Topstitching is a method of sewing. It is often used in decorative, precise garment edges, such as hemlines and necklines. Giving the final product a neat border, topstitching helps provide an orderly outward appearance, with fixed stitching.
Normally, a topstitch is used in making tailored garments or accessories, such as shoes and belts. Straight stitches are used to create topstitching. These are usually made using a shade of thread that either matches or is slightly darker than the fabric of the project. To use topstitching in a decorative manner, a fancier thread or specialized stitch may be used.
Plain garments are often topstitched to create a unique style. Topstitch embroidery may be added to provide dimension and decoration. Topstitching two rows can be done to create the appearance of a flat-felled seam. Another use of topstitching is to strengthen seams and keep them flat.
When learning how to topstitch, it is recommended to be mindful of every stitch. As a decorative stitch, it is completely visible on the final product, and errors typically cannot be hidden. Each stitch should be equidistant from the seam as well as from each other to create a crisp look.
Topstitch needles should be new in order to ensure a clean stitch. Larger needles, used in thicker fabrics, may be lubricated to help create cleaner stitches. Thinner fabrics typically call for thinner needles. Topstitching thread can vary from silk, to cotton, to metallic, to embroidery thread.
Topstitch sewing may be preformed on seams pressed to one side, or on pressed-open seams. Each seam should be pressed and flat prior to topstitching. Be sure to have enough thread for the entire project prior to sewing.
In order to make the stitches even and straight, it is possible to use the pressure foot as a guide. Fabric should remain next to the edge while sewing. It can also be aligned with a mark on the feed dog plate. Disappearing markers may also be used to note seam choices in the fabric.
Fragile garments call for smaller stitches. Pieces of interfacing may also be used beneath fragile fabrics to prevent mistakes. Larger stitches may be used durable fabrics. Testing a stitch on a small scrap of the fabric being used can help the seamstress determine if the stitch is the right size. Once sewing is complete, interfacing is usually trimmed as closely as possible to the stitches made to complete the project.