Whip Tucks are a wonderful way to add heirloom, hand-made interest to a garment. Often Whip Tucks can be found on vintage baby clothes and vintage ladies blouses. They are simple, take up very little fabric and add a nice design interest, and can be added even after you have cut out the garment! I love regular tucks on clothes, (see Adding Tucks Tutorial), but traditional tucks need to be incorporated in the planning process. Even a 1/8 inch tuck can take up a significant amount of fabric. If I incorporated six, 1/8 inch tucks on the front of my blouse, each tuck takes up 1/4 inch of fabric (1/8 inch on each side of the tuck), multiplied by 6, that is 1 1/2 inches of fabric I have "removed" from the front of my blouse. That will affect the fit and so additional fabric needs to be added before the top is cut out.
Whip tucks only take up a thread or two of the fabric so unless you are going to incorporate gazillions, they can be added at the last minute to create a little more interest and give your blouse that extra detail. Whip Tucks can also follow a curve and do not have to follow the grain line which gives more flexibility from a design standpoint. Whip Tucks are usually done on a natural, light weight fiber - usually handkerchief linen, cotton batiste, or voile. I am incorporating them here on this Handkerchief Linen blouse.
Mark the tuck (I used a blue marking pen, making sure to follow the grain line) - if the line is straight and not curved, it should follow the grain line.
Knot and wax your thread. The thread should be invisible, so use as light a weight as possible. I used 80 weight, all cotton thread. Wax the thread to make it stronger, so you can pull it slightly. A number 7 Between or number 8 crewel (embroidery) needle both work. Crease your fabric along the line, using your fingernail to get a sharp crease.
Come up from the wrong side of the fabric, in the seam allowance, straight through the crease, burying the knot of the thread in the crease.
This stitch is worked from right to left. Insert your needle from the right, keeping it horizontal, straight through the crease. If you think of the crease as the peak of the mountain, my needle is piercing the crease 2 threads below the peak and going through the mountain to the other side. I am using pink thread for photographic purposes only. Move 2 threads down towards the bottom of the crease for your next stitch.
Continue inserting the needle from the right to the left. The thread "whips" over the top of the tuck and forms a slightly slanted stitch.
Every couple of stitches, pull tightly on the thread to form the tuck. Here is an "in progress" shot of my blouse. You can see the marked tucks on my blouse as well as two completed whip tucks.
And here is a close-up of the finished Whip Tucks!
I hope you give this technique a try. It is very easy to accomplish yet looks so elegant!