Updated on September 4, 2022 by Sarina

saddle stitch

Saddle Stitch is the best hand sewing stitch for sewing fabric pieces together – it is the most secure and strongest of all stitches. It is used to sew leather, faux leather, and other thick fabric which cannot be sewn with the sewing machine.

The best thing about this stitch is that it is not going to get unraveled if you accidentally cut the stitches at any point – so you can say it is stronger than the lock stitch of a sewing machine.

(An evenly spaced running stitch is also sometimes termed as saddle stitch – when it is used for top stitching. For this, a pretty thread called buttonhole twist is used. You can also use embroidery thread for making this stitch)

How to sew a Saddle stitch

Keep all your supplies ready. Your material (the materials should be pinned, clipped or baste stitched together or kept in a leather clamp for keeping the layers together intact and prevent shifting); 2 needles, suitable thread, awl to make holes (if it is leather or fake leather)

Related posts : 30 tools for hand sewing leather ; How to sew leather ; How to sew faux leather.

Tools needed to sew the saddle stitch
Awl, leather thread, 2 needles

You will have to mark the stitching line evenly from the edge. And also mark the holes before sewing the stitch. To make the best saddle stitches, make the holes evenly spaced 1/4 to 3/8 inch in length.

You can use an awl to make the holes. The holes are made as you sew ( ie no need to make the holes before ; you can make just before you sew each stitch).

Keep a wooden block or an old book which you will never-read-ever underneath to protect the surface. 

Holes are made with the awl
Mark and make holes on the leather

Thread the 2 needles with your thread, on either sides.

2 needles threaded with leather sewing thread

You can fix the thread ends on the needle this way so they do not slip out as you sew.

Take the needle tip through the thread
Insert the needle tip through the thread tail

Make your first hole with the awl.

Push one of the needles through the hole. Adjust the needle and thread so that thread is equal on either side.

Needle inserted through the hole
Insert the needle through the hole on the leather

Make the next hole with the awl.

Take the needle on the front through this second hole to the back. Pull it back tight.

The second needle is taken to the back of the hole
Push the second needle through the second hole to the back of the leather

Your first stitch is almost formed. To complete it, Bring the needle on the back to the front, through this same hole.

The first needle is pushed up through the second hole
Bring up the first needle through the second hole

Pull the thread on either side to tighten the stitch. Do not pull too tightly though. 

Repeat these steps. You will be taking your two needles through the same hole to either side – that is how the saddle stitch is formed. 

Repeat the steps

Pull the thread tight after each stitch. When you have reached the end make one or two back stitches to anchor the thread

Another way to make the saddle stitch is to make running stitches from either side. Make evenly spaced running stitches along the stitching line.

Then make another running stitch from the other side filling the gap of the first running stitches.

The first method to do saddle stitching is the best but you can try this if you have only one needle.

If you want to buy hand sewing needles you can check out this post on hand stitching needles and buy one or two.

Related posts : The best Hand sewing stitches.; Basting stitch

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