How to Sew a Whip Stitch (aka Diagonal Basting) and When to Use it

When a problem comes along, use a whip stitch!
Ash Ash (311)
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The whip stitch, also known as the diagonal basting stitch, is a really useful tool for any hand sewing enthusiast. It takes longer than a running stitch but comes with added strength that can give your project the professional touch it needs.

Embroidery NeedlesEmbroidery Needles ×1
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The whip stitch is an excellent stitch for reinforcing seams and adding strength in projects by creating a wider area of coverage.

As the name suggests, it can be used for basting a quilt (and has a diagonal design). You may find the look appealing and can even throw it into your project as an embroidered element.

This part tends to take longer than the actual sewing. Select your fabric, prep your project, and pin any pieces together you intend to sew. You may want to add guide marks for your whip stitch.

Thread knot
  • Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end. I usually add a 1" tail.
  • Pierce the fabric at the starting point for your whip stitch. I usually start from the underside of the project if there is one.
  • Pull the needle until the knot hits the fabric, being careful not to pull it through.
Whip Stitch Diagonal Basting

While a running stitch creates a long straight line, a whip stitch creates parallel diagonal stitches. Imagine a row full of slashes : / / / / / / / /

If you sketch a grid, it can help create even lines. Pierce the fabric upwards and downwards through your fabric, creating even spaced diagonal stitches. The end of one stitch should align vertically with the beginning of the next.

Whip Stitch Knot

Tie a knot at the end of your stitch and trim the excess fabric and needle from your project.

And be sure to check out my other stitch guides like how to sew running stitches, blanket stitches, and backstitches.