Whipped back stitch may sound complicated, but the process is quite simple. It is a combination of two embroidery stitching techniques - the plain backstitch and the technique of whipping. This stitch is a very neat, controlled stitch and helps with outlines in embroidery. The whipped backstitch is well suited to the writing of numbers and letters because the stitch turns corners and curves with ease.
Whipped Backstitch Embroidery Tutorial
What is Whipped Backstitch?
Backstitch is an easy basic stitch where the needle goes back on itself to create each stitch. The whipped backstitch creates a rope-like effect which is perfect for using contrast threads.
Regulate the spacing and the length of each stitch to make it a neat outlining stitch. There are no spaces between each stitch, making it an easy stitch to complete and a perfect stitch for outlining in embroidery. Read more about how to do backstitch for beginners.
Whipped Backstitch - Supplies
The materials depend on the embroidery project. Basically, you need:
- FABRIC - Common fabrics used for embroidery include Aida and canvas.
- NEEDLE - Tapestry needle with a large enough eye to fit the thread you are using.
- THREAD - Thread of your choice to suit the design or the technique. I used 6-strand embroidery floss.
- MARKING TOOLS - A fine removable fabric marker to draw the design you wish to follow.
How to Do Whipped Backstitch, Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 - Mark the Design
Imagine a line, or draw one with a removable fabric marker. Set the points for your test swatch about ¼ inch (6mm) apart. The whipped backstitch looks best when your foundation backstitch is evenly spaced.
Step 2 - Sew the Backstitch
The foundation of the whipped backstitch is the backstitch, and getting that right ensures the rest of the stitch will look perfect. It is worth practicing the backstitch first to get the tension and spacing right.
What is Backstitch: Backstitch is a great hand stitch which can be used as an alternative when you are not able to use a sewing machine. It creates a strong stitch and is easy to use especially on children’s clothing or for that little piece of mending.
Here is a reminder of how to backstitch:
- Secure the thread with a knot or double stitch at the beginning before coming up at point (1).
- Then the needle is put through the fabric at point (2), creating the first stitch.
- Bring the thread out from the back through point (3)
- Take a backstitch into point (2). The action creates the second stitch and the first backstitch.
- The needle is then taken from this point (2) under the fabric to come out onto the right side at point (4).
- You continue to sew in this way, going back a stitch each time to create a new stitch.
This completes the simple backstitch. This stitch will fit the curves of all kinds of lines and patterns of embroidery. It looks decorative from the front, supports other designs, and is very neat at the back.
Step 2 -How to Whip through the Backstitch
Thread your tapestry or blunt-tipped needle with a contrast thread. You may want to use the same color if your aim is just an interesting outline with some texture.
- Push the needle up to the fabric's surface at the beginning of the backstitches.
- Slip the needle under the backstitch between the stitch and the fabric. (Do not pierce the fabric.)
- Pull the thread gently through the stitch on the right side of the material. Do not pull too tightly because the whipping stitch should sit neatly around the back stitches without pulling or upsetting the tension.
- Continue whipping along the backstitch until you reach the end of the required line.
- End off the whipping by going through the end hole made by the backstitch to the reverse of the fabric.
Remember, the direction of the whipped stitches must all go the same way, and therefore you must choose before you start what that direction will be. Here are 2 lines of whipped backstitch done in opposite directions.
Whipped Backstitch Uses
Whipped backstitch is a handy stitch for many sewing projects, but especially for outlining embroidery. Sewing around the edge of a finished shape or starting by sewing an outline of this stitch gives the embroidered design an elegant and controlled framework.
A whipped backstitch is ideal for outlining embroidery letters and numbers. It is a stitch that is an excellent addition to any piece of embroidered work because it can create a border following a straight line, or the stitch can follow a curved line without a break in the continuity of the stitching.
Tips for Perfect Whipped Backstitch
Tips to learn to make your whipped backstitch look professional:
- DIRECTION - Keep the stitching on the whipping side all going in the same direction.
- COLORS - Using two different colors for the stitch and the whipped stitch makes an interesting contrast for the stitch.
- NEEDLE CHOICE - Choose a sharp-tipped needle enabling you to push the needle and thread comfortably through the fabric for the backstitch. Use a tapestry needle for the whipping stitch. The blunt end will go under the backstitch comfortably without snagging. This is important because catching part of the backstitch, in the beginning, will upset the neat, clean lines.
- STITCH LENGTH - Make the backstitch sizes a length you can manage to keep evenly spaced and a size you can control the tension evenly.
- THREAD CHOICE - Different thicknesses of thread will alter the impact of the design. A whipped backstitch can resemble a corded rope with thick threads and Perle cotton, while a very delicate pattern is achieved through the use of single strands of embroidery floss.
- USE FOR OUTLINING - Use the whipped backstitch to embroider a picture and fill in colored areas as if you were painting with the stitch. Sew back and forth over the design keeping the stitches close together to fill each area.
Alternatives to Whipped Backstitch
Couching embroidery stitch is another stitch that gives a similar appearance to whipped backstitch. Couching is better suited to thick yarns and threads. Stem stitch and outline stitch also look similar but take longer to embroider.
Whipped Backstitch - In Conclusion
You will never be accused of being a bit backward in your sewing skills by learning whipped backstitch! It is an elementary and very understated stitch perfect for outlining and creating textured lines.
Whipped Backstitch Tutorial
- Embroidery Hoop
- Hand Sewing Needle
- Embroidery Floss
- Sew a line of regular backstitch.
- How to Backstitch - Come up at point (1). Then the needle is put through the fabric at point (2). Bring the thread out from the back through point (3). Take a backstitch into point (2) and come up at point (4).
- With the second needle, Push the needle up to the fabric's surface at the beginning of the backstitches. Slip the needle under the backstitch between the stitch and the fabric. Pull the thread gently through the stitch on the right side of the material.
- Continue whipping along the backstitch until you reach the end of the required line. End off the whipping by going through the end hole made by the backstitch to the reverse of the fabric.