I am a great fan of top-stitching, there’s no denying it! It is just one of those techniques that just adds a certain pizazz to the garment I’m sewing and elevates a boring make into something more interesting.
For my top-stitching I usually use “top-stitch” thread like this Gutermanns thread. The thread is extra thick and is available in many different colours; great for selecting a contrasting or matching thread for your garment.
The only drawback is that it is harder to thread the machine needle with this thicker thread. I usually use a jeans needle or another heavy-duty needle when top-stitching. Apparently, there are specialist top-stitching needles that have bigger eyes. Has anyone else tried these?
I increase my stitch length usually to “6” or “7”, which is the maximum stitch length on my machine . Sometimes I wish my machine could do longer stitches – lots of RTW jeans have quite long stitches.
The biggest problem with top-stitching is that it is very visible. Every single wobble you make is there for all the world to see. I thought I’d share a few tips that I’ve found useful on keeping the top-stitching looking good.
Unfortunately, my sewing machine, an old Singer 348 didn’t reach me with any feet other than its standard foot. I have spent a long time trying to locate new feet for it, but with limited success. I now have an adjustable zipper foot and also this “overlocking edging foot” foot. I find this foot very handy for doing my top-stitching on straight lines. I can line up the guide with the edge of the seam and it is so much easier to sew a straight line when you have an edge guide.
For my denim Viale skirt, I topstitched semi-circles on the front and back of the skirt. To get this effect I used freezer paper as a guide line.
1. Create a freezer paper template from the semi-circle on the front pattern piece
2. Place the freezer paper onto the Skirt Front. Press the freezer paper onto the skirt with a hot setting. The freezer paper adheres to the fabric.
3. Thread your machine with top-stitch thread and use the standard foot.
4. Stitch around the freezer paper template using the paper as a guide.
Many of the horror stories I’ve read online about top-stitching detail problems with skipped stitches and machines that can’t cope with bulky seams. I will thoroughly admit that I’m no expert in this respect, my old Singer makes light work of sewing through multiple layers and doesn’t tend get stuck on bulky seams. I feel rather blessed with my machine – are old machines are more adept at this sort of work?