>> Monday, December 31, 2007
It seems like I’ve tried a hundred different stitches for closing up stuffed toys, but for me the ladder stitch is the clear winner. I get nearly invisible results every time. Here’s how you do it.
- Place whatever pieces you’re sewing together, right sides facing each other. Choose the seam that will have the stuffing opening and sew it first, leaving a gap of about 2” for small projects, larger for larger projects. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of all stitching.
- Press this seam open. This will give you nice crisp fold lines to follow when you do your hand sewing.
- Fold your pieces back together and finish sewing the rest of the way around. Clip any excess fabric at the corners.
- Turn your piece right side out. Use a chopstick to help push the corners out.
- Stuff it.
- Now comes the fun part. Thread a needle and knot the end. I used contrasting thread here so you can see it, but I usually match to the darkest color (if the front and back of the piece are different colors). Take your needle in through the stuffing hole and then out at the seam. I usually start my hand sewing so that it overlaps the last ¼” or so of the machine stitching.
- Pinch the opening closed. Your pressed folds will be a great guide.
- Time to take your first stitch. Needle-in directly across the stuffing opening from your last needle-out. Needle-out about 1/8” away, on the same side of the opening as your needle-in. I took a slightly larger stitch here because it was harder to show what was happening with smaller stitches. The thread should jump straight across the opening and then run – hidden - inside your pressed seam allowance fold. Your needle in and out (while the needle is still in the fabric) should look like this.
- Repeat for your next stitch. Stitch two should look like this.
- And stitch three should look like this.
- For each stitch the visible part is the thread’s quick, straight dash across the opening. The part where the thread travels the length of the opening is the part that’s hidden in the fold of the seam allowance. I took several loose stitches here so you could see. See why it’s called a ladder stitch?
- And here are the same stitches pulled tight. The seam would be less wavy if I took the smaller stitches I usually take, but it's still not bad.
- When you get to the end of the opening, continue for a stitch or two, overlapping the machine stitching, then knot it off and you’re done. Ta daaa! The small knot is usually the only part of the stitching that you see. Even with contrasting thread here it’s nearly invisible.
- Enjoy your work and show it off proudly to as many people as possible.
Update: Triangle Toys are here! I'm so happy with how they turned out!