How to Make a Whip Stitch

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Use a whip stitch to join seams in felt or knitted items.
Use a whip stitch to join seams in felt or knitted items. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The whip stitch is a simple stitch that is commonly used to sew together two layers of fabric to make a seam. The whip stitch can either be sewn with a matching thread or made more decorative by sewing with a contrasting thread. The whip stitch is ideal when joining together two layers of felt, as it not only holds the layers securely together, it also creates a decorative embroidery effect around the edges.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors

Thread your needle with a thread that matches the fabric you're sewing. Tie a knot in the end of the thread.

Hold both layers of fabric together with the edges level. Insert your needle between the two layers and push it up through the top layer, 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric. Pull the thread through so the knot is hidden between the two layers.

Take your needle around to the back of the two layers, and push it up through both layers 1/4 inch from the first stitch.

Take a needle around to the back of the two layers again, and make another stitch up from the back to the front through both layers of fabric. Repeat, keeping the stitches equally spaced apart and all the same length.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you run out of thread halfway along the seam, tie the tail of the thread to the previous stitch and hide the tail by running a long stitch in between the two layers of fabric. Join a new length of thread in the same way you started with the original thread.
  • Avoid pulling the stitches too tight or they may dig into the top of the fabric and cause distortions.
  • Whip stitches may be made further apart than 1/4 inch, and may also be either longer or shorter, depending on the effect you wish to create.
  • The whip stitch is also useful when sewing up seams on knitted or crocheted items.
  • The whip stitch is not ideal to use on seams in regular dressmaking fabrics, as it does not have strength or invisibility of running or back stitches. It is, however, suitable for use on hems. When used on flat seams and made with very small stitches, it is almost invisible.

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