How to Hand Sew a Ladder Stitch

This tutorial is a supplement my animal head sewing pattern instructions!

The ladder stitch, aka the slip stitch, is a fairly common hand sewing stitch used to close an open seam on stuffed animals, and other three-dimensional soft toys where machine sewing would be unmanageable. I’m going to use a handmade pin cushion as my sample.

Materials needed:

*An open seam
*Hand sewing needle
*Thread that matches fabric (mine is a contrasting colour for visibility purposes!)

hsg1

Cut your thread so that it is no longer than 16” (it’s way more likely to tangle if it’s longer than 16”).

Thread your needle and tie a thick knot in the end.

Insert needle through the folded inside edge of the seam, about 1/2” away from the opening. Pull the thread all the way through until the knotted end stops the thread.

The yellow dots in the following picture indicate where the open seam begins and ends.

hsg2

Cross to the other side of the seam and slide the needle through the creased edge. Make your stitches relatively small, less than 1/2” long, so that your stuffing doesn’t poke through!

hsg3

Pull thread all the way through.

hsg4

Cross back over to the opposite seam, and slide the needle through the creased edge again!

hsg5

Pull thread all the way through again.

hsg6

See where we’re going with this?

That’s right, cross over to the other side of the seam, and slide the needle through the creased edge yet again.

hsg7

Keep taking stitches like this until you get to the end of the open seam.

hsg8

Slide your needle into the opposite side of the seam one more time, through the creased edge, so that the needle comes out just beyond the open seam.

hsg9

Pull your thread to tighten up the seam.

hsg10

Pinching the two sides together, take a tiny stitch across both sides.

hsg11

Pull the thread most of the way through, leaving a small loop still exposed.

Pass the needle through the small loop.

hsg12

Pull the thread all the way through.

hsg13

 

hsg14

Take another tiny stitch across, pull the thread most of the way through again, pass the needle through the small loop again, and pull the thread tight one more time.

Trim the thread close to the knot.

hsg15

And there’s your ladder stitch!

hsg16

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3 responses to “How to Hand Sew a Ladder Stitch

  1. Pingback: Moose Head Sewing Pattern and Instructions | Amie Scott·

  2. Pingback: Elephant Head Sewing Pattern and Instructions | Amie Scott·

  3. Pingback: Wall Mounted Deer Head Sewing Pattern and Instructions | Amie Scott·

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