Updated on July 26, 2022 by Sarina

Ladder stitch, as its name suggests, looks like a Ladder. It is done in many ways and for different purposes.

The three most commonly used Ladder stitches are as outlined below. The first one is a very useful stitch as a blind (invisible) joining stitch and the other two are decorative embroidery stitches.

Decorative ladder stitches
Decorative ladder stitches

Invisible Ladder Stitch

The invisible ladder stitch is used for joining two fabric edges very finely and inconspicuously – the ladder stitch looks almost invisible between the fabric edges.

If you have a tear in a couch seam and you cannot reach the back of the seam to sew it with a machine this is the stitch used.

ladder stitch makes the seam look seamless

The stitches will look like as in the diagram below

The stitch goes up like a ladder

Keep the fabric edges together, with the folded edges facing each other.

The folds of the fabric should be brough together

Start from one side with the knot on the back. Go to the other fabric edge and take a small vertical stitch on the inside of the fold of the fabric edge.

take one stitch from one side and then take a stitch along the fold on the other side
Bring up the needle and thread from the back of one fold and then take a vertical stitch along the fold on the other side

And then go to the other fold of fabric to take another stitch, the same way.

Take the stitch from the other side
Take another vertical stitch along the other side fold

Make more stitches like this, going back and forth, tightening the stitches as you go, so that the gap between is reduced to nothing.

repeat this process and tighten thread as you go up

You can use this stitch to sew tucks in fabric – follow the pictures given below

invisible stitching by hand invisibly stitch by hand sew invisibly by hand

Open Chain stitch

decorative ladder like stitch

This beautiful and very simple stitch is a variation of the Chain stitch and is also known by names like Ladder Stitch, Roman Chain Stitch, and Square Chain Stitch. It looks really like a ladder and is a favorite stitch for borders. 

This stitch is made between two parallel lines, imaginary or drawn.  I like to draw to be sure that ladder looks straight, not skewed. 

This is a variation of a chain stitch and it looks like a ladder in the end

Step 1

Bring up the needle from the back at point A; Create a loop and insert the needle at B on the same level.

Step 2

Bring up the needle at C above A at the same time catching the loop

Step 4

Insert the needle at D again creating a loop, then come up at the same time at a point above C, at E
Repeat the steps to create more loops like this and end with two straight stitches at the end of the chain 

Herringbone Ladder Stitch

ladder herringbone stitch

This is a type of weaving stitch. A herringbone stitch is woven through two parallel back stitch lines.

Check out the post on back stitch if you do not know how to make this stitch. It is a beautiful border stitch. You can also use it as a filling stitch

Step 1
We need to stitch two parallel lines first.Draw the lines so that one line is 1/4 inch distant from the other.

ladder herringbone stitch

Stitch the parallel lines with back stitches which are 1/4 inches in length; you can stitch them closer if you want a closer effect.

Ensure that junctions between the stitches are not simultaneous in the two lines.Look at the picture below on how you should be making the back stitches

make uneven back stitches
Step 2

Thread a contrasting coloured thread on your needle. Bring out the needle from the start of the back stitch
Insert the needle under the first stitch from outside. Donot pierce the fabric.Continue to the first stitch on the other side. Make a loop and go to the stitch on the other sideline.

weave through the back stitches with another thread
Step 3
Continue doing this till the whole line is filled with loops of herringbone stitches.

after some time it will look like a ladder

 

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  1. How do you do an invisible stitch with thin fabric? And does the fabric for the ladder stitch have to be folded on both sides? I still don’t understand how to do it.

    1. Hi Heidi, Yes the fabric have to be folded at the edges for the stitches to be hidden within the folds. You take a stitch along one side then go to the other side, take a stitch and goes on doing this, thus joining the two fabric together.

  2. I am so glad I found this website and I love the ladder stitches those for sure will help me with my scrunchies sewing. I have started to sell scrunchies.