Are you sewing a pillow, scrunchie, or another project that needs to be turned right side out?
You’re almost done with your project and want to close the opening with a stitch that can’t be seen.
This is the perfect time to use the ladder stitch. The ladder stitch is an invisible hand stitch that can be used to close an opening in a seam.
Just So You Know: I’m right-handed and don’t know if my tutorials will work for those of you who are left-handed. Still, I encourage you to take a look at the videos and photos. Hopefully, the technique will be something you can use.
Sanity Saver: When you’re hand sewing, it’s common for the thread to get twisted. If this happens to you, hold up the project and let the needle and thread dangle. The thread will unwind but the needle may fall off the thread so keep an eye on it.
Needles and Thread
To keep this post focused on helping you learn how to do the ladder stitch, I don’t talk in-depth about selecting needles and thread for your project.
However, these are two important factors in hand sewing.
If you’re not sure what needle to use for your project, check out the Hand Needle Guide from Joann.com.
It features photos and descriptions of 14 different hand sewing needles, as well as needle threaders, thimbles and a couple of other hand sewing tools.
Does thread have you confused?
According to this sewingpartsonline.com article Thread Mastery: A Guide to Understanding Thread, all-purpose thread is what you’ll use 95% of the time. It is good for all weights of fabric and is usually made from polyester or cotton.
The Thread Mastery Guide is very in-depth and provides A LOT of information. If you want to learn more about thread, it’s a great resource to read and bookmark for future reference.
Video – How to Close Openings with the Ladder Stitch
How to Close Openings with the Ladder Stitch
The ladder stitch is an invisible stitch used to close an opening in a seam that was created by turning and/or stuffing (like a pillow or stuffed animal).
Tips for a Successful Ladder Stitch
- Make sure the project is right side out.
- Use a thread color that coordinates with the fabric.
- Hold the opening closed while you work.
- Clips or pins are an option to help hold larger openings closed.
- Smaller stitches are better than larger stitches.
Steps for the Ladder Stitch
- Make a knot in the thread. Insert the needle between the fabric layers into the fold close to the finished seam. Pull the needle until the knot is hidden in the fold.
2. See the thread coming out of the back fold? (A) Go across the opening to the front fold. Directly across from (A), insert the needle into the top of the front fold. (B) Push it under the fold a 1/8″ – 1/4″ and bring it back up through the top of the fold (C). Pull the needle and thread through.
3. Go across the opening to the back fold. Directly across from (C), insert the needle into the top of the fold (D) and take another stitch (E) as described in step 2.
The stitches you’ve taken should be visible and look like the rungs of a ladder.
4. After taking a few stitches, pull on the thread. The “rungs” should disappear into the seam.
5. Keep going back and forth from one fold to the other, pulling the thread every few stitches, until you get to the end of the opening.
Hand Sewing for Beginners
There are several basic hand stitches you need to know. Sometimes hand stitching does the job better than your sewing machine or it allows you to do something your sewing machine can’t.
The type of stitch really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.
I created a series of picture and video tutorials to demonstrate hand sewing techniques you should know:
You can see all the above lessons in one place at Hand Sewing for Beginners.
Projects With Hand Sewing
Most of the sewing projects featured on The Ruffled Purse require the use of a sewing machine.
The projects below need a little hand sewing, too.
- How to Make Pattern Weights
- Sew a Round Pillow Cover with Fringe Trim
- Sew a Square Pillow Cover with Pom Pom Trim
- How to Sew a Fabric Yo-Yo
- How to Sew a Tic-Tac-Toe Board
A couple of projects that require only hand sewing.
My main goals are to support, empower, and inspire you to discover the joy of sewing.
Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at email@example.com and we can work together to get it figured out!
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