Top-Stitching: An Easy Detail for a Finished Look

Top-stitching is one of my favorite ways to highlight a particular area of my project — its functional and decorative. And, as previously discussed, it helps give your project (or product) a finished, professional look.


One way to achieve great top-stitcing is to use interfacing with your fabric. Interfacing provides a stable background for the stitches and helps keep the fabric from stretching.

Machine Feet for Top-stitching

You should also use the correct presser foot, to help make your stitches accurate and easy. And, always watch the foot, not the needle, when sewing.

We recommend four different foot options:

  • 1/4″ foot — most have red lines on the foot, these lines can aid when making corners
  • Notched foot — has multiple alignment points to use as a guide
  • Clear plastic foot — typically this foot has a red line in front of the needle position, which is great to use as a guide
  • Open toe foot — when following a marker or chalk line, the length of the foot can help greatly in guiding your project

Thread Selection for Top-stitching

Select your thread for top-stitching based on how much you want it to standout and on your fabric. For example, a heavy weight thread on silk or other fine fabric will cause it to pucker; silk, rayon, polyester or embroidery thread works best for these materials. Your stitch length will vary based on your fabric as well. For example, heavyweight fabrics require a longer stitch length so the stitches don’t sink into the nap.

To add a special touch, try using a twin needle while top-stitching. This will produce two evenly spaced rows at the same time.

Additional Top-stitching Tips

  • It’s best to have a few layers to stitch through
  • Start your top-stitching from the upper edge
  • When top-stitching along a seamline press your seam allowance in the same direction, so you top-stitch through more layers
  • Always end top-stitching with your needle down

What are you going to top-stitch — garments, handbags, home decor items?

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