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Thread: Whip Stitch vs. Ladder Stitch

  1. #1
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Whip Stitch vs. Ladder Stitch

    I've seen different teachers promote one or the other for hand applique. Leah Day actually teaches both.

    But I've always wondered... does one technique last better over time than the other? I've tried them both & they both look fine after the first couple washes, but I wonder if it matters over the years. Does anyone know? Is one more secure than the other?

  2. #2
    Super Member CarolinePaj's Avatar
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    I don't know the answer but I am really interested to know...... So come on all you applique ladies..... Tell us!!!!

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    Caroline
    Caroline

  3. #3
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I use bondaweb to stick applique down then blanket stitch the edges . This holds very well. But once the stick has been washed out they do fray.
    I have never used whip stitch or ladder stitch on applique only used them for joining hexagons.Once fraying began inside the seam they can theoretically unravel. Never had the problem though or seen it.

    my avatar is reverse applique which I hand stitched with a slip stitch. Didn't like it so used a fancy stitch on my sewing machine and went round edges. I worked in small blocks so was easy to do. Would hate the job on a full quilt.
    Last edited by DOTTYMO; 07-14-2015 at 11:50 PM.
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  4. #4
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    The applique that I did not stabilize eventually frayed or came loose after a few years of quilt use. I use interfacing on all the background fabric now and that has made a big difference. I use the ladderstitch when hand appliqueing and sewing binding.
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  5. #5
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    My great-grandmother's appliqué quilts were done with appliqué stitch, not whip or ladder, and they are still 100% secure after more than 100 years.

    Appliqué stitch is like a backwards blind hem stitch; you see the side that would be on the outside of you hem. It's virtually invisible. I happily follow her lead and use it for both appliqué and bindings.



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  6. #6
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    I use the applique stitch for needle-turn applique (as taught by the Piece O' Cake ladies). I hadn't heard of ladder stitch used in applique; it seems like it would be hard to do a ladder stitch as small as the applique stitch. I've seen whip stitch used in applique as a decorative choice when it's meant to be obvious.

    I'd say for durability, nothing is going to beat the applique stitch.

  7. #7
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Ghostrider,
    I think we are talking about the same thing when you say "applique stitch" and I say "whip stitch". Too many of these teachers -- especially the ones online -- all use different terms & some of them I have now found even use the term "whip stitch" to mean blanket stitch. Others use whip stitch to mean looping through the front, and yet others (like those I've seen in person & on the internet) use the term whip stitch interchangeably with "applique stitch". So confusing!!!!!!!!!

    I did finally find something on Connecting Threads once I used the term "blind" stitch (you're right, it's not a true blind). They said that the applique stitch gives a smoother finish. So I think that's what I'm going to stick with going forward. It's the first stitch I learned & is much easier for me to do.

  8. #8
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    A whip stitch is like you would do a hem and it shows on the outside edge of the hem. Most teach what is called numerous names but I consider it a ladder stitch. I do that technique for applique and stitching the binding to the back of a quilt. You come up, take a bit and go back down where you originally came up. Think I learned that stitch in 7th grade Home Eco.
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  9. #9
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    I use the ladder stitch when attaching my binding. I use the applique stitch for applique. (tiny stitches, traveling a very short distance)

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    I use the applique stitch for my hand applique. Doesn't show on the front. Use the same stitch for hand sewing binding.

  11. #11
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    I would say, take some picture and show what you are doing. Different parts of the country call things by different names. Pictures always help with any questions.

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    I only use a ladder stitch when I am doing EPP, because it passes from one hex to another. You can do a longer stitch, and it isn't seen. For needle turn applique, I use the applique stitch, usually with 100 wt. silk thread or 50/2 Mettler Silk cotton thread. If I'm doing machine applique, I use either a tiny zig zag stitch with poly thread, if I don't want the stitch seen, or the double buttonhole stitch (which to me looks much nicer than the single buttonhole stitch) if I want it to be seen.

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    I had the great fortune to study applique from Pat Campbell and I use and teach her needle turn applique stitch. None of my stitches show on the front. I love doing it and it does not come apart.

  14. #14
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    If I am doing hand applique, I use a very tiny stitch that I suppose could be called a whipstitch,but for most whimsical pieces I just use fuseable and a ladder or buttonhole stitch.

  15. #15
    Super Member kristakz's Avatar
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    I use applique stitch (never knew it was called that, but I watched this video, and that's exactly what I do http://www.connectingthreads.com/tut...itch__D54.html). I do the same stitch when attaching my binding on the back of the quilt. Almost invisible, and I've never had any issues with the stitching coming out. Of course, this is only for applique where you have turned under the raw edge. Any raw edge applique is going to fray too much for this stitch to hold. I would machine stitch with a blanket stitch or zigzag in that case.

  16. #16
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bree123 View Post
    I've seen different teachers promote one or the other for hand applique. Leah Day actually teaches both.

    But I've always wondered... does one technique last better over time than the other? I've tried them both & they both look fine after the first couple washes, but I wonder if it matters over the years. Does anyone know? Is one more secure than the other?
    Fifteen years ago I made 10 sundresses as survival gear when I moved to Texas. Many of them have appliqués at the neckline, half of which were ladder stitch until I learned that whip stitch is easier (for me) to do. I am still wearing them in the summer, have washed them hundreds, maybe even thousands of times and no broken stitches, no lifting, nothing. Do what works for you. I did a monster size Seminole patchwork around one of the skirts, that I wasn't sure would hold up, but wanted to try, and after ten years of wearing, was altered into a table cover for a small round table that is a till in good shape too. They are all much softer now, and a bit faded, bit no other issues.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carolynjo View Post
    I had the great fortune to study applique from Pat Campbell and I use and teach her needle turn applique stitch. None of my stitches show on the front. I love doing it and it does not come apart.
    How blessed you are to have studied applique from Pat. She was a master.

  18. #18
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    I do the whip stitch and think it's stronger, jmho.
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  19. #19
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Yes, Kristakz, that is the stitch I had heard called a "whip stitch". It isn't the same whip stitch I would use when I used to make clothes, but I see the resemblance. I'm going to stick with that. It really does give me a smoother edge around curves & is ever so slightly less visible than the ladder stitch (neither one is very visible -- when I match the thread perfectly, you can't even see the stitches when you squint).

    I still love Aurifil thread most of all. I do wish they would come out with a Silk line of their threads. I would definitely be buying those up. But I really like the idea of keeping everything cotton (fabric, batting, thread) and 50/2 Aurifil really isn't visible with an applique stitch unless you are searching for it with a magnifier. I may have to try some YLI 100wt silk in my next applique quilt just to compare. It's always fun to try something new. Just wish they sold spools of thread in something smaller than 200m because it seems like too often I pick very different colors from one quilt to the next. My next organization purchase will definitely be a clear box with plastic dowels to corral all my threads and keep them from getting dusty.

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