How to work Whipped Chain Stitch

How to work Whipped Chain Stitch

Whipped Chain Stitch is a handy variety of chain stitch as it creates a slightly stronger line than ordinary chain stitch. It stands a little more proud of the surface.

Whipped chain stitch sample 1The thread that you use to whip the foundation line of chain stitches with can be of a contrasting colour, or texture. You can also use many novelty threads with this technique too. On the other hand you can use a thread of the same colour as I have done in the sample above. I used whipped chain stitch to outline the shape of the two geckoes before surrounding them in other forms of surface embroidery.

How to work Whipped Chain Stitch

To start you need to know chain stitch as the first step is to work a foundation row of chain stitch.

Whipped chain stitch step 1Make each chain stitch slightly longer and a little looser than normal because the line of stitching will tighten slightly when you whip it and you dont want your work to pucker. .

Whipped chain stitch step 2With a second thread whip the foundation row by passing the needle under each chain stitch as illustrated. When you do this take care not to pick up any of the fabric.   Use a blunt-ended tapestry needle for the whipping to avoid splitting the chain stitches on the foundation row.

Whipped chain stitch step 3Continue until the end of the line.

Whipped chain stitch sample 2

This is a particularly useful stitch if a raised line is required on a delicate fine fabric which can not accept a heavy thread through the weave. You can work a foundation row of stitches in a fine thread then whip the line with a heavier thread.

How to work Version 2 of Whipped Chain Stitch

This is a fun version of whipped chain. In this version of whipped chain instead of whipping over each chain stitch you whip both sides of the chain working up one side of the line then working the other. It produces a stitch that looks totally different and is particularly effective if you use a different colour thread. Using a metallic thread to whip the side is very effective.

Whipped chain stitch version 2 step 1Work a foundation row of chain stitch. For the journey use a blunt-ended tapestry needle to avoid splitting the chain stitches on the foundation row.

Bring your needle out at the start of the line and pass it under one side of the first chain stitch as illustrated. With your needle under the side of chain stitch and pointed towards the centre line pull your needle through. At this stage of the process take care not to pick up any of the fabric.

Whipped chain stitch version 2 step 2Continue whipping the side of each chain stitch until the end of the line and take your thread to the back of the work. If the line of stitching is lengthy finish the thread by tying off the thread at the back of your work.

Whipped chain stitch version 2 step 3For the next journey, bring your needle out at the start of the line and repeat the same whipping action along the other side of the foundation chain stitches. Once again pass your needle under each chain stitch. With each stitch make sure your needle is  pointed towards the centre line and take care not to pick up any of the fabric.

Whipped chain stitch version 2 step 4Continue until the line is completely worked. As you can see the effect is fun and it is easily and quickly worked. Children love it and if the line is not too fine small hands can work it making this version of Whipped Chain Stitch ideal to include in children’s projects.

Both of these varieties of chain stitch are members of the Chain stitch family.


  1. Thank you for the different versions of chain stitch. I use whipped chain stitch a lot as it makes such a lovely distinct line for stems etc. Can’t wait to try the ones you have illustrated.

    Joan Flynn
  2. Love it Sharon! I am in the middle of making one of Dijanne Cevaal’s travellers blankets and using chain stitch a lot . This will be an interesting variation . Thank you so much. I am really enjoying doing the blanket. My theme is the Camel Estuary in Cornwall and the St Endellion Music Festival where we go every year.. Recent
    Australian visitors to see Arthur Phillip’s grave at Bathampton church tell me there is quite a drought in parts of Australia. Hope you are OK. Best wishes Andy

    Andy Lloyd Williams

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