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How to Topstitch (Video Tutorial)

Learn how to topstitch with a sewing machine. Our video and written tutorial will show you exactly how.

How to Topstitch

For sewing beginners, some of the different stitches can get confusing, which is why this video tutorial on How to Topstitch is so helpful.

In this sewing tutorial, you can find out what topstitching is and how to use it for your sewing projects. Learning how to topstitch is a useful skill for all sewists.

Even novice sewists can master this technique and create projects that look polished. Plus, you can apply this stitch to a large variety of sewing patterns, so this is a skill that won't go to waste.

All you need is the fabric piece you want to decorate and a sewing machine that's ready to sew. It's helpful to have an edging foot if you're planning to do a straight topstitch.

Learn more about topstitching with our guide, What is Topstitching? There's also a tutorial for topstitching by hand on that page.


Skill Level: Beginner
Project Type: Learn a Technique
Time to Complete: One to two hours
Sewn By: Machine

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Topstitching Video Tutorial:

If you're a visual learner, then you'll appreciate this video tutorial on how to topstitch your fabric pieces. Angel will also provide other helpful information about topstitching along with some tips and tricks for using it.
 

How to Topstitch:

  1. Choose where you want to begin your locking stitch. This should be in a place that is the least visible or on the back. (This is three stitches in, three stitches up.)

    Note: Use clips on your fabric for the stitching so that it stays in place while sewing. You will remove the clips as you sew.

Image shows a sewing machine in the background. In the foreground, a woman is holding and pointing to the stitching on a floral bag.

  1. Attach an edging foot to your machine if you are using a straight stitch. Change the needle position so that it is off-center. This will help you follow and view the stitch as you go.

Image shows a close-up of hands attaching a foot to a sewing machine.
Image shows a close-up of someone choosing a stitch on a sewing machine.

  1. On your machine, do a locking stitch. This is about three stitches in, three stitches up from the start point.
     
  2. Start sewing your topstitch. Go slowly and remove your marking clips as you go. Continue until you have completed the stitch.

Image shows a close-up of someone sewing a floral bag on a sewing machine.
Image shows a close-up of someone pointing to the stitching on a floral bag in front of a sewing machine.
Image shows the floral bag hanging.

Get Creative With Your Topstitching Types

See the images below for some of the different looks you can achieve with topstitching!

Below, you will see a typical topstitch on jeans. The straight or running stitch is usually used on the side seam area and around the pockets.

Image shows a close-up of a pair of jeans with white straight stitching on the leg.

This bib shows a simple straight stitch that goes all around the edges for a clean, professional look.

Image shows a close-up of a floral baby bib with white straight stitching along the edging.

The fleece below shows how you can have fun with multiple lines of stitching. In this case, it's a simple straight stitch that's done three times to reveal a stronger textural appearance.

Image shows a piece of blue fleece with three straight decorative stitches running down the length of the fabric.

This fabric scrap shows a zig-zag stitch at the forefront, then a serpentine stitch, then a rosette, and finally a simple scallop.

Image shows a brown scrap of fabric with four decorative topstitches. There's a finger pointing to one.

Want More?

How to Use a Walking Foot >>

What's your favorite type of topstitching?
Let us know in the comment section!

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For all you beginners this is a great video on how to top stitch your projects. I wish this was available 40 years ago when I was learning. It shows all the different stitches you can use. Angel does a great job explaining them. This is also a great refresher for us older sewers too. I like to check out these videos to see if there is anything new out there.

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