Not to dishonor Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be”, but as quilters our question is more likely to be “to clip those loose threads or not?” We all know they can make a mess if just allowed to hang on the back of the quilt top.

This is my take on loose threads, and you don’t have to agree, but I am rarely bothered enough by those threads to take time to clip them off.

You either gasp in horror at this point or break out laughing.


I am aware they can make a huge mess, and if I am not careful as I sew, a good portion of them end up in the seam and show up on the front of the quilt.  Sheesh….now they really do need clipped, right?


I rarely use white or any other light color for a quilt background – because I know this about myself. The first quilt I ever made with a white background I learned the hard way about not clipping those threads because I had it completely basted and in the frame for hand quilting and gasp…. I could see the darker threads.  Many hours later, I had un-basted the quilt sandwich and clipped all those threads.  Then to put it all back together……Ugh….


If it is a scrap quilt, I use that as a chance to use up all those colored, partial spools and bobbins of leftover thread that probably don’t match much of the fabric in the current quilt top. See another post:

By now you are either so horrified you stop reading, or you are rolling on the floor laughing because you do the same thing.

Bonnie Hunter quote: Decide for yourself what matters to you and what doesn't.
Source: Quiltville


I decided long ago that I was more concerned about accurate cutting and piecing than about always matching the thread to the fabric, or clipping all those nasty loose hanging threads that appear on the back of my quilt top.

I am careful to take the time to pull them back out of the way when sewing the seams and since I usually use darker background fabrics it is rarely noticed if I choose to ignore the clipping step.

Quilters, whether you are a beginner or very advanced in your quilt making exactly what part of the quilting process is priority is up to you.  No one is going to die if we do a shortcut on our quilts.  Yes, they should be well made, but some things are not worth the time.

I refuse to stress about loose hanging threads on the back of a top that once it is quilted will never show up anyway.  So now you know my awful secret…


To clip those loose threads or not? I encourage you to make your quilts, your sewing process, and your priorities while quilting your very own. Only you can decide what causes you stress while sewing or quilting, and if ignoring some small irritant is right for you.

Photo of cupboard full of quilts with the words - live. laugh. love...quilt!
Source: Quiltville

Have a wonderful day of quilting.

Another thought about clipping threads:



  1. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!

    1. What a nice compliment that you would like to use some of the info on this blog. However, before I decide, would you please send me the link to your blog?

      Happy quilting.

  2. I love how you look at quilts and quilting. There is just no stop to you and all those ideas.

    My mom taught me to clip threads, and I have done that all these years. I read this post and thought it would be fun to try to “unteach” that for just one quilt. Well, I am on “non-light” wall hanging #5 and not clipping all those threads is very freeing. Thanks so much.

    1. Being free to create and enjoy is a big reason to quilt. Enjoy the process, and bend or break the “rules” as you want. Happy quilting.

  3. First, I really enjoy your quilt blog. I like seeing your current and past projects as they give me lots of ideas for my own quilts.

    Second, I just can’t agree with you about not clipping threads. I have tried that and the back of the quilt top just looks so sloppy. But I am glad you are all about each of us doing what is important to us on our quilt journey.

    And finally, keep up the great work on this blog.

    1. I am really glad you are enjoying the blog.

      It is just fine that you clip your threads – that is important to you, and makes your quilt journey more enjoyable. The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all alike.

  4. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! Sometimes I really stress about matching threads or clipping the loose threads on the quilt top. Then I read this and realize that it might not even matter and I should not make such a big deal of it. Thanks a lot for reassuring and sharing your experience!

    1. I guess it just is that we all have to pick our “battles” and clipping threads is one I have just decided is generally not worth the fuss – at least for me. Quilting should be fun, not another stress in our lives. Enjoy the process.

  5. I have spent 2o20 using up partial spools of thread, and working from my stash. Having a great time and not concerned about matching the threads while piecing.

    If I have a light background I do clip the loose threads, but having a darker colored background means I pretty much ignore this step.

    Thanks for the great tips and blog. The photos are good too.

    1. Hey Ells,

      Glad to see you are checking out the blog. This crazy virus has kept us from quilting time together. If I remember correctly, you were the one who advised me to not worry about clipping the threads in the first place – too funny that years later I am writing about that here.

      Have a great day quilting.

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