The blanket stitch is a stitch used to reinforce the edge of thick materials. Depending on circumstances, it may also be called a whip stitch or a crochet stitch. It is defined as "A decorative stitch used to finish an unhemmed blanket. The stitch can be seen on both sides of the blanket."
This stitch has long been both an application by hand and as a machine sewn stitch. When done by hand, it is sometimes considered a crochet stitch, used to join pieces together to make a blanket or other larger item. It is used in sewing leather pieces together, as traditionally done by indigenous American cultures, and even for weaving basket rims. The whipstitch is also a type of surgical suturing stitch.
When done by machine, it may be called a whip stitch or, sometimes, a Merrow Crochet Stitch, after the first sewing machine that was used to sew a blanket stitch. This machine was produced and patented by the Merrow Machine Company in 1877. The defining characteristic of the crochet machine is its ability to sew with yarn and stitch thick goods with a consistent overlock edge. From 1877-1925 the machine evolved dramatically, and consequently so did the capacity of manufacturers to produce goods with the whip stitch. To this day, Merrow retains a patent on the mechanism that creates the blanket stitch, renewing it with each redesign, which has occurred hundreds of times since its introduction in 1877. The most recent patent renewal occurred in 1934
In the early 1990s Chinese manufacturers copied the design of the original crochet sewing machines; Merrow is currently involved in litigation with several Chinese firms who are accused of violating Merrow's intellectual property rights.
The blanket stitch is commonly used as a decorative stitch on an array of garments. Besides blankets, it is used on sweaters, outerwear, swimsuits, home furnishings, and much more. There are many styles of production blanket stitching, including rolled, narrow, with elastic, and traditional (see photos below).
Additionally, the term "blanket stitch" has become a verb, describing the application of the stitch.
- cite:Apparel Glossary of Terms|http://www.thepopshop.com/apparel-glossary.pdf
- Cox, Patty (2008). Native American Leather & Bead Crafting. Sterling Publishing Company. p. 87. ISBN 9781402735196.
- Miller, Mark D., and Brian J. Cole (2004). Textbook of Arthroscopy, Volume 355. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 661. ISBN 9780721600130.