12/31 | How to Topstitch Like a Pro

Let’s talk about topstitching! learning how to topstitch like a pro will allow you to make super professional and high-quality sewing projects. This post is mostly for people just learning how to sew and looking for sewing for beginners content but even if you are a seasoned sewist, there are probably a few tips and tricks in here that you could benefit from.

So what even is topstitching? Topstitching is basically any stitching that is seen on the top or exterior of your project.

This can be intimidating because most stitches are done on the wrong side of the fabric and are never seen, meaning it is a litter easier to hide if you mess up. Topstitching is important though, for two main reasons. It adds stability and keeps things more secure as well as adding a pretty and decorative finishing touch.

Pro Topstitching Tips

Use a longer stitch length- When you are adding your topstitching, lengthen your stitches. They should be longer than your joining stitches. My go -to length for general stitches is 2.5 but for topstitching, I usually stick with 3 or 3.5. The reason for this is that it is actually easier to sew in a straight line when your stitch length is longer. I also think it looks a little bit nicer and more professional. Because these stitches aren’t generally what is holding the project together, you don’t really lose anything from increasing the stitch length.

Sew a little faster- 
Did you know that typically the faster you sew, the straighter your stitches are? It might seem counter-intuitive to go faster on the stitching that will be seen the most, but trust me its a thing. Actually, don’t just trust me, test it out for yourself.

Don’t Backstitch- When you start top stitching, don’t do a backstitch. Since topstitching’s main purpose isn’t keeping the fabric together, this isn’t necessary and if you do backstitch, it won’t look as clean on the outside of your project. Rather to secure your threads, you can pull the last top thread to the back of the project and it in a knot with the lower thread.

Use a zipper foot-
By switching out your regular foot for a zipper foot, you can get a better view of the edge of the fabric. That way you can see your stitches and what you are lining them up with a little better.

Trim Seam Allowances- Cutting the excess fabric off close to the joining stitch line reduces the bulk of the fabric under the stitches. In return, it is easier to get a smooth, even topstitch.

Use a Contrasting Thread- Make your projects really pop by using a thread color that contrasts with your fabric. I do this oven and love the effect.

Double topstitch- Depending on the project and the look that you are going for, you may want to add two lines of topstitching. To do this, you will topstitch like normal and then use that line of stitching as a guide to add another row of stitches parallel to them. I did a double top stitch on these fabric baskets.

Try a Decorative Stitch- If you want a more intricate look, most sewing machines come with a bunch of decorative stitches built in. These would be fun to add to the topstitching of your projects!

Projects Using Topstitching

DIY Wallet 

DIY Zipper Key Fob

DIY Makeup Bag 

DIY Tote Bag 

DIY Cactus Sunglass Case