or if you want a small knot in a specific place in the design ( like the top of the ear in the cat design above).

The usual practice is to do with 2 wraps around the needle. Increasing the number of threads in the needle will give you a fluffier french knot. For a very fluffy french knot, you can even use the full 6 strands.

You can mix small and big french knots so that there is variation in the texture of your embroidery work.

Related posts : 10 Different types of knots you can make with thread

bullion stitch


Updated on September 1, 2022 by Sarina Tariq

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3 thoughts on “FRENCH KNOT Stitch Tutorial & its 5 uses in embroidery”

  1. I am so grateful for sharing these wonderful stitches. I am new at this and find your step by step ecplanation inspiring. Thank you so much. Regards, Sandra

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