We’ve already talked on the blog about single piping and double piping, so now that you’ve hopefully mastered these two techniques, let’s move onto one of my favourite upholstery skills. Next up in the masterclass is slip stitching. Also known as blind stitching, it’s the neatest, most efficient way to seal your seams and create a perfect, almost invisible join. Some people use staples, or worse, metal back tack (AKA Ply Grip), but to me, nothing beats the satisfyingly tidy result you get with slip stitching. Here’s how you do it…
A 10-step guide to the perfect slip stitch
1) Before you start, the fabric where you are creating the seam should be pinned together. Begin with a slip knot to secure your thread. Then, starting from the bottom, place your first stitch in at the bottom edge of the fabric that is attached to the chair, not loose.
2) Next, thread a semi-circular needle with high tension thread that doesn’t snap easily and makes a small stitch in the fabric.
3) Pull your two bits of thread parallel to each other (one longer and one shorter) and cross them over, holding between your thumb and index finger.
4) Create a loop with the shorter piece of thread and place it over the crossed-over piece you have between your thumb and index finger. It should look like a circle with a cross in it.
To be a truly great upholsterer, you’ll need to know how to slip stitch. This is a tight, invisible closing stitch commonly used for back fabrics, joining edges and corners. Don’t be surprised if you sometimes have to do it all day long to complete a large project.
5) Gently push the end of the shorter piece in between the top of the circle and middle of the cross, and continue to pull this piece through until it begins to tighten.
6) Keep pulling the ends until it’s nice and tight against your fabric – your next stitch should be into the loose fabric.
7) Make sure you only go through one layer of fabric and try to make each of your stitches about 7mm in length. Pull out your pins carefully as you go, making sure you don’t cause any pulls in your fabric.
8) Your next stitch should be into the fabric attached to the chair, starting slightly behind the finishing point of your previous stitch.
9) Keep pulling tight and upwards as you go. Your next stitch is into the loose fabric and again is slightly lower than the end of the last one. Continue with your stitching as above. Make sure to immediately pull out a stitch if you’re not happy with it, don’t wait to see how it looks in a few stitches’ time, or your will end up undoing your good work.
10) Keep going until the end and finish off with a final slip knot. Finally, cut off any of your excess thread and there you have it – a perfectly neat, invisible seam.
If you need a refresher on double piping, head over to my previous blog, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for other essential upholstery guides. Sign up to the Vintique Upholstery newsletter and get the latest tips, news and stories delivered straight to your inbox.
Even better, learn the craft of upholster by signing up for my total beginner’s guide; Virtual Vintique: Upholstery Uncovered, and take the first step towards seeing if learning upholstery could be for you.
If you need help with an upholstery project, drop me a line for an initial, no-obligation quote by filling in the online contact form. Alternatively, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07764 182 783.