whip stitch

Begin with:

— a threaded needle and knotted thread
{click here to learn how to get that far}

— a 6” by 12” piece of light, crisp fabric
{preferably the one you used for this exercise}

— a feeling of confident anticipation
{because by the end of today, you’ll know the whip stitch!}

Take your swatch and - one at a time - fold each long edge over about 1/2”.
Press with a hot iron (set to a temperature that suits your fabric).

“Pressing” and “ironing” are two different things!
Ironing means sliding the iron over the fabric.
Pressing is setting the iron down and holding it for a moment,
then lifting it straight up, moving it to a new area of fabric, and setting it down again.
“Ironing” may stretch and warp the fabric,
so generally, pressing is my preferred method.

Once your swatch is well-pressed
fold it in half like a hamburger (not a hotdog).

The “right side” - the side you want to be on the outside of the bag -
should be on the inside when your fabric is folded.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention - we are making bag out of this swatch!
Now, on with the instructions.

Insert your needle through both folds very close to the edge,
beginning where your running stitches are.

Pull the needle through, then, to make your next stitch,
insert your needle through both folds again, slightly to the left of your first stitch.

Now, this is the important detail not to miss:
always insert the needle in the same direction.

You’ll know if you’ve done it right when you pull the needle through and tighten the thread.
The thread should loop around the folded edges as shown in the photos.

Continue stitching until you get to the corner,
then tie a knot like you did when you learned the running stitch.

Here are the instructions again, with different photos,
so that you get a different perspective on the same knot:

Take one more little stitch,
but don't pull the thread all the way through.

Twist the loop of thread you've made
into a figure-8.

Insert your needle through each of the two loops
formed by the figure-8 of thread.

Gently pull the long tail of thread
to tighten the figure-8 around the needle.

Finally, pull the needle all the way through.
There! You've made your knot!

It's now safe to snip the thread -
just not too close to the knot, or the end will slip back through.

Excellent job!
Take a deep breath and smile at what you've accomplished.

Now, do it all again on the other side.
Once that’s done, turn your little bag right-side-out and admire your work!

This tutorial is an excerpt from a free eBook with start-to-finish instructions for creating a little bag. Enter your email below and I'll send it to you too!