Ladder Stitch – The Invisible Way to Stitch up Softies

How to Ladder Stitch - video tutorial

There are two common ways to sew up stuffed animal openings – whipstitch and ladder stitch.

Whipstitch is super easy – it’s what I do with the youngest stitchers, as young as four. Here’s a video showing how to whipstitch. The drawback is that the stitching is visible.

Ladder stitch is preferable because it’s totally invisible. It isn’t exactly tricky, but it does require a little more skill with the needle than the whipstitch method. So if you’ve never done much handwork, try the whipstitch a few times – until you get comfortable with it. Then give this a try. It really is invisible and once you get the hang of it it doesn’t take any longer than whipstitching the opening closed.

Note – There’s an excellent question in the comments about when to iron. I iron after I turn it right side out and poke out the corners – but before I stuff it. It’s really easy to turn those raw edges in and press them nicely while the softie is still flat.

Ladder stitch is perfect for stitching up those stuffing holes. Give it a try. 🙂

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

20 COMMENTS

  1. Anonymous SAYS...

    So… the ironing – do you iron before you sew the rest of the pillow or do I need one of those tiny irons to get in there after the rest of the pillow is machine sewn?

  2. Excellent question! I just answered it in a note at the bottom of the post. Thanks!

  3. Excellent demo . . .thank you for sharing =)

  4. Anonymous SAYS...

    I LOVE how user friendly your videos are.

    you use contrasting thread/fabric. the background is sympathetic. the camera zooms in on the area. your fingers are not in the way. so now i can SEE what is going on, i can copy and work it out.

    other sewing videos show WHITE thread on WHITE fabric, with WHITE background, camera zoomed OUT, fingers in the way, and i don’t see what happening, so i don’t get it.

    i am so HAPPY to have found YOUR videos, if i can see what’s happening, i can pick it up. thank you so much.

    (can you tell i’ve watched HUNDREDS of the hard to see ones?)”

    Your clear, easy to see video style is VERY appreciated.

    thank you
    thank you
    thank you

    • Thanks so much! I’ve passed your comment on to my husband too, since he’s the one who’s holding the camera and doing all that zooming. 🙂

    • I work in surgery and this is the same way a surgeon sews invisible stitches. I have been doing this on my pillows that i make since the first time i saw them do this on a tummy tuck. Pretty cool huh?
      thanks for all your info, maggie

    • Anonymous SAYS...

      Brilliant , thank you!

  5. Anonymous SAYS...

    I can use the ladder stitch as shown above, but I have a lot of feltie instructions that use the ladder stitch to stitch a small neck (body) to a large head. I can’t seem to figure that out — my heads are always wobbly. Any tips on that?
    Thanks, Judy

  6. I’m going to be adding feltie patterns (and some videos to support them) throughout this year and I’ll work on avideo just for attaching heads. But that’ll be a while. In the meantime – my best advice is to really push the head down HARD on the neck while you stitch. That way the springiness of the stuffing in the head will kind of push back against the stitches and keep it on the neck without wobbling. Good luck!

    • Anonymous SAYS...

      Thanks for the advice, and I will look forward to your videos on attaching heads!

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  9. When you pulled that thread and your black stitches went invisible, I actually GOL – gasped out loud, lol. I can’t wait to try this – I just finished Brandon Beaver and I’m not very happy with my stitching to close him up – I used a non-fuzzy fleece type fabric and there’s no real design or patterning on the fabric to hide my stitches, so they’re pretty obvious to me. He’s going to a soon-to-be-4 year old who I’m sure won’t care, but it does bother me! I will be giving this a shot – it looks very doable 🙂

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  11. Jennifer SAYS...

    Thanks Wendi! Now how do I close the faux fur softies? I am following your Pattern on Monster Hand Warmers… Can’t figure out how to close him without grabbing all that fur! Monster Mash.

    • You can use the same stitch for faux fur – just smooth it out of the way as best you can while you stitch. You’ll still catch some of the fur, but once you fluff it up you’ll never notice. And if you catch a lot of fur in the stitching you can carefully pick it out with a needle or awl after you’re done sewing.

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