How to make a Top Stitch

This is a decorative stitch with as many rows of top stitching as you desire.  Try experimenting with different types of threads e.g. satin thread and contrasting colours.

For best result and easier manipulation, try to apply the topstitching when the garment is flat, e.g. if the shoulder seam is to be top stitched, do this before joining the side seams and attaching the sleeves.

A quilting foot or seam guide may be used to adjust the width of the topstitching.  Take care to mirror image the seam allowance to ensure that the stitching is balanced. e.g. both shoulder seams are pressed to the back; side front panel seams are stitched towards the side seam.
  1. Test a small sample to check the desired effect and if seam pucker (tiny gathers) appears.  If puckers appear, stretch the seam whilst top stitching. Always stitch on the right side of the garment and above the seam allowances.  All  rows of top stitching must be done on the same thickness/layers of fabric for a uniformed appearance. 
  2. Make a closed seam with a minimum of 1cm seam allowance for single or double top stitching. (use wider seam allowance for multiple top stitching).  Overlock the raw edges together and press.
  3. Single top stitch: Using the foot as a guide, stitch through all layers of the seam allowances parallel to the seam.
  4. Multiple top stitching: a) Stitching through all the layers of the seam allowance, place the first row approx 1mm away from the seam (edge stitch) or if preferred stitch with the width of the foot away from the seam. b) Use the foot as a guide to sew a parallel row to the first row and stitch through all layers of the seam allowances. c) Repeat for subsequent rows
  5. Press flat but take care not to “overpress” i.e. don’t press too hard.
  6. Top press and underpress for a professional finish and only press the seam to avoid overpressing the entire garment.
    Press all stages of construction for a smooth, professional fiish

    Producing/Demonstrating: Claudette Davis-Bonnick>
    Filming: Nick Sargent
    Editing: Nick Sargent
    Stills: Nick Sargent, Junior Bonnick
    Thanks to: Oliver Furlong, Media Services, CLIP CETL "Making a Difference" funding at the London College of Fashion

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