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Ladder stitch (surface) icon
Ladder stitch (surface)

This stitch consists of long parallel stitches (the rungs of the ladder), with short angled stitches at each end to form the side rails of the ladder.

Ladder stitch (surface) is generously sponsored by Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

Method

Ladder stitch (surface) method stage 1 photograph
1

Bring your needle up at the bottom right hand side of your design area, and take it down on the left hand side to create a long stitch.
Bring it back up just under this long stitch, slightly in from the left edge, and down again on the left edge above the long stitch.

Ladder stitch (surface) method stage 2 photograph
2

Bring your needle up on the right edge of your design area, just above the end of the long stitch.
Throw your thread over the long stitch and slide your needle diagonally under it, making sure your needle is between the long stitch and where your thread just exited the fabric.  Pull taut.

Ladder stitch (surface) method stage 3 photograph
3

Moving to the left edge, insert your needle from the left side under both the short diagonal stitch and the long stitch and pull taught.  This forms the second rung of the ladder.

Ladder stitch (surface) method stage 4 photograph
4

Take your needle down on the left edge above the long stitch, keeping the spacing similar to the previous stitch.

Ladder stitch (surface) method stage 5 photograph
5

Bring your needle up on the right edge and throw your thread over the long stitch.  Slide your needle diagonally between the end of the long stitch and where your thread just exited the fabric.  Pull taut.

Ladder stitch (surface) method stage 6 photograph
6

Moving to the left edge, insert your needle from the left side under both the previous short diagonal stitch and the long stitch and pull taught.  This forms the third rung of the ladder. 
Continue in this way.

Ladder stitch (surface) method stage 7 photograph
7

A finished sample of ladder stitch.

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

References

  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.29
  • Mary Thomas, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.142–3