Leggi questo post in: Italiano
Today’s sewing lesson for the Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew series a little exception because it’s actually hand sewing, not machine sewing. I wasn’t sure whether or not to include it in the course, but in the end decided to because it’s one of those skills that you really do need to know because it’s impossible to get the same result with a sewing machine. And so let’s talk a little about how to ladder stitch!
The ladder stitch is also known as the invisible stitch, and is one of the hand sewing stitches that I use the most. It’s incredibly useful for closing up the opening left after turning a project right side out when you want to avoid the visible stitches of topstitching. I use this technique most often when sewing stuffed items, such as softies or pillows, but I’ve also used it in other ways, such as this scarf to winter shrug refashion.
I even have a little treat for you in this lesson: my first video tutorial, in addition to photos! So, let’s get started!
- two pieces of woven cotton scraps, cut into the same size and shape (rectangles are fine)
- straight pins
- thread (in a real project it needs to be the same color as the fabric so as to blend in better, but for this example you could use a constrasting color to better see what you are doing)
- hand sewing needle
Prepare the practice piece:
Before I show you how to ladder stitch, let’s first prepare the piece that we will be closing up. We’re basically doing this technique but without the topstitching. Pin the two pieces together, right sides facing. I always mark where my opening will be with two sets of double pins, as you can see above. If possible, position the opening along a straight edge in the least noticeable place.
Sew around the shape except between the two sets of double pins. Trim the seam allowances and clip/notch all corners and curves. (Need help with clipping and notching? Take a look at this lesson!) I like to leave the seam allowance intact where the opening is to help in folding it inwards.
Turn the piece right side out through the opening, push out all the corners and curves and iron flat. Make sure that you’ve turned the seam allowance at the opening inwards.
Then prepare your needle and thread.
Hand sewing the ladder stitch:
Before we get started, let’s take a good look at the opening. Notice that the seam allowances go inwards with a nice crisp fold. That fold is really useful for knowing where to insert your needle.
Insert the needle from the inside of the project so that it comes out right on the fold near one end of the opening (shown as 1 in the photo above). Go directly across the opening and insert just the tip of the needle on the fold at point 2. Pivot the needle so that the tip comes out at point 3, pull the needle out all the way and give a gentle tug to pull the two sides together. The dotted line shows where the thread goes under the fold, between the seam allowance and the fabric.
Continue working like this until you’ve closed up the opening completely.
I thought a video showing this technique would be useful, so I made my first ever video tutorial. Yes, I sort of bungled up my words at times and the phone started ringing at one point, but hey, give me a break! I discovered that it’s a lot harder than I’d imagined to sew with a camera and tripod between you and your work, trying to keep everything in the frame and in focus, and speak coherently at the same time. (And if you want a really huge laugh, you can listen to me explain the technique in Italian! Talk about bungling up words… haha!)
If you want to skip the introduction and go right to where I show the ladder stitch, go to minute 1:05.
This is what the finished ladder stitch looks like. I didn’t do an absolutely perfect job because of the video-making difficulties, but the stitching is still pretty hidden.
With a little practice it’s easy to get perfectly even and invisible stitches with this technique, and your world will be opened up to all sorts of fun projects!
Once you know how to ladder stitch, make sure you try out my easy infinity scarf tutorial! These are really fast to sew up, so you can make one for each outfit or sewn one for everyone on your holiday gift list!
Did you enjoy this lesson on how to ladder stitch? Well then, take a look at the other lessons in this beginner’s sewing course!
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And click here to save this really useful tutorial on how to ladder stitch! I promise that it’ll come in handy!