Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tutorial: Hand Sew Felt Using Whip Stitch

When you read this tutorial, my instructions might seem terribly obvious.  But if you look at the stitching on my first stuffie, you'd see it wasn't obvious to me. :)  Now that I've worked out a system, I'm able to jump right into my felt projects without having to labor over, and struggle with, the stitching.

For other options to hand sew felt see my blanket stitch tutorial and my post about choosing between whip stitch and blanket stitch.

(1) Place the wrong-sides of the felt layers together and pin or baste them together.

Note One: All stitches should go in and come out about an eighth of an inch back from the edge of the felt.

Note Two: I used to struggle with knotting my floss, but Heather Bailey's Best Knot Ever Tutorial changed my hand sewing and embroidery forever.  Seriously.

On the right-hand side, take your knotted floss and go from the inside of the bottom layer through to the outside. The knot should be sandwiched between the two layers with your floss coming out of the bottom layer.

(2) Put the needle through the top layer exactly above where the floss is coming out of the bottom layer.  Push the needle through the original hole in the bottom layer.  Pull through both layers.

This stitch will help anchor the two layers of felt together to minimize slipping as you sew.

(3) Put the needle through existing hole in the top layer.  Put  the needle in at an angle so the point comes out of the bottom layer about an eighth of an inch to the left of the first stitch. Pull through both layers. This stitch will cover the first stitch.

(4) Put the needle through the top layer above where the floss is coming out of the bottom layer. Put the needle in at an angle so the point comes out of the bottom layer about and eighth of an inch to the left of the previous stitch. Pull through both layers.

(5) Repeat across.

(6) When you make your last stitch, put the needle through the top layer above where the floss is coming out of the bottom layer. Push the needle through the last hole in the bottom layer.  Pull through both layers.

(7) Put your needle through the last hole in the top layer so the needle point is between the two layers of felt. Pull through.  This stitch will cover the last stitch you made.

[FOR A CLOSED SHAPE - Put your needle in through the last hole in the top layer so the needle point comes out of the seam between the two layers next to the last stitch.  Pull the needle through to the outside of the piece.]

(8) On the inside of the two layers of felt, put your needle under the last stitch.

[FOR A CLOSED SHAPE - Put your needle's point back through the seam and catch an inside diagonal stitch.  Sometimes I leave the last inside diagonal stitch a little loose so it's easy to catch. If you can't catch an inside diagonal stitch, you can put your needle under one of the outside stitches.]

(9) Wrap the floss around the tip of your needle two times, and pull the needle through to create a knot on the inside of the two layers.

[FOR A CLOSED SHAPE - Whether you caught an inside stitch or an outside stitch, after you make your knot, put the needle in through the seam and pull it out somewhere else on the piece.  Tug on the floss a little to pull the knot through the seam to hide it. ]

(10) Pull the pieces apart to flatten the stitches.

When making a stuffie, put about 2 times the amount of stuffing that you think will fit in your piece.  As long as you aren't misshaping your stuffie, keep adding stuffing. Tightly packed stuffing pulls the pieces apart so the stitches will lay flat.  Also, the tighter you stuff your piece, the less lumpy it will look.
20 Comments (comments are disabled)

Laura said ...
Thank you very much for this tutorial!!! I've done a little Mp3 player case with your help!!
(I've linked you in my blog).
Have a nice day!!
9/19/2010 1:50 AM

futuregirl replied ...
Laura ... Thank you for the sweet comment. I'm glad my tutorial helped you! :)
9/27/2010 6:04 PM

melisa said ...
dear Alice, thanks a lot for this tutorial. recently i've planned to learn making some felt creation, but i dont even know how to stitch or sew! -_-" ur tutorial really help me out, hope u have a wonderfull day ^__^
10/3/2010 7:55 PM

e said ...
Thanks so much for posting this. I know that many, many people are crafty and already know the basics but some of us still need them.
11/14/2010 6:02 PM

futuregirl replied ...
e ... We *all* needed the basics at some point. No one was born knowing this stuff. :) Thanks for visiting and leaving a sweet comment.
1/27/2011 2:11 PM

Nancy said ...
Thanks for this! I'm making some slippers for my husband and kiddo (also named Alice!), and I think I'll whip-stitch it by hand instead of using the machine.
12/1/2010 1:53 PM

threadedpaint said ...
This tutorial is the BEST ever on the whip stitch. I have this bookmarked whenever I need a little refresher or guidance on what to do. It's so clearly written and explained, thank you for sharing :o)
3/9/2011 8:34 AM

futuregirl replied ...
threadedpaint ... Aww, thank you! What an awesome comment!
3/15/2011 11:43 PM

Vic said ...
Thanks for your tutorial.. I want to make a stuffy wallet and cell phone pouch for my friend (a girl) and i knew nothing about sewing before reading this tutorial :) hope she like it ;)
6/28/2011 3:14 AM

Chris C said ...
This is great!!! Thank you so much for posting!
12/7/2011 12:06 PM

danny said ...
12/15/2011 4:11 AM

Melissa said ...
Thank you so much for this and the blanket stitch post. I bought a pattern and felt and had no clue how to do the stitches and thanks to you I'm off and running. Or stitching, I guess. :)
1/10/2012 12:18 AM

Lea said ...
I've been stitching for years and didn't know how to do this simple stitch properly. Thank you soooo much!
1/28/2012 8:20 AM

Sue said ...
love your tutorials, I will save this to my favs.
2/25/2012 5:56 PM

Carin said ...
Can anyone tell me what needle I am supposed to use. I bought felt and floss and struggled to get the floss through the eye of the needle. Then the shocker...I can't get it to go through the felt. I am using an embroidery needle (or so it says on the packet)
3/20/2012 8:18 AM

futuregirl replied ...
Carin ... I don't know much about needles, but it sounds like maybe you need to split your embroidery floss into strands. It usually comes in 6-strand twists. I embroider with 2 or 3-strand lengths.
5/16/2012 7:31 PM

Carol Lim said ...
Hello! Just wanted to thank you for the helpful and lovely tutorials! It was thanks to you that I've finally understood some of the basic stitches! Hurray!
Pls check out my blog as well!

9/20/2013 4:04 AM

Laura said ...
Thanks for the tutorials! Some of us are still absolute beginners and this really comes in handy. Never had a mom around when I was young to show me these things. Now that I'm 35 and have a daughter of my own, I've really had a new found interest in learning how to sew lately. Thanks for your help and I will continue to read. :)
4/9/2014 10:14 AM

futuregirl replied ...
Laura ... I'm happy my tutorial was helpful to you. :) Thanks for taking the time to comment
4/19/2014 8:38 PM
Ana said ...
Thank you soooo much for this tutorial! I have been in search of how to properly stitch my felt creations and I just could not figure it out. I am so excited about it :) Thanks Again.

5/16/2014 4:13 PM