Learn how to do an invisible hand stitch, also known as slip stitch or blind stitch with this super easy ladder stitch tutorial. This hand-sewing technique is super simple to stitch, and with just a tiny bit of practice, it gives a neat, tidy seam every time!
Ladder stitch tutorial
Hey, guys! In today’s ladder stitch tutorial I’ll be showing you how to do a super nice, invisible stitch for virtually any sewing project you want! Sewing ladder stitch might seem intimidating to some but I promise you, it’s one of the easiest basic hand stitching techniques! I’ll be getting to the ladder stitch instructions in just a bit and you’ll see for yourself how easy it is to fall in love with this hand stitch!
Other sewing tips you will love:
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- How to sew canvas fabric
- How to sew perfect sharp corners
What is a ladder stitch used for?
Although I only started sewing in the recent years, I come from a long line of sewists (many of them on the professional level!). So I’ve spend my childhood years watching my mom and my aunts sewing and hand stitching a lot! Back then I noticed they liked to use one particular technique which my mom called invisible stitch.
I later found out it’s a basic hand stitching technique and it’s perfect for closing holes in items such as stuffed toys, pillows, cushion covers, lining in some garments and even for attaching bias tape or binding to a quilt. I’ve even used this technique for hand sewing hems back in the days when I wasn’t using a sewing machine.
How do you do an invisible stitch?
A ladder stitch will basically blend in with the rest of the seam becoming invisible. I’ll get into more details below, with step by step photos, but here’s a quick intro of the simple steps you need to take to hand sew your seams closed using an invisible stitch. You will need to have a seam allowance that is pressed crisp and neat as you will use the creases to guide you as you hand sew.
1. Press your seams in.
2. Thread the needle and knot the tails.
3. Hide the knot in the seam allowance.
4. Push the needle through one seam then to the second seam, parallel to the edge.
5. Push the needle to the first seam, parallel to the edge and the first stitch.
6. Continue across seams, forming a series of stitches that look like a ladder.
7. Pull the thread tight to close the seam and hide stitches inside.
I’ve used this wonderful technique to close a lot of my sewing projects and the latest I was working on was a baby mobile cloud with rain drops. That’s when the idea of making this ladder stitch tutorial came to mind. I realized I never showed much of the hand sewing techniques I use, except for the blanket stitch. I’ll try to remember to post more of these in the future!
A few tips on sewing the perfect ladder stitch:
- Make sure you are using a very sharp needle. You need the tip as sharp as possible so it catches the crisp edges mentioned above easily, otherwise it makes it all a daunting process, especially if you have weak eyes.
- Talking about weak eyes, use good lighting, right above your project.
- In close connection, using a magnifier is a plus, if you can set it up above the project, hands free.
- For a durable seam, use double thread instead of single (unless the thread is heavy weight)
- Do a double knot at the end of your thread for extra security. Just make sure it’s not bulky and that you trim the ends as close to the knot as possible (although if you manage to hide the knot properly inside the seam, this won’t be such an issue)
- Instead of constructing the ladder and then pulling the whole thread to make it blend with the seam and the fabric, do this every 2-3 stitches and smooth out the seam with your fingers. This way, by the time you’ve reached the end of the seam, the blind stitch will be truly invisible and smooth.
- Use matching thread to truly make the seam invisible. I used contrast thread for this tutorial because it’s so much easier to illustrate the steps this way but on a real project you will need to use matching thread for best results!
How to do a Ladder stitch
- project with open seams (like toys, pillows, baby mobile etc)
- sharp hand needle
- pressing iron
- Start by pressing the seams in, as per your projects’ seam allowance. Make sure you press them nice and crisp.
- Thread the needle with double thread.
- Tie the ends into a double knot and trim the little loose tails.
- Grab one of the edges of the open seam and insert the needle under the seam, from the wrong side of the fabric.
- Push the needle out, pulling the thread completely through until the knot is nicely concealed inside the seam.
- Push the needle directly across from the starting point at which your thread emerges and grab about 1/8″ of the edge of the seam.
- Pull the thread through completely but leaving the thread a little loose between the two edges of the seams. This will help you see where to push the needle directly on the opposite side.
- Go to the opposite site, directly from the second point at which the thread emerges and repeat the step.
- After 2-3 stitches you will notice your stitch is in a ladder pattern.
- At this point, pull the thread completely, to hide it between the two crisp edges then smooth out the seam with your fingers until the seam appears completely blind.
- Repeat all steps until you reach the end of the seam.
- At this point, use your needle to pick up a tiny section of the opposite seam.
- Pass the needle and thread through a loop and tighten to form a knot. Repeat for reinforcing the knot.
- Push the needle right through the seam to the center of the project.
- Then pull the needle out.
- Pull tight so the knot you made above is nicely hidden inside the seam.
- Then trim the thread as close to the fabric as possible, without snipping through the fabric. At this point the finishing knot should be nicely concealed inside the seam and the thread ends concealed inside the project.
And this is how you do an invisible stitch! I hope my tutorial inspired you to use this technique in some of your projects. I would love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment below and don’t forget to rate this tutorial! Thanks!