Learn how to sew slip stitch! Hand sewing with a slip stitch gives immeasurable benefits to your finished sewing projects. The slip stitch is almost invisible and ever so neat. This stitch is sometimes known as ladder 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 Stitch (Hand Sewing) Tutorial
What is Slip Stitch Sewing?
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.
Supplies to Sew a Slip Stitch
- Hand sewing needle
- Matching thread
Best Thread for Sewing Slip Stitch
The ultimate choice of the best thread for slip stitch does depend on your fabric type, but here are some guidelines.
Use a lighter thread weight and a high-quality thread that will not break when pulled tight. A matching color will help since the slip stitch for hems or seams should not be visible. Match the thread to the fabric. For example, use a cotton thread for cotton fabric.
If you want a truly invisible slip stitch, there are clear nylon threads available.
CROCHET - Slip stitch is also a term used in crochet.
How to Sew Slip Stitch For Hems, Step by Step
Slipstitch is usually used for sewing wide hems. Use a matching thread for an invisible result. This method of slip stitch is also used for closing waistbands, collars and cuffs.
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.
Using single thread will produce finer stitches which will be less visible on the right side of the fabric.
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.
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.
Step 3 - First Slip Stitch 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.
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).
Step 5 - Pull Slip Stitches Tight
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 Slip Stitch
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.
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 needle is slipped in there and out again, catching the threads of the main fabric along the way.
How to Sew Slip Stitch for Seams and Repairs
Slip stitch is also 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 to Sew Slip Stitch
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 Slip 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 Slip 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.
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.
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.
How to Slip Stitch FAQS
Can you slip stitch on a sewing machine?
While you can't close seams with a slip stitch on sewing machines, you can do a similar stitch for hems. The blind hem stitch on sewing machines creates a hem with an almost invisible finish on the outside.
What is the best stitch for seaming edges?
If you have a small gap in a seamed edge, then the slip stitch is best as it will give an almost invisible finish to the seam.
How to Sew Slip Stitch - In Conclusion
Slip stitch is a versatile and often used hand stitch to invisibly close seams and hem.
- Catch Stitch
- How to Sew a Wide Hem
- Hemming Stitch – Best Hand Stitches for Hems
- Invisible Stitch
- Tailor’s Tacks
- Hand Sewing Needle
- Press the hem over twice by ¼ inch (6mm), then 1 inch (2.5cm) again for a double hem. 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.
- Pick up a few threads with the needle in the space just under the fold of the hem.
- Push the needle back into the fold of the hem and slip it along in the fold for about ¼ inch (6mm).
- Gently pull the thread taut and repeat - catch another few threads of the main fabric, then slip back into the fold again.