Wednesday, June 9, 2021

How to Sew the Ladder Stitch

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

I'm a firm believer that everyone should be given the chance to create for themselves. Over the years, I've heard so many people lament over the projects they wish they could do, if only they knew how to sew. This basic stitch will have you on your way to crafting in no time!

I also believe that you shouldn't have to own a sewing machine to be able to do fabric crafts or mending. 

Sure, it's nice to have, but not everyone has the space or budget for a machine, and that's okay. There are several easy hand-stitching techniques that will help you do most of the things you want!


The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

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Today, I'll be teaching you how to sew the Ladder Stitch.

This is a great one to have in your toolkit because you can use it to mend things around the home, hem clothing, or make adorable crafts!

The Ladder Stitch is ideal when you don't want your stitches to be seen. It's a way to close a seam and make it completely invisible. In fact, many people call this the "Invisible Stitch"...but you call it what you like!

To teach this technique, I'm going to show you how to sew up the opening of a pillow...but the technique is the same for any type of seam.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP ONE: First, make sure to press your seams open (with the project piece turned inside out) so that there is a nice straight edge to work with. This will make the entire process so much easier.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP TWO: After your seams are pressed, the edges of your fabric should be sharply defined, as you can see in this photo. This is the opening we're going to sew up.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP THREE: Turn your piece right side out. If it needs to be stuffed (like a pillow), now is the time to do that.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP FOUR: Thread your needle and knot the end. I always double-knot my thread, but this is totally up to you.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP FIVE: Remember that nice straight seam you ironed? It's going to hide your first stitch. You'll start your needle from inside the project, coming up right along one of the sharp edges. 

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

It doesn't matter which side you start on, although you might find that you have a preference as you gain more experience, and also depending on whether you're right- or left-handed.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP SIX: Your second stitch is going to occur on the opposite seam edge, directly across from where your needle entered. You will need to slip your needle in between the seam and come out about 1/4" away.

Take care that you aren't picking up the fabric with your needle, and you're simply stitching your thread just inside the pressed seam.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP SEVEN: Your third stitch will happen exactly the same way...directly across from where you ended your second stitch. It's important to make sure that you keep the stitches aligned, directly across from each other, and about the same size.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP EIGHT: You'll continue stitching this way, switching sides on each stitch. If you've done it correctly, it will look like this. See how it looks like the rungs of a ladder?

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP NINE: Every few stitches, give your thread a gentle tug, and it will close up the opening sort of like a zipper. Don't pull too hard because that will make the fabric pucker--just pull enough to bring the two sides of your fabric together, and keep stitching to the end.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

STEP TEN: At the end of the opening, knot your thread, and sew back through a previous stitch.

If you keep your knot about 1/4" from the piece, you can "lose the thread" inside the piece. To do this, push the needle into your project and out at some far away point. Now, gently tug the thread until that knot pops through the fabric and is lost inside your craft. Then, trim your thread to release your needle.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

When your project is complete, you will never be able to see the seam because of the "invisible" ladder stitch! It's the perfect way to create a neat and tidy finished edge.

The ladder stitch is a simple hand-sewing technique to close up a seam invisibly

Ready to learn another simple hand-stitching technique? Be sure to check out my tutorial for how to sew a blanket stitch, as well! You can complete almost any craft project with these two simple stitches!


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10 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your stitch tutorial at Vintage Charm!

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  2. Hello, this is one of my personal favorites for last week’s Encouraging Hearts and Home. I hope you stop by and say hello, this post has also been pinned to the Encouraging Hearts and Home board! Thank you for being a part of Encouraging Hearts and Home, we appreciate all that you share. Have a great week ahead!

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    1. That is so great to hear, Melynda! I'm thrilled that you loved it! xo

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  3. Kristi,
    Great tutorial. I did this many years ago and it was great to have a my memory jarred again. Congratulations, you are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things Party. I hope you stop by. https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2021/06/thursday-favorite-things-party_17.html
    Hugs,
    Bev

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    1. Wow, Bev--what an honor to have you feature my tutorial! Thank you so much! xo

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  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial, especially for the detailed photos. I learned to do this stitch LONG ago, but I'd forgotten how. Lately I've finished my pillows by hot-gluing them shut!

    And thanks for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!

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    1. Oh my goodness, Richella--this fills my heart! I always hope that these tutorials help others, so you've made my day. And I'm so honored to have you feature this post--thank you! xo

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  5. Well have I been doing it all wrong! Thank you for the reminder on how to do it THE RIGHT WAY! The photos were extra helpful too.

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    1. I'm so very glad it was helpful, Marie! Some of these basic stitches can make life so much easier, don't you think? Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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