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November Skill of the Month – Ladder Stitch

This month’s skill involved learning a new handstitch for closing an opening.  You see, I normally use a tiny overcast stitch or machine topstitching to close an opening on a stuffie or an envelope style quilt.  A recent project required a more advanced method of closing the opening.

Take this…a memory pillow that uses the same verse that appears on the memory quilt featured a few posts back.

Pillow closed with ladder stitch instead of overcast stitch - nearly invisible.
Pillow closed with ladder stitch instead of overcast stitch – nearly invisible.

A lot of work went into this special pillow and the customer wanted neither an envelope style nor a zipper closure on the back to facilitate pillow form insertion.  She asked me to stitch the bottom opening closed.  So, I did just that using the ladder stitch.  I found this video and this video to be helpful in explaining the process.  I used a size 7 sharp needle and waxed doubled thread that matched the background color of the fabric.  Keep your stitches 1/4″ or less.  The process felt really strange at first, but I think the finished product looks quite smashing don’t you?

Pillow opening closed with ladder stitch instead of overcast stitch - nearly invisible.
Pillow opening closed with ladder stitch instead of overcast stitch – nearly invisible.

I also learned another clever trick this month (sort of after the fact, though)…how to minimize those pointy corners. This tutorial shows how to adjust your corners to get rid of the excess fabric that will not be filled by the pillow form.  I will definitely try this trick next time.  Also note that the standard home dec seam allowance is 1/2″ and her calculations include this in the cutting instructions.  Simply double your desired seam allowance and add it to the pillow form size to determine the cut measurements.