Do you need an invisible stitch, but the ladder stitch just won’t work?
Chances are the blind stitch (also called the slip stitch) will get the job done.
In the quilting world, this barely-there stitch is called the blind stitch. It’s often used in applique, attaching bindings to the back of quilts, on other quilt finishes, and stitching labels.
In garment construction, the blind stitch is called the slip stitch. It can be used to finish facings and hems.
Regardless of what you call it, this invisible stitch can be used anytime you need to connect one folded edge to a flat surface.
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 blind 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 Sew the Blind Stitch by Hand
- 1 minute 2 seconds – Applique with the Blind Stitch
- 3 minutes 4 seconds – Attaching a Binding with the Blind Stitch
- 5 minutes 19 seconds – Hemming with the Blind Stitch (also called slip stitch)
How to Sew the Blind Stitch by Hand
The blind stitch, a nearly invisible stitch, connects one folded edge to a flat surface such as applique, attaching a quilt binding, and to finish facings and hems.
Note: In all three picture tutorials, I’m using a contrasting thread so you can see the stitches. Typically, you’ll use a thread that compliments the fabric color so it’s even more difficult to see after the stitches are done.
Tips for a Successful Blind Stitch
- Use a thread that matches the fabric.
- Use a needle with a sharp point when working on woven fabric.
- Catch only a thread or 2 when taking the short stitch on a hem.
Applique and the Blind Stitch
Step 1: Push the needle through the fold from the wrong side of the fabric. Anchor the knot on the inside of the fold.
Step 2: Insert the needle in the under fabric close to the fold and right next to where the thread is in the fold.
Slide the needle along the back of the under fabric about a 1/4″.
Push the needle to the right side of the under fabric and into the top of the fold.
Pull the needle and thread through the fold. Don’t pull too tightly. The fabric should not gather.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2.
Attaching a Binding with the Blind Stitch
Step 1: Push the needle from the back of the binding into the fold. Anchor the knot on the back of the binding.
Step 2: Slide the needle between the back fabric and batting about a 1/4″. The needle shouldn’t go through the front of the quilt.
Push the needle to the front of the back fabric and through the top of the fold in the binding.
Pull the needle and thread through the binding. Don’t pull too tightly. The binding should not pucker or gather.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2.
Hemming with the Blind Stitch
Step 1: Slide the needle under and through the edge of the fold to anchor the knot.
Step 2: Pick up a thread or 2 of the under fabric.
Take a stitch approximately 1/2″ long and push the needle through the fold.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work together to get it figured out!
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