What is the general recommendation as to what to do with the thread from a seam that has been broken?

I have this concern when I am repairing stuffed animals, which my kids have a plenty of, that get worn from general play or roughed up by real animals. The following diagram might better illustrate my issue.

Awesome image of broken seam

In the above image the gray material represents the stuffing of the toy and the red is the existing thread from the stitching.

Normally what I do is repair over the thread a small distance to try and trap the existing thread from pulling out further. That does not always work and sometimes it comes out anyway.

Places where the seam only has thread from one end I tie my thread to the tail of the stitch and work away. I can't do that on both ends though.

I realize this questions motivation comes from small cheap toys but this would apply as well to some clothing seams as well.

2 Answers 2


If the ends of the old thread are long enough and strong enough, finish them off as you would the end of your hand stitching.

If the ends are strong enough but very short you can use tricks to tie the ends and tucked out of the way. My most used method is to stick the needle into the fabric close to where the last stitch is.
Then I make a loop around the needle and insert into the eye of the needle, in such a way that the thread will make a knot when the needle is pulled through the fabric. If you have enough length, repeat once or twice, to make a more secure finish.
If it is the last tuck, have the needle go up and down a few times going through the fabric of or near the seam.
You can do this instead of tying onto the new yarn, but your method will also work if the yarn is still strong enough.

I would still stitch the new seam over the old one, making the switchover more secure.

If the yarn is likely to break you may want to replace a bigger part of the stitching, even when the thread is not breaking yet. You can stitch over the old stitching or just next to it, or you can take out the old stitching and replace it with the new seam.


You could always try some Fray Check on the loose threads and then tuck/poke them into the stuffing.

  • This answer was flagged as low quality but I don't see a good reason for that. While we value as much information as we can some answers are perfectly valid if they are terse, such as this one.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 18:25
  • @Matt Sometimes such flags are auto-generated (based on length)
    – Erica
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 22:29
  • I was not aware that even happened . Thanks
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 22:58
  • Matt and @Erica, thank you both for the info and support. I'm still learning.
    – user1798
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 2:17
  • One good way to add length and helpfulness to short instructions like this in to add in an example or two of times you've done this and it worked, or issues you had.
    – user24
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 15:52

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