Sewing – The Slip Stitch

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 178,292
    Sewing expert Dawn Anderson demonstrates how to sew the slip stitch.

    Dawn Anderson

    Dawn began sewing when she was 5 years old and it has since become a lifelong pursuit. Dawn earned a B.A. from Shenandoah University and an M.F.A. from Indiana University, both in Theatre Costume Design. During graduate school she had the opportunity to study in England at Bournemouth University where she focused on corsetry techniques, traditional hand tailoring, and fashion history. During college she worked as a costume designer and patternmaker for theatre and dance, making custom clothing for performers, specialty garments, historic reproductions, corsetry, millinery, and taught basic to advanced sewing classes. After college, she went to work as a free-lance designer and cutter in Edinburgh, Scotland. She returned to the US and began her small ready to wear line and sewing pattern company in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. She currently sells sewing patterns for clothing and hats on her website and at tradeshows. She hand makes men's custom jackets and is expanding her women's ready to wear lines. Dawn currently teaches couture sewing and hat making at sewing conventions, local stores, and in her home in Northern Virginia. She is a member of the American Sewing Guild and leads her own group dedicated to Couture Sewing. Dawn has begun writing for sewing magazines and is working on a book on tailoring. She has also started filming sewing instruction videos and hopes to one day have her own TV show on sewing. Please feel free to visit her website for more information.

    Hi, Im Dawn Anderson and I'm showing you how to sew by hand. Right now we're going to work on sewing the slip stitch. The slip stitch is an invisible finishing stitch. As you can see here I actually have the stitches running across this edge. They are invisible on this side. On the reverse side there is just the tiniest stitch. Again, that's why it's invisible. I use this stitch to close up all kinds of linings, even hems on satin if need be.

    To start this stitch, again, cut 18 inches of thread. Thread your needle on one end. Tie a knot in the opposite end. Similar to the whip stitch, we will start from the underside edge, come up through the fold. Similar again to the whip stitch, take a small amount of fabric up on your needle, as such. I will show it to you first in two steps. Go ahead here and pull your thread through. I'm going to leave it a little loose so you can see it. Bring your needle back into the fabric directly across from where the thread comes up out of this side, so you can just see that there. Go ahead and pull the thread through, and that's what a slip stitch looks like before you pull it completely tight. I will sew one more to show you.

    Take a small amount on your needle. Go ahead and pull it through. Take your needle back into the fold, travel, pull it through, and now I'm going to tighten up the stitches, and see, they disappeared. That's a slip stitch. I will do a couple more just to show you. They are invisible, so once you get the hang of it, and you know where your needle and thread is, you will be fine. A little bit, tunnel through, pull it tight, a little bit of thread on your needle, tunnel back into the edge, and pull it through. Now, there are very, very tiny stitches on the top side, and then very small stitches on the reverse side. Again, if you're using matching thread color, you wouldn't see them at all. So, a slip stitch, you could also use that as a hemming-stitch, if your hem was visible, say on an asymmetrical skirt that was longer in the back or shorter in the front. I also use it to attach pockets or even different types of applique. Anywhere you don't want to use glue and you want to use a good strong hemstitch.

    Now, to knot off, go ahead, tie your knot, pull it tight down onto the surface of the fabric, put your thumb on there, tighten it up. Then I also take your thread and needle, go right back through the edge, again, just to hide the thread end. If you want a truly invisible seam, you don't want to see the thread end either, and then pull it tight, and there you go. That is your invisible slip stitch. Now, let's move on to sewing the catch stitch.