It’s day 2 of the jeans sewalong! And today I’m going to be talking about how to topstitch. Yesterday we talked a little about needles and thread, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I will re-iterate – at least a size 90/14 needle and heavy duty thread.
Topstitching seems like it would be a last step with jeans, but it’s actually an early step and also one that happens throughout the jeans sewing process. So I keep my topstitching thread next to my machine and switch as necessary.
The first rule of topstitching is
don’t talk about topstitching make sure the needle is down when you stop.
This one rule will save you more crooked stitches than anything. If you have a fancy machine with one of those buttons that will make sure the needle is down when you stop, press it. If you’re on something more basic (like my vintage machine) you’ll have to do this yourself, but trust me – make sure that needle is DOWN. Even if you’re just rearranging the fabric to continue to sew on, you want that needle down.
Similarly, if you must stop and restart a continuous topstitching line, you’re going to want to start by hand placing the needle down in between two stitches. Overlap 4-5 stitches and continue on – it will barely be perceptible that you had to stop and restart.
Which brings me to my next point – Lengthen your stitch
I’ve got two lines sewn here. The only difference between the two is the stitch length. See how the shorter stitches hide in the fibers, while the longer ones rest on top? You want your topstitching to be on top, so go with a longer stitch.
Lastly, use your needle position to get two rows of continuous topstitching next to each other instead of moving your fabric. I align the edge of my fabric with the edge of my foot, stitch once with the needle in the center position, then go back to the beginning, align again, and stitch again, this time with my needle in the right position. I find this keeps my rows more even than trying to align the edge of my fabric to a different mark each time.