Slip Stitch Sewing for Seams and Invisible Hems

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Hand sewing with a slip stitch gives immeasurable benefits to your finished sewing projects. The slip stitch is almost invisible and ever so so neat. This stitch is sometimes known as ladder stitch or invisible stitch and can be used to sew up hems of pants or skirts and even gaps in stuffed toys and cushions. When used for toys and cushions it gives a firm, but invisible closure, after the stuffing has been added.

Slip StitchPinSlip Stitch


Slip StitchHow to Do Slip Stitch For HemsStep 1 – Press the HemStep 2 – Hide the KnotStep 3 – First StitchStep 4 – Needle into the HemStep 5 – PullStep 6 – FinishingHow to Do Slip Stitch for Seams and RepairsStep 1 – StartingStep 2 – First StitchStep 3 – Next StitchStep 4 – FinishingSlip Stitch- In ConclusionRelated Articles

Slip Stitch

Slip stitch is very useful for delicate fabrics as you can work the stitches into the fold of the garment.  Slip stitch will also come up tops for stitching bulky fabrics.  With slip stitch, you can handle thicker fabric hems with ease without putting it through the sewing machine.

How to Do Slip Stitch For Hems

Slip stitch is usually used for wider hems. Use a matching thread for an invisible result

Step 1 – Press the Hem

You will be working on the wrong side of the garment. Prepare the hem to be stitched by folding and ironing as well as pinning it in place.  The slip part of the stitch is going to hide in the fold of the fabric. For my sample, I pressed my hem by ¼ inch (6mm) then 1 inch (2.5cm) again for a double hem.

 Slip Stitch - Press Hems Slip Stitch - Press HemsPinSlip Stitch – Press Hems

Step 2 – Hide the Knot

Unfold the fold of the hem to start.  Begin with the needle and thread inserted in the fold. Bring the needle through the fold ready for the first stitch. 

You will be working right to left.

 Slip Stitch - Hide Knot Slip Stitch - Hide KnotPin Slip Stitch – Hide Knot

Step 3 – First Stitch

Pick up a few threads with the needle in the space just under the fold of the hem.  This is to catch the fabric of the main part of the garment. Make these stitches neat and even as this is the only part that will show on the outside. Usually, just a few threads are enough to anchor the hem.

 Slip Stitch - Stitch through Main Slip Stitch - Stitch through MainPin Slip Stitch – Stitch through Main

Step 4 – Needle into the Hem

Push the needle back into the fold of the hem and slip it along in the fold for about ¼ inch (6mm). 

 Slip Stitch - Stitch through Hem Slip Stitch - Stitch through HemPin Slip Stitch – Stitch through Hem

Step 5 – Pull

Gently pull the thread taut and repeat – catch another few threads of the main fabric then slip back into the fold again.

Step 6 – Finishing

Continue in this way for the length of the hem or seam closure.  Finish off inside the fold with a double stitch to close off the thread.

 Slip Stitch - Ending Slip Stitch - EndingPin Slip Stitch – Ending

When your hem or seam closure is complete you will be very happy with the result.  Slip stitch, when carefully completed, hardly shows on the right side.  Most of the threads are hidden in the fold as the needled slipped in there and out again catching the threads of the main fabric along the way.

 Slip Stitch  Slip Stitch Pin Slip Stitch

How to Do Slip Stitch for Seams and Repairs

Slip stitch is also known as ladder stitch and is a stitch used for repairing seams and closing gaps in toys and pillows. It is worked in a similar way through the fold of the seams.

Step 1 – Starting

Using a strong thread, thread a needle double and knot the end. Insert the needle from the inside into the fold of the seam. This way the knot will be hidden inside.

Step 2 – First Stitch

Put the needle through the fold of the seam at 2 and bring it out a short distance away at 3. The smaller this stitch the more invisible and stronger your seam will be. Try to make this fold stitch ⅛ – ¼ inch long (3-6mm).

Step 3 – Next Stitch

Bring the needle over to the fold on the other side and take another stitch through the fold inserting at 4 and coming out at 5.

 Slip Stitch  Slip Stitch Pin Slip Stitch

As you repeat this stitch you will see that the stitches form a ladder-like appearance. Gently pull every inch or so to close the seam.

 Slip Stitch  Slip Stitch Pin Slip Stitch

Step 4 – Finishing

Repeat this crossing over motion until you get to the end of the hole in the seam. You can then knot off by inserting the needle through the last loop and pulling tight.

 Slip Stitch - Ending Slip Stitch - EndingPin Slip Stitch – Ending

Slip Stitch- In Conclusion

Slip stitch is a versatile and often used hand stitch to invisibly close seams and hem.

Related Articles

Catch Stitch – How to Sew Catch Stitch EasilyHow to Sew a Wide Hem | 5 Easiest WaysHemming Stitch – Best Hand Stitches for HemsINVISIBLE STITCH – Ladder Stitch/Slip Stitch TutorialTailor’s Tacks – How to Mark Professionally

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