Sewing – The Whip Stitch

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 170,813
    Sewing expert Dawn Anderson demonstrates how to sew the whip stitch.

    Dawn Anderson

    Dawn began sewing when she was 5 years old and it has since become a lifelong pursuit. Dawn earned a B.A. from Shenandoah University and an M.F.A. from Indiana University, both in Theatre Costume Design. During graduate school she had the opportunity to study in England at Bournemouth University where she focused on corsetry techniques, traditional hand tailoring, and fashion history. During college she worked as a costume designer and patternmaker for theatre and dance, making custom clothing for performers, specialty garments, historic reproductions, corsetry, millinery, and taught basic to advanced sewing classes. After college, she went to work as a free-lance designer and cutter in Edinburgh, Scotland. She returned to the US and began her small ready to wear line and sewing pattern company in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. She currently sells sewing patterns for clothing and hats on her website and at tradeshows. She hand makes men's custom jackets and is expanding her women's ready to wear lines. Dawn currently teaches couture sewing and hat making at sewing conventions, local stores, and in her home in Northern Virginia. She is a member of the American Sewing Guild and leads her own group dedicated to Couture Sewing. Dawn has begun writing for sewing magazines and is working on a book on tailoring. She has also started filming sewing instruction videos and hopes to one day have her own TV show on sewing. Please feel free to visit her website for more information.

    Hi, I'm Dawn Anderson and I'm showing you how to sew by hand. Right now we're working on the whip stitch. The whip stitch is a very basic hand hemming-stitch, which is characterized by very small, diagonal stitches on the top side of the fabric, which if you're making a hem, this would actually be the inside of your garment. Then on the reverse side, there are very small, nearly invisible stitches. Certainly if you use matching thread, you wouldn't see them at all, and that's why we do hems by hand because they are nearly invisible, machines cannot replicate this stitch yet.

    To begin sewing the whip stitch, cut approximately 18 inches of thread. Thread your needle on one end and tie a small knot in the other end. To begin the stitch sequence, you will start from the underside of the folded edge, take your needle through, start out this way. Then you're going to come across the folded edge, pick up a very small amount of fabric, swing your needle under the folded edge, like that, and then pull the thread through.

    The second stitch, you will see the angle a little bit better, come across, take up a small amount, swing your needle under, and pull the thread through. You can begin to see a nice diagonal stitches on the top side, and just a small amount of fabric that we take up. To the diagonal, and then I will flip it over and show you the very small stitches that you would see on the reverse side. You can use this stitch to hem trousers, sleeves, jackets, even close up linings. Continue sewing your stitch sequence for as long as your seam. When you're finished, go ahead and knot it on the top side. So, again form your knot, have it go right down to the fabric surface, put your thumb on it, pull it tight, cut your thread, and that's how you sew a whip stitch. Now, lets move on to sewing the slip stitch.