When to use slip stitch
I have been asked for a tutorial on slip stitching and I realised that very often I just say ‘slipstitch the seam’ without adding any more detail, so here’s a brief tutorial. I use slip stitching in a variety of places – sewing a hem on clothing, sewing binding to a quilt and joining the sides of a clutch bag where there are too many thicknesses of fabric to use machine sewing, to name a few.
How to sew slip stitch
The first step is to hide the raw edges if necessary. Obviously this doesn’t apply to quilt binding where you already have a fold in the fabric. Turn the edge of the fabric down about 1/4″ and then turn down another 1/4″ so that the raw edge is safely enclosed within the fabric and you have a fold along the line that you are about to slip stitch.
You can use a knot in the end of the fabric to secure the end, but I prefer to make a double stitch when I begin slip stitching. This just means sewing two stitches in the same place. Working from the back of the fabric, push the needle into and out of the back fabric, just catching a few threads. Push the needle up through the double layer of top fabric and then push it back through the same place on the back fabric so that you have two stitches in the same place.
Now push the needle in through the back fabric about 1/8″ to the left of the first stitch. Pick up just a few threads of the fabric and bring the needle up through the back fabric and through the top fabric just above the fold. The needle is angled up and to the left. Pull the thread through and keep repeating the stitches.
At the end of the seam or when you have run out of thread, sew a double stitch again to secure the end of the thread. Which reminds me – although it may be tempting to use a long piece of thread to avoid having to stop and thread the needle again, it is best to use a shortish length of thread (about 18-20″) or you may find that your thread keeps knotting as you pull it through the fabric.
Slip stitching is not only a simple basic sewing stitch, but it is also one that can be almost invisible if you use matching thread and keep your stitches small. You will also find that it doesn’t show up much on the front of the fabric provided you only pick up a few threads on your needle each time.
Here’s the video:
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