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How to Slip Stitch an opening close

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing sewing techniques to help with the sewing tutorials I have been sharing here. With lots of the sewing projects I've left an opening in a seam to turn an item right side out, which then requires hand stitching close. In my tutorials I say to slip stitch the opening close. So today I wanted to share what a slip stitch is...

The Slip Stitch also referred to as 'ladder stitch' is a hand stitch that joins 2 fabrics together so that the stitches are invisible when you are done.

Here's my sewing technique tutorial to slip stitch an opening close..

How-to step by step

  • How to Slip Stitch an opening close

    Step 1

    To begin, thread your needle and knot the thread. Cutting at a 45˚ angle gives you the sharpest, cleanest point possible to feed through the eye of the needle. Use a tailor's knot to secure the end, this is your basic pretzel knot.

  • How to Slip Stitch an opening close

    Step 2

    You’ll have your opening in the two pieces of fabric, with the RIGHT side of your fabric showing. Make sure the ends of your fabric have been turned under so your edges are nice and neat. Iron the folds flat. Send your needle up from underneath the folded edge of the seam and pull until the knotted end of your thread is nicely concealed inside the folded crease of the seam as you want the knot to be inconspicuous and out of sight.

  • How to Slip Stitch an opening close

    Step 3

    Directly on the other side of your seam, insert the needle and gently but firmly pull the fabric together. Slide the needle through the underside of the casing created by the crease and come up out of the fabric about 2-5mm from the insertion point. When you pull the thread through, you will notice that the stitch you just made is concealed within the seam crease, and there will be a horizontal stitch connecting the left and right sides of your opening.

  • How to Slip Stitch an opening close

    Step 4

    Continue this method, going back and forth between the pieces of fabric, pulling the thread tight as you go, creating a “ladder” of connecting stitches as you work, until your opening has been sewn shut.

  • How to Slip Stitch an opening close

    Step 5

    When you reach the end of the opening, pull the thread to tighten the stitches, so that each of the connecting “ladder” stitches is magically concealed between the two sides of the seam.

  • How to Slip Stitch an opening close

    Step 6

    To finish, tie off so that the knot is located inside the fold. To do this make one small backstitch and make a loop over the point of the needle. Pull the thread through the loop to create a knot. Clip your thread and you’re done! You should have a neatly sewn seam with no threads showing.


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