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February 2017
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Topstitching Is Tops

Sometimes the little “extra” that we can do for our customer is what keeps them coming back to us.  Topstitching is one of those areas where we can recommend the extra detail to really “set off” a garment.

For style and an elegant touch of professionalism in sewing your garment, topstitching is tops! You can add this detail along a finished edge or along a seam by machine or by hand. The choices for topstitching are numerous – placement on the garment, number of rows to make, type of thread to use and the size of the needle are all to be considered.

Topstitching thread is normally identified on the spool, or you can purchase buttonhole twist. There are many types of thread that can be used for topstitching – cotton, nylon, silk, and must be selected according to the type of fabric that will have the topstitching detail.

Use a good, smooth ballpoint needle, preferably a size 18. Size 16 or smaller will suffice for many fabrics. The larger needle requirement is merely to allow the threads to pass through the needle easily.

The use of a stitching-tape enables easy placement of even rows. The tape can be separated at the desired width and adhered to the fabric in perfect position. Stitch alongside of the edge.

Ordinarily, topstitching is done on the top or right side, just as the word implies; however it can be worked from the wrong side with any special thread on the bobbin.

No advice can substitute for actually perfecting your technique on some sample swatches. Make some duplicates of the thickness of the actual fabric, lining and interlining of the garment that you’ll be topstitching, then test the threads and design of the topstitching in order to make sure the tension will be right and you’ll have a professional looking design.

Your machine manual may have some special suggestions. If your machine is built to accomodate a double or triple needle, you’ll be able to follow the directions within the manual in order to get the tension right for the topstitching.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


One Response to “Topstitching Is Tops”

  1. Mary says:

    I think I knew my work was ready when I really felt like I had mastered topstitching. It makes such a huge difference in the look of a garment, giving it that “finished” appearance. I switched to a clear acrylic presser foot to help me better see my fabric when topstitching. Made it much easier to maintain a consistent, straight line.

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