I dedicate the Mattress Stitch to all the crocheters who hate sewing, and every crocheter who wants a beautiful, flat join. When you learn the basics you’ll find this to be reasonably quick and easy.
Why is it also called “Invisible Stitch”? The sewing thread actually weaves into the seam making it very difficult to see. It gives the illusion of being a solid piece, not something joined. In crochet, you sew on the BACK, whereas for knit items you sew on the front.
Up until I learned the Mattress Stitch I used to hate sewing things together and I would look for ANY way around sewing. Once I learned the mattress stitch, and how beautiful the end result was, I started to enjoy watching my work come together.
Yarn & Thread: This works with all yarn and thread.
Hook: You don’t use a crochet hook.
Other: Sewing or yarn needle, preferably metal with a blunt end. Choose a needle that works well with the yarn or thread you are using.
You will find the free PDF Download, for Mattress Stitch, at the end of the lesson.
When it comes right down to it, this is just weaving a thread back and forth down a seam. That’s what makes it go so quickly. I’m going to show you how to join the raw edges of a piece (the row sides), and the finished edges (the stitch tops). The biggest difference, in crochet, is that ‘most’ of the time you sew on the back / inside of a piece. With knit items you generally sew on the front. This is not a hard-and-fast rule. I’ll show you pictures in just a little while, you have the option to decide what you want the finished seam to look like.
If you know you’re going to be sewing something together, always leave enough thread at the end so you don’t have to add more.
The general rule is to bind off leaving a thread 2 times the length of the edge.
If you forget to leave a thread, measure a length of thread 2 times the length of the edge.
I used to forget to leave my long tail sewing end all the time. When you forget you have to go back and hide the loose end. Because I really hate hiding loose ends I very quickly taught myself to remember.
Before I begin the lesson I want to show you a little trick to thread your larger needles.
Just about everyone who’s ever done sewing knows that you can use a piece of thread to pull yarn through the eye of a needle. However, when you’re using larger needles and thicker yarn that becomes difficult.
On the top you see a funny looking gadget. I made this by opening a paperclip, and reshaping it a bit.
As you can see in the picture, the larger end goes into the needle eye very well, the thinner end holds onto your yarn.
Go ahead and get yourself a paperclip. You’ll find it works very well.
A finished end is the top of the stitch. This would be the same area that you would crochet into if you were continuing. This is the well defined edge making it easy to see where your needle goes. If you are crocheting an Afghan made of squares, this is how it would look.
Always start on the opposite side of where your thread is attached. In the picture I’m using the green thread, so I start on the yellow side. You always sew from the outside of the seam to the other side.
Find the ONE single thread closest to the bottom of both sides. The beginning of the row.
Sew through one thread on one side, and pick up one thread from the other. In general find the threads that lay on top if you were to hold the seams together.
Sew back and forth picking up the current closest thread, and the matching thread on the other side of the seam.
As you can see you are simply going back and forth, forming loops as you go.
Be careful to catch each stitch and it’s matching stitch on both pieces.
After about every 4 or 5 stitches, pause and pull your thread tight.
Pull your thread up along the seam, NOT away from the work.
As you can see, the loops weave into the seam and pull it tight.
Be careful at the beginning not to pull the bottom too tight, making it pucker and pull in. I pulled hard to show you how the bottom can pull up out of shape. If this happens simply grab the area and wiggle it back down until it’s even again.
Here you can see the ‘wrong’ or back side of the stitch. This is the side you’ve been sewing on.
There are times when you might want this zig-zag ‘look’ as a design to enhance your work. It makes a beautiful definition.
This is what the ‘right’ or front side of the sewing looks like.
Nice and even, and “Invisible”. Now you know where the nickname, “Invisible Stitch”, came from.
Most of the time we don’t do seam work on the nice flat sides of pieces. We need to sew up the ‘raw’ or ‘row’ side. A good example would be the sides of a sweater. Mattress Stitch works perfectly.
In this example I’m using the yellow yarn for sewing, so I would start in the first thread of green, followed by picking the first thread of yellow.
Again, this is back and forth - going from outside the seam to inside - alternating each row. Be careful to pick up only ONE thread on each side.
Find the closest thread to the seam top. And, just like the instruction above, stop every 4 or 5 stitches and pull it tight.
Here you can see the inside of the seam. This is the side you worked on.
Here you can see the outside of the seam. See how the sewing turns invisible? It’s very clean and very flat on both sides.
Okay, so you did your work in double or triple crochet - how do you sew that? Double Crochet would be one thread in the actual row, and one thread from the center of the double crochet post. Triple Crochet would be one thread in the actual row, one thread up a little into the post, another thread up a little further into the post, and then one thread into the next actual row.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are sewing squares together (like for an Afghan) make sure to weave your needle with thread to the EXACT corner before you start sewing the squares together. When working a square we often bind off a few stitches away from the exact corner.
Notice of Copyright © by Sandy Marie. All rights reserved.
Original Copyright: December 2011. Updated: January 2017.
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