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Ole South

What To Do When A Saddle-Stitch Just Won't...

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I've searched these forums and lots of other web resources for hand-sewing techniques to little avail... so I'm starting thread in the hopes others here will contribute their expertise and experience.

Sometimes you want or need to handsew something and a saddle or whip stitch just isn't what you want. I looked for a long time without much success which leads me to believe this is either: 1) So simple caveman did it. Or 2) We think everyone just knows this stuff!!!

Forgive me if this falls into either of the above two categories but when I started I didn't know how to do this.

(Disclaimer: I lay no claim to the following's invention or development other than to offer it up here as a useful technique and hope that others will add more.)

Bar X Stitch

As always, begin at the beginning:


post-52648-0-80327200-1427405813_thumb.j post-52648-0-39290000-1427408377_thumb.j

Wing divider 1/4" (Over)Stitch Wheel 5 spi

Punch (make some holes)

post-52648-0-94834400-1427406261_thumb.j post-52648-0-25698800-1427406670_thumb.j

Hand Punch Awl

Needle and thread


#4 harness needles. How much thread? I use the “8x2” method. 8 wraps around front and back of the sewing line (front AND back being the “2”) rather than 16 times the stitch line it’s quicker for me. Use whatever works for you though.

First Stitch
Both needles through from the back; in this case the flesh side and pull even the thread length.


Next we take the right needle (it doesn’t matter which needle you choose but be consistent! Do each complete stitch exactly as each previous stitch.) You can begin with a tie by taking each needle into the opposite threaded hole and back out its original hole from the fleshside if you like but I haven’t here (see last images).

Step 1 of Stitch
Okay… NOW we take the right needle into the 2nd left diagonal hole and back out its opposite (straight across) right hole.


Step 2 of Stitch
Next we take the left needle (the needle being used is always the one in the frame) into the diagonal right hole and back out its opposite left hole.


This makes the “X” (remember the needle in the frame is the needle we just used)

(Backside view)


This is the “Bar”. Notice the two threads overlap on this side. Pull thread snug to tight on the flesh side.

Next Stitch
Repeat steps 1 and 2.


What it looks like front and back.


I’ve transitioned to simple X stitch to show the differences. “Bars” on one side, “X”s on the other gives us Bar-X. It’s extremely strong especially for curve binding. The key to making this stitch is “don’t let go of that needle once you begin a stitch until the needle is back topside” and always begin your next stitch with the same needle left or right. If you are working around a form or a long run curved needles do help.


This example has a “tie” at the top and bottom.

To finish and to paraphrase Socrates: “I myself know nothing, just a little, enough to extract discussion from another, who is wise and will receive it fairly.”

Please add a stitch to complete this thread… (yeah, I know…. that's punny )

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Thank you for taking the time to spell this out.

It does make a lot of difference and is a great stitch to have in the line-up.

Nice Job! rg

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I did a search for "Curved Needles" and this came up. Its cool because this is the exact stitch I plan on doing and why I was looking up curved needles in the first place.

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Baseball stitch 7 oz chrome tan stretched around a titanium bike lock. .6mm tiger thread.


Edited by TinkerTailor

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I'm glad it helped Dan!

I was hoping someone would add the baseball stitch this thread, Tinker. Care to do a quick tutorial??(please, please, huh huh?)

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I'll see if I can explain with the pictures I have at home. On a bus right now.

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Grey Drakkon asked about a "Twisted Rope" lacing. Could be a Lazy S stitch or One Thong Stair Stitch... not sure how much different they are or if people just use the names interchangably. Its pretty close to an embroidery Stem Stitch using a single line of holes.

Lay out your line. Punch your holes. I spaced the holes the width of the lace/thread apart. The hole punch is slightly smaller than the lace width.

For this example we'll number the holes top to bottom/left to right 1,2,3...etc.

Cut a long taper on your lace.

Start your lace thru Hole 1 from the back.

(Front view).


(Back view)

Notice I've marked a line down "the flesh side" of the lace for the tutorial so we can watch for twists.

Run it into Hole #2 from the front and back out Hole 1 from the backside.


Come out to the right of the top loop.

Notice the line (flesh side of lace) is always "to the leather", no twisting.


Pull snug


Run lace into Hole 3 from the front (keep the topside out and flesh side of the lace to the leather)


And back out Hole #2 from the back.


Keep end to the right of the top loop.

Pull snug (NO twists)

Pull your lace a little to the left and it should look like this


Now we're going to continue on down the line. Enter the next empty hole from the front and "back stitch" into the previous (filled) hole from the back, bring the lace through and to the right of the top loop and pull snug.


(Back view)

As you enter from the back if you pull the lace already in the hole on the front, up toward the top of the piece you'll have enough space to poke the tip of your lace in from the bottom of the hole. This helps to keep your lace from twisting and lets it lie flat on the backside.


Don't let your lace twist and it should come out like this.

post-52648-0-09880500-1446931658_thumb.j Front post-52648-0-14928200-1446931672_thumb.j Back

I ran a line of woven waxed thread along side for contrast. I used a 2mm pricking iron for the spacing.

I'll do a Two Thong Stair version next.

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Here is a twisted rope with very fine thread at 12 or so spi if i remember correctly. It is the stitch attaching the leather to the waxed canvas on this dopp kit::


Here is some examples of the bar x stitch:


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Thanks SO MUCH it was driving me mad! I'll have to give it a try right away.

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