This week a couple readers wondered if I had any more topstitching tips.
Many of you know that I consider topstitching an important step in finishing sewn items. Personally, I wouldn't buy something that didn't have topstitched seams along the edges. It looks unfinished to me and the topstitching acts as a reinforcement to the seam.
I know it can be challenging, but finding a way to get good results in topstitching is definitely rewarding. So here are some more techniques that might help you conquer the topstitch.
Find a guide you feel comfortable using and like how the stitch looks on your finished project. Three options are offered below. Generally the closer you are to the edge of the fabric, the harder it is going to be to topstitch. So #1 here would be easiest, and #3 hardest:
1. Use the edge of your presser foot. Depending on your presser foot, this is probably about 1/4" - 3/8". Too wide for your tastes? Take a look at #2 & #3.
2. Find a marking on your presser foot to use as a guide. My presser foot has two grooves on each side. I often use the groove on the right side as a topstitching guide. On my machine it is about a 1/4", and it is very easy to watch and keep my fabric in line with the groove.
3. Use the right edge of the needle hole as a topstitching guide. This is what I use when I want to topstitch really close to the edge. One my machine it is about 1/8". If I actually look at the 1/8" mark on my machine, my topstitching quickly gets off course. I came to the conclusion that the closer the guide is to your needle, the easier it is to follow (at least for me).
Getting rid of bulk in the seams can help with topstitching. If there is a lot of fabric bunched up along the seam, your topstitching is going to get choppy.
1. Trim any sew-in interfacing, batting or interlining back close to the seam.
2. Trim the seam allowance back to about 1/4" around any curves.
3. Try notching the curves. This is something I used to meticulously do on all convex (outward) curves. Then one day I stopped because I was tired of all that notching and the little scrappy triangles it created!
What I discovered is that most of the curves on my designs are not so sharp that they have to be notched. It was such a time consuming chore, that I quickly learned to skip it. But it is an option. Pinking shears can make the job faster (but even messier).