How to Sew a Ladder Stitch
Today I’m sharing a technique that I love. I use it all. the. time! My mom called it a ‘ladder stitch’ but it’s know by other names. Like invisible stitch which makes sense because the stitch disappears! Or at least hides. A ladder stitch is perfect for closing up holes when you don’t want to see the stitches. Like when a beloved stuffed animal sprouts a hole. Or closing up the opening in my infinity scarf tutorial. So, on to the instructions. We call this a ladder stitch because it kind of looks like a ladder as you sew. Here’s how to sew one.
Thread a needle with thread that looks similar to your fabric. Or at least light thread for light fabric, dark thread for dark fabric. Make the ends of the thread even with each other and tie a knot in the end of the thread. Hold your hole so each side makes a ‘lip’. See how the fabric is coming from the outside of the project and folding to the inside of the project, as if there were already a seam pulling it to the inside of the project? It makes a hill on each side of the hole, or two lips.
Starting from the inside of the hole, poke from the wrong side of the fabric by one end of the hole you need to close up and pull the needle and thread through until the knot stops it from coming further.
Push your needle into the other fabric on the top of the ‘lip’ right across the hole from where you just came out of the fabric. Then push the needle to run along the underside of the fabric and come back out the top of the fabric ‘lip’ a short distance from where it went in. Pull the needle and thread through.
Do the same thing coming back to the original side. Keep going back and forth from side to side, always poking into the new side as close to directly across from where you are coming from as possible. The thread will begin to look like ladder rungs with the two ‘lips’ of fabric the two legs of the ladder.
As you near the end of the hole, pull the thread tight and the hole will close itself up, pulling the raw edges of fabric into the hole and hiding the stitches. It’s a bit like magic.
Keep going until the entire hole is sewn shut. Then make a knot in the thread at the end of the hole. I usually knot my fabric by sticking the needle through both side of the fabric but not pulling the thread tight so there is a loop. Then I put my needle through the loop of thread and pull the thread tight. I repeat that three or four times in the same spot and call it good. The knot is the most visible part of the ladder stitch.
That’s it! Now we have a nice smooth hand sewn seam and you can hardly even tell!