How have you been liking Home Ec 101’s recent sewing posts? Have they inspired you to finally tackle that mending pile? Are you rocking oh-so stylishly patched jeans? Or are you the smart kid in class, bored and wondering when we’ll do a project that doesn’t rely on the plain old straight stitch? If you’re one of our many resident smarties, be prepared to be excited! Well, as excited as you can be about sewing, which in my case is really excited! But before we get started on our new project, I’m going to teach you a very handy, super easy stitch. It’s so easy, in fact, that you probably already know it! It’s wonderful for making strong, albeit slightly unsightly, seams and—bonus!!—its name always gets me singing: whip stitch. (Whip stitch good.)
The Whip Stitch:
Step 1: Thread your needle and knot your thread as you learned in steps 4, 5, and 6 the first sewing post, How to Repair an Unraveled Seam. My pictures show contrasting doubled thread (four strands instead of two), but it’s only to make the stitches easier for you to see.
Step 2: Line up the edges of your two pieces of fabric. Insert the needle through both layers of fabric from bottom to top. Bring the thread around the edges of the fabric to help prevent future fraying.
Step 3: Insert the needle into the bottom of the fabric about 1/8” from your last stitch. Again, stitch from bottom to top, making sure the thread “whips” around the fabric’s edge. Repeat until you get to the end of your fabric.
Step 4: Turn your work so that the bottom layer is now the top layer. Reinforce your stitching by repeating step 3, except in the opposite direction. These new stitches shouldn’t cover the ones made in step 3, and your reinforced stitches should look a bit like X’s/crosses. Don’t worry if your fabric’s edges start to roll, as it helps keep the seam strong.
Feel free to practice until you’re comfortable with the whip stitch. Once you’ve got it down, you’re ready to tackle our next repair: the frankenseam. Have you ever, say, caught the pocket of pajamas on a chair or snagged a shirt on a loose nail? If so, you know the seemingly irreparable tears that result. Now that you know the whip stitch, however, those snags and rips are a thing of the past. Sure, you’re going to have some pretty wonky looking repair jobs, but if enough of us mend our clothes instead of tossing them, maybe we’ll end up making sustainablility the new black!
What You’ll Need:
- Clothes with a tear not on the seam
- Matching thread
- Pinking shears
- Sharp sewing scissors
- Fine tipped all purpose needle
Step One: Turn your torn article of clothing inside out. Use your pinking shears to carefully trim around the tear in order to prevent future fraying.
Step Two: Thread your needle and knot the thread just like you did before.
Step Three: Working on the wrong side of the fabric, pinch the opposite sides of the tear together so that you have two layers of fabric. Start sewing by inserting the needle from bottom to top through both layers of fabric. To continue, whip stitch down the length of the tear.
Step Four: Reinforce your stitching as you did in step four of the whip stitch lesson (above). Remember that it doesn’t have to be pretty!
Step Five: Tie off your thread, turn your project right side out, and admire your work!
Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor. You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.