Slip stitching is a right of passage for many sewists, and should most definitely become a skill used by all. Also known as the “Ladder Stitch”, Slip stitching is primarily used for creating seams that should be invisible, and an excellent way to sew outside of a garment. It would be a great stitch for closing handmade pillows, or stuffed plush animals for example!
You may be a beginner, or an expert who may need a refresher; either way this tutorial is certain to help simplify the Slip Stitch for you!
Gathering your materials is the first step, and a very easy one if I might add. My suggestion is to practice your Slip Stitching skills on muslin fabric, before you begin with your own precious fabric. Work at your own pace, and you’ll be surprised how great you can be at Slip stitching in no time!
The next step is to simply thread your needle, by hand or with a handy threader. You can choose either to double the thread, or keep it singular for a more invisible finish. It’s up to you! If you do choose to thread the needle by hand, you can always twist the thread to make it “sharper” to aim in the eye of the needle, or simply cut the end with scissors so there aren’t any pesky fibers getting in the way. Don’t forget to knot the end of it too!
Next, fold the edges of your fabric to the wrong side. You can use pins to help keep the edges steady, and give you more control when you begin your Slip Stitch. To begin, you should insert the needle upwards into the fold, and pull towards you to tighten. Be sure to keep the same even tension all throughout your hand sewing. Your fabric can result in puckering if it’s too tight, or there will be loose thread where it’s too loose. A good rule of thumb to use when hand sewing a Slip Stitch, is to keep it between the two! Not too tight, and definitely not too loose.
Next, insert your needle with thread into the opposing side of fabric, and “slip” the needle about a quarter of an inch before taking it out again. The dotted lines above should indicate where the thread should be invisible, where your needle slipped through without a hitch! Pull the threaded needle towards you to tighten.
Next, repeat the same step and simply reinsert the needle into the opposing fold once more. Your stitch pattern should begin to resemble the rungs of a ladder! Keep repeating this back and forth, and you should be set. However, the “rungs” of your ladder shouldn’t technically be showing too much, as you want to keep things nice and taut. The figure above is for demonstration on how your stitch pattern should look like, and the dotted areas are where your thread should be invisible!
Repeat steps 4 through 5, while keeping a nice even tension ll throughout your hand sewing. Be sure to remove pins while doing so, in order to keep from pricking yourself! Another tip is to keep your stitches even in length, just so that your work is professional looking, and neat. Once you’ve reached the end of your fabric, tie off the end of your Slip Stitch into the last loop of one of your stitches!
Trim off the excess thread from your work, and press it with an iron. You’ve successfully created a Slip Stitch! I hope this tutorial was helpful. Is there a different method that you find works better for you? Where are you going to apply this technique? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments!