No matter how much work I put into the planning, cutting and seaming of sewing, it's the top stitching that can make a project look either carefully finished or sloppy. And though I have gotten much better, there are still those moments when my focus wanders off the stitching line and I advertise my sewing ADD to the world. Just in case you have top stitching phobia, I am here today to explain how I fix my obvious mistakes.
In addition, this method the best way to begin and end top stitching without messy back stitching and to securely fix buttons that you sew on by machine.
In the last pair of jeans I made, I was trying to replicate the Roy's Jeans look, of curved within striaght lines, which accentuated any deviation from symmetry. I got a bit off track in the section between the arrows below (it looked worse in real life than this photo).
First, find the section you want to fix and snip the bobbin thread in the middle. This works best if the section is at least 2" (4cm) in length. Now unpick the stitches without cutting the threads shorter than 2" to right before and after the problem area. Also, try to begin end on a straight away section.
Now, you can restitch the section. First, make sure that your machine settings, especially the stitch length, are the same and make sure you have at least a 4" tail on the needle. Next lower your needle into the hole made at the end of the last remaining stitch. You will not stitch over any previous stitches or backstitch. Now, carefully re-stitch the (previously offending) section ending in the hole right before the last stitch. It is permissible to adjust your stitch length for the last 1-2 stitches to make this match as closely as possible. Again, do not backstitch or trim your tails.
Now turn the work over and pull on the bobbin thread to pull the top thread to the bottom side on either end as you did before. Securely square knot the top threads and the bottom threads to each other. (Not top to top like I did here, I think it is less secure.)
. Now turn it back to the right side and admire. You can see the big difference between this section and the beginning and ends where I backtacked. On jeans that looks fine, but on less casual clothes the backstitching looks bulky.
Do you other topstitchers out there have any favorite techniques? Also, do you think it should be one or two words "top stitch" or "topstitch"?
Here are some things I have tried to that improved my top stitching.
- Slightly loosen top tension so that the thread sits on top of the fabric.
- Don't watch the needle.
- Press seam first.
- Increase stitch length from 2.5 to 3 or 3.5 mm. (from 12 to 9)
- Take advantage of needle left or right position so that the distance between the needle and reference line (edge or other other line) is closer.
- Use a foot that makes it easier to see stitching lines. Zig-zag feet are hardest for me.
- Mark the stitching lines with a marking pencil.
- No coffee ; )