The Most Useful Hand Stitches for Puppet Building

In the descriptions below, the "right side" refers to the side that will show on the finished puppet. The "wrong side" is the backside of the fabric.

Useful Stitches Key


Stitch 1

The Whipstitch

The whipstitch is a good all-purpose stitch and works well for most puppet-building fabrics. As a general rule, keep the stitches about 1/8 inch (3mm) from the edge of the fabric and spaced about 1/8 inch (3mm) from each other.

  • With the right sides of the fabric together, push the needle through the wrong side of the first piece and straight through the second. (If you're right-handed, start stitching with the needle pointing away from yourself and work from right to left.)
  • Loop the needle around over the top of where the two pieces come together and, moving over about 1/8 inch (3mm), again push the needle into the wrong side of the first piece, through the second, and out.
  • Continue for the length of the seam.

Stitch 2

The Locking Whipstitch

A variation of the whipstitch, the locking whipstitch is another excellent all-purpose stitch. We recommend it for hand-sewing faux fur, although it can be used for other puppet-building fabrics. As you sew, each stitch is locked in placed, inherently providing consistency (in tension) and durability. In general, keep the stitches about 1/8 inch (3mm) from the edge of the fabric and spaced about 1/8 inch (3mm) from each other.

  • With the right sides of the fabric together, push the needle through the wrong side of the first piece and straight through the second. (If you're right-handed, start stitching with the needle pointing away from yourself and work from right to left.)
  • Loop the needle around over the top of where the two pieces come together and, moving over about 1/8 inch (3mm), again push the needle into the wrong side of the first piece, through the second, and out.
  • Here is the variation. Before pulling tight, bring the needle through the loop of the stitch, then tighten. Notice this extra step fixes the tension, so the stitch will not loosen as you move to the next one.
  • Continue for the length of the seam.

Stitch 3

The Baseball Stitch

Wouldn't it be cool to sew invisible seams in fleece? Use the baseball stitch! It is hands down the best stitch to hide those pesky seams.

  • With the right sides of the fabric facing each other, bring the needle between the two and push it into the right side of the fabric piece closest to you near the edge. The tip of the needle should be pointing in your direction. Pull it through so that the thread comes out of the wrong side of that piece and tighten the stitch.
  • Repeat on the other side. Move up along the seam from the previous stitch. Again, bring the needle between the two fabric pieces and push it into the right side of the opposite piece from before. The tip of the needle should be pointing away from you. Pull it through and tighten the stitch.
  • Continue to stitch for the length of the seam. The stitching will closely resemble the stitching on a baseball.

Stitch 4

The Ladder Stitch

The ladder stitch (also called a blind stitch) will allow you to stitch an opening from the right side of the fabric with a virtually invisible seam

  • First, insert the needle through the wrong side of the fabric near the start of the opening. Pull the thread through, allowing the knot to catch on the wrong side. Now you're ready to start the stitch.
  • Bring the needle to the fabric edge on the opposite side of the opening from where you started. Insert the needle into the right side of the fabric, parallel to the fabric's edge and directly across from the point where the thread is coming out on the opposite side. Push the needle out, still parallel with the edge of the fabric, about 1/8 inch (3mm) down from the needle's insertion point. Pull the thread through.
  • Repeat the stitch, moving back and forth to each side. You may stitch along the seam about 1 inch (25mm) or so, leaving each stitch loose. When you have 5 or 6 stitches, pull the thread tight. Watch the seam close and virtually disappear!

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Arm Rods and Posable Hands | Project Puppet

Arm Rods and Posable Hands