How to do a Ladder Stitch or Invisible Stitch

, ,
How to do an invisible stitch how to do a ladder stitch featured image with more photos
How to do a ladder stitch or invisible stitch step by step video and photo tutorial. So useful to know!

How to do a ladder stitch (also know as a hidden stitch or invisible stitch video and photo tutorial!

(Hi! Want more sewing how to tutorials just like this? Then don’t forget to check out my other sewing how to tutorials or my free easy sewing projects!)

The ladder stitch or invisible stitch is one of those hand sewing stitches that is invaluable when mending holes in toys and sewing up the last little opening on newly sewn softies or even mending holes in clothing when you can’t sew from the inside of the garment (I have this tutorial for mending rips and holes in clothes as well if you have holes in your clothing). You’ll barely be able to see this stitch from the outside of what you’re sewing, especially if you use a matching thread colour. It’s just great! I cringe when I think of those first sewing projects where I used a whip stitch to sew up the opening! I made many fabric books for baby presents and the openings of the pages were all sewn up with a whipstitch! Ahhh! If you want to know what I’m talking about I’ll add a photo below showing you the difference of an opening sewn up with a whipstitch compared to a ladder stitch.

whipstitch and ladder stitch comparison sewing how to

Ok….let’s get going with the tutorial then!

This post may contain affiliate links and I truly thank you if you choose to make a purchase through one of my links

How to do a Ladder Stitch or Invisible Stitch

Recommended Materials for Doing a Ladder Stitch or Invisible Stitch

  • Item to be sewn up
  • Matching thread colour                

Here’s my recent tutorial where I used a ladder stitch to sew up the opening – A knot Bunny Lovey with FREE mini template.

How to Make a Knot Bunny Lovey Comforter featured Image

Recommended Tools for Doing a Ladder Stitch or Invisible Stitch

  • Hand sewing needle
  • Snips or scissors (I love my snips!)

Watch the Video Tutorial for How To Do a Ladder Stitch

Watch it here on YouTube if the video above does not load

You’ll want to see this nifty way to thread your needle first


or check out the tutorial for how to use a needle threader


Photo Instructions for How To Do a Ladder Stitch or Invisible Stitch

I’m left handed so the photos will show me working from left to right, but then it’s the same idea for a right-hander, just flip it.

Step 1

Thread your needle with the matching coloured thread ( I’m using a contrasting thread so you can see what I’m doing easily). I like to double the thread over and tie a knot at the end.

secure the thread to the inside seam at the end of opening. This will hide the knot away nicely.

01 secure thread into seam

 Step 2

Start the ladder stitch by putting the needle through the seam about 1/8”-1/4” (3mm-5mm), ensuring you only go through one layer of fabric.

The seam allowance should be the same as you have allowed for the rest of your sewing project.

02 needle through seam to start ladder stitch

Step 3

repeat step 2 on the other side of the opening directly across from where the thread has come out of the first side of the opening.

The thread should be perpendicular to the seam.

03 repeat step 2

Step 4

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you reach the end of the opening, pulling the thread gently as you go to gradually close the opening up. I’ve done a few stitches before pulling the sides together gently just to show you what the ladder stitch looks like. You can pull the opening closed with each stitch you do.

04 ladder stitch example

So here’s a diagram of how the ladder stitch goes for left handers and right handers!

How to do a ladder stitch tutorial left handed example!
How to do a ladder stitch tutorial right handed example!

Step 5

Once you have reached the end of the opening secure the thread by stitching through one of the existing stitches in the seam or by stitching a secure stitch on the fabric in the seam.

05 secure thread with a knot

Step 6

Push the needle down through the seam and out the side of the fabric. Try to work the secure knot down to hide it away in the seam.

06 Push needle through seam

Snip the end of the thread so hide the tails away inside your project.

06.1 thread pulled all the way through seam
06.2 Snip excess thread

This is what your ladder stitched opening will look like when you’re done!

Completed ladder stitch

You can just see my contrasting thread in the photo above, but if I used a matching thread you wouldn’t be able to see it at all!

I used the ladder stitch to sew up the opening for the sock monkey body and also to sew on the arms, mouth and tail. You’ll love the tutorial for how to make a sock monkey and you’ll be a pro at the ladder stitch for it now too!


I hope this tutorial has been super useful for you! It’s one that I’ve been meaning to make and share with you all for so long.

Get a Handy PDF Copy of this Tutorial

If you found this step by step tutorial useful and you would like a way to say thanks and also have a convenient PDF copy of this How To then you can purchase the THANK YOU Edition for the ESFBs Shop ?. This enables me to keep adding helpful tutorials here (and now the ads you see throughout this tutorial do too).

How to ladder stitch or invisible stitch square TYE

Until next time….happy sewing!



Posted on

14 February, 2017


  1. Jaggoe shiema

    Very good

    • Domenica Tootell

      Thank you!

  2. Lealea

    It never would show anything ….useless

    • Domenica Tootell

      sorry, I don’t understand your comment.

      • Patricia

        I think what the visitor meant was that the video does not load. I experienced that too. Do you have a YouTube channel where the video resides?

        • Domenica Tootell

          Ah thank you for the clarification. There is a link to the YouTube video just below where the video should be if it doesn’t load. My apologies! If it continues to be an issue I’ll Switch to the YouTube video on my website instead.

  3. Norma

    Wvery helpful thank you Norma

    • Domenica Tootell

      You’re welcome!

  4. MJ Gonzalez

    Love the detail when it’s the last stitch and cut. I’m learning how to saw by being self taught and the repair look awesome. Thank you

    • Domenica Tootell

      You’re welcome. Glad to help!

  5. Pam @Threading My Way

    How would we ever get by without ladder stitching. As always, a comprehensive tutorial, Domenica. Featured today…

    • Domenica Tootell

      Oh thanks, Pam! That’s great news ?

  6. ammaturesewer

    So, I’m not really much of a sewer, but I thought this was brilliant. Easy to follow 🙂 so thank you

    • Domenica Tootell

      Thank you! I’m glad you found it useful ?

  7. Carol

    Thank you it was wonderful watching the tutorial left handed I wish there were more for lefties

    • Domenica Tootell

      You’re welcome!

  8. Denise/DIY Crush

    Awesome tutorial, Domenica! Your pictures show the process very well! Thank you for submitting to DIY Crush! I just published it.

    • Domenica Tootell

      Oh awesome! Thank you so much!

  9. Ivory

    I was wondering if it’s possible to use ladder stitch on an entire project? Not just closing a seam.

    • Domenica Tootell

      If you’re hand stitching you would be better off doing a backstitch along the seam on the inside, then turn your project right side out and use the ladder stitch at the end to close up the opening.

  10. Georgina

    Very helpful, thank you very much

    • Domenica Tootell

      You’re welcome!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.