Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Ladder stitch

The ladder stitch is a valuable technique that every seamstress and pattern maker should have in their skill set. This stitch is used to close large openings in garments or to seamlessly join two pattern pieces together. By creating stitches at right angles to the fabric, the ladder stitch forms a ladder-like formation that remains virtually invisible from the outside. In this article, we will explore the significance of the ladder stitch, its applications in sewing, and how to master this technique for flawless closures and seamless joins.

What is a Ladder Stitch?

The ladder stitch, also known as the slip stitch or invisible stitch, is a hand sewing technique that provides a discreet and seamless closure. It involves creating stitches that run perpendicular to the fabric, resembling the rungs of a ladder. When executed correctly, the ladder stitch is nearly invisible, making it an ideal choice for closing openings or joining pattern pieces.

Applications of the Ladder Stitch

The ladder stitch offers versatile applications in garment construction and pattern making. Let’s discover some common uses for this stitch:

  • Closing Openings: The primary purpose of the ladder stitch is to close large openings, such as a turning hole on a stuffed toy, a gap in a pillow cover, or an opening in a lining. The ladder stitch allows for a neat and discreet closure, leaving no visible stitches on the outside.
  • Seamless Joins: In pattern making, the ladder stitch is employed to seamlessly join two fabric pieces together. This technique ensures an invisible and smooth connection, particularly in areas where conventional stitching may be unsightly or interfere with the overall design.

How to Sew the Ladder Stitch

Follow these steps to master the art of sewing the ladder stitch:

  1. Prepare the Needle and Thread: Thread a needle with a thread color that matches or blends with the fabric. Knot the end of the thread to secure it.
  2. Align the Edges: Position the fabric pieces to be stitched together, aligning the edges precisely. Use pins or clips to hold the fabric in place.
  3. Begin the Stitch: Insert the needle from the underside of one fabric piece and bring it out to the top, catching only a few threads. Move the needle diagonally across to the other fabric piece, inserting it from top to bottom.
  4. Repeat the Stitches: Continue creating stitches at right angles to the fabric, moving back and forth between the two pieces. Ensure the stitches are evenly spaced and maintain consistent tension.
  5. Pull Tight and Secure: After each stitch, gently pull the thread to snugly close the gap or join the fabric pieces together. Be careful not to pull too tightly, as this can distort the fabric. Knot the thread securely at the end to secure the stitches.

Tips for Perfecting the Ladder Stitch

Consider the following tips to achieve impeccable results with the ladder stitch:

  • Practice on Scrap Fabric: Before attempting the ladder stitch on your project, practice on scrap fabric to familiarize yourself with the technique and achieve consistent stitch tension.
  • Even Stitch Length: Maintain an even stitch length and tension throughout to create a seamless and balanced appearance.
  • Conceal the Knot: Begin the stitching with a knot close to the fabric edge or use a hidden knot technique to ensure a secure start without visible knots.
  • Invisible Thread: When working on fabrics with different colors or patterns, consider using an invisible thread that blends with the fabric to achieve an even more discreet finish.


The ladder stitch is a versatile and valuable technique that enables seamstresses and pattern makers to create invisible closures and seamless joins. Whether closing openings or joining fabric pieces, mastering this stitch ensures professional and flawless results. With practice and attention to detail, you can confidently sew the ladder stitch, achieving seamless and invisible finishes that elevate the quality of your sewing projects. Embrace this technique, refine your skills, and enjoy the satisfaction of perfectly closed openings and seamlessly joined fabric pieces.

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Melissa Villegas
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