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The Upholsterer's or Invisible Stitch ...

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by LordRusty, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    On any and all incisions - most especially the main incisions ... dorsal or ventral (belly) - I use an "Upholsterers" Stitch - the "Invisible" Stitch - to close the skin. It draws the skin down and in on itself, literally making it "invisible."

    Start by knotting off the thread, go up on one side. Come back over the top, and go down through the opposite side ...

    Go up through the same side the needle just passed through!

    Cross over to the opposite side, and pass the needle down through the skin from the hair side ...

    Keep the thread from catching the hair or fur, and pull the thread down ...

    ... then again up through the flesh side of the skin on the same side the needle just passed down through.

    Pull together the two or three stitches just made. You can continue, or - my recommendation - knot off the thread, and then continue. Basically it's like 'rinse and repeat', but in this case it's 'stitch and repeat'.

    If you grind a shallow groove in the top of the mannikin's back, the length of the incision, fill it with clay, the sewn incision can be pressed into the clay further hiding it. You can use a rubber mallet and gently tap the seam flat into the clay. Insect pins can further hold the skin until the mount is dry.

    On some mounts I will even use this stitch to close the legs! On very thin tanned skins I use either 3-0 or 4-0 Silk Suture and this particular stitch to close these incisions. Keeping the hair or fur out of the stitch is the key, and is much easier than you might first think!

    It's more work than just carefully sewing an incision together, but then again, you have a damn near flawlessly sewn mount.

    There you go!

  2. Rhonda

    Rhonda Member

    Thanks John Going to try this today :)

  3. BDrake

    BDrake Active Member

    Your last sentance is very true. Damn good stitch.
  4. dugart

    dugart Doug Smith / D-Sign,LLC. 616-392-3841

    One again, John's sharing some great teaching. This stitch is the ticket if you don't want to see your seams and you can really close up pretty wide gaps without having the thread cut through the skin.

    Atta Boy John! Thanks
  5. zubba

    zubba Active Member

    I started using this stitch on short haired whitetails. Love the results...just wish I was more coordinated with my left hand. :-\ It probably looks like I'm dancing around my mounting stand when I sew....always trying to use my right hand. ;D
  6. redog76

    redog76 New Member

    thanks John
  7. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    also a must for african work
  8. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    My dad was an upholsterer for 50+ yrs, I grew up in his shop, we used that stitch to sew up out arms and outside backs. I've made thousands of those stitches in my youth. He called it a blind stitch.
  9. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    It actually goes by four names that I am aware of: The Upholsterer's Stitch; The Invisible Stitch - which was used to assemble Wonder Woman's plane ;D; The Hidden Stitch; and ... The Blind Stitch. "Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent!" ;)

  10. John

    Thank you very much for the great advice. I have beeen looking for a great stich for african heads. this looks like the ticket.
  11. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    So it looks like you are doing something like a whip stitch and baseball stich combined where you go through side A, then through A again, then over to B, then to B again, then back over to A.
  12. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    Down through side A, up through side A - cross over to down through side B, up through side B - back over to down through side A, rinse and repeat. Not like the Whip or Baseball stitch. It is what it is.


    FIELD2FOREVER The more I learn, The more I don't Know!!

    Just Marking this, I can never get this stich right
  14. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for clarifying, John. That's what I thought. What I meant by comparing it to the baseball is that it is like the baseball except you go through each side twice, which I know makes it a completely different stitch. By the way, I did buy some of that silk thread you recommended from the medical supply company you listed. It works well on small facial holes, but I've noticed I can't put any stress on it at all or it breaks super easily. It does hide amazingly well, though. Thanks for the pictures and description.
  15. If I'm interpreting John's pictures correctly this is the same stitch that is known as a Lembert stitch in surgery. There is a piece of U Tube video that demonstrates it used in the skin from a different perspective. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEqbXfS7PwE> In surgery it is commonly used to close bowel and NOT skin as it turns an edge of skin into the wound which will delay healing; not so much a factor sewing tanned hide. If this is not what John is showing, I apologize for confusing things.
  16. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    No Doc ... not the same stitch at all. The tanned hide does not pucker as shown in the video. The straight ends of the incision are actually turned in and down on themsleves. Similar, but a different, neater approach.

  17. Joe Winsor

    Joe Winsor Active Member

    thanks for posting this
  18. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I was told this is a whip stitch.
  19. I employ that same stitch in my work and it works wonders on most African game, but the real tricky one is an Impala, it is almost impossible to get all the hair down flat!! any suggestions?
  20. Ted B

    Ted B Active Member

    The whp stitch is totally different, sometimes its called a rolling stitch, but its just a continuous loop. This stitch is much harder.