Sometimes when sewing, projects need to be turned right-side out and are left with a gap in the seam. The instructions usually say to hand sew the seam closed.
Learning how to hand sew a pillow closed would be a perfect example of this.
The most often used stitch is the ladder stitch, which is a strong and invisible stitch sewn by hand, making it nearly impossible to see the difference between the machine sewn seam and the hand sewn seam.
Because of this, the ladder stitch is also called the blind stitch.
Are ladder stitches strong?
The ladder stitch is a very strong stitch, which is why it is used to close seams in pillows, stuffed animals, or lined hems.
When sewing the ladder stitch, it is important to thread the needle and tie the ends of the thread together. This makes the stitching even stronger by sewing with a doubled thread.
Learn more about sewing an invisible ladder stitch by watching our video or keep reading this post.
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When can you use the ladder stitch?
The ladder stitch, also known as the blind stitch, is most often used to close the seams on stuffed items like pillows, stuffed toys and down coats.
For these items, once the stuffing is added to the project, there is no way the sewist can access the back of the fabric. In cases such as this, the seam will need to be closed from the outside by hand.
The ladder stitch is also good for mending and repairing ripped seams on items or when altering clothing.
Other uses for the ladder stitch are for closing linings in bags, hand sewing appliques to projects and attaching bias binding to finish the edge of a project.
ladder stitch (invisible stitch) tutorial
WHAT YOU NEED to sew the invisible stitch
- Item with an open seam
- Hand sewing needle
- Thread to coordinate with fabric
INSTRUCTIONS on how to Sew the Ladder stitch
STEP 1: Thread the needle
Use a thread that will not be visible on the fabric once the ladder stitch is complete.
Thread the needle with a long piece of the thread, doubling it up and tying a knot at the end.
This will make the stitching strong.
step 2: Hide the knot
The seam should be folded over with a seam allowance that is the same as the machine stitching.
Close to where the machine stitching ended, push the needle up underneath the seam allowance on one side. The needle should come up right on the fold line.
Pull the thread with the needle until the knot is hidden between the seam allowance and the front of the fabric.
step 3: begin stitching
On the side opposite the side where the knot is hidden, make a small stitch on the edge of fold.
Pull the thread gently.
Next, take the needle and thread back to the other side of the opening and, across from where the first stitch ended, make a small stitch along the edge of the fold.
Small stitches will be made back and forth from one seam edge to the other. Pull the stitches tight and you will see the thread will disappear into an invisible stitch. The smaller the stitch the more it will blend into the fabric with minimal gaps.
Make sure that each new stitch begins across from where the prior stitch ended.
To illustrate, below is how the ladder stitch appears when stitches aren't pulled tight. See how clearly the thread looks like the rungs of a ladder.
Continue this back-and-forth stitching pattern to close the opening.
STEP 4: KNOT OFF AND FINISH
How to secure the ladder stitch? When you get to the end, secure the end of the seam with a knot.
To make the knot, use the needle to pick up a tiny section of the seam opposite where the final stitch emerged. Don't pull it tight; leave a loop. Pass the needle through this loop two times.
Pull the needle to tighten; forming a knot.
Finally, insert the needle into the seam right next to the knot. Push the needle through the fabric as if making one big stitch.
When you bring the needle and thread out, snip the end of the thread close to the fabric. The tail will be buried inside the fabric and should not be visible.
There! The seam is closed with invisible stitches done by hand. See how invisible that looks?
Once you learn this stitch, your project will have a clean, tight, strong, invisible seam thanks to the ladder stitch.
Projects Using the Ladder Stitch Technique
Are you ready to put to use what you just learned? Try these projects which are finished off with a ladder stitch.
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