18 Inspiring Ideas And Tips For Topstitching

18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

I’ve written some inspirational blog posts about various types of sewing/design details and today I want to talk about all things topstitching…(If you would like to read some of my other posts, here is one about tucking details, this one is about ruffles and flounces and this one is about colour blocking).

If you’re familiar with my blog then you know that I love to inspire creativity and to encourage you all to try new techniques, to adapt patterns and generally to create your own truly unique garments. It’s kind of my mission in life 🙂

So let’s get started and take a look at 18 inspiring ideas and tips for topstitching. By the end of this post, I hope you’ll feel eager to add more to your own creations.


1. A real practical use for topstitching is to control the edge of a garment and add a crispness and a professional finish..especially when combined with a proper turn of cloth on lapels for instance. You can learn more about what ‘turn of cloth’ is here

2. Topstitching can add extra stability and strength to a seam.

3. Topstitching can be used purely for decoration and design details.


4. Use the right type of needle for topstitching. I recommend a sharp point like Microtex and a topstitch needle that has a longer indented eye to accommodate thicker threads.

5. It’s always better if your topstitching stands out so use either a topstitch thread or pop a spool of thread on both spool holders on your machine and then thread both strands together through the needle. You can even blend colours together to get a good match. Also, don’t forget the good old triple-stitch setting on your machine for the effect of a thicker thread without actually using one.

6. Baste well to help prevent fabric layers from pushing along or use a walking foot….or both together for added security.

7. For stitching close to an edge try the proprietory edgestitch foot that comes with your machine.

'Edgestitch Foot' and 'Walking Foot' with width guide. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching
Edgestitch Foot and Walking Foot from my Bernina

8. For accurate, straight lines use the marker lines on your machine to guide the edge of your fabric, pre-mark your fabric with a fine chalk pencil or you could use the guide attachment that fits on your walking foot.

9. Topstitching needs to be quite bold and I like to use a longer stitch length. Try a length of 3.5 to 4.


10. I love how this contrasting topstitching by Burberry almost looks like braiding/ribbon detail.

Burberry. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

11. This high-contrast black and white stitching by Pull and Bear adds a lovely neck detail and plays with the proportions of the dress.

18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching. Dress by Pull and Bear

12. How about a complimentary colour scheme and very thick thread like on this gorgeous jacket by Prada? It really highlights the seam lines and collar.

Prada SS15. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

13. A low contrast and more maximal design by Kenzo in tones of grey.

Kenzo Fall '16. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

14. The yoke insert on these leather jeans by All Saints almost looks like a separate fabric because of the all-over pattern.

All Saints. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

15. Another all-over design on mustard fabric by Valentino. I’m not strictly sure this is topstitching or whether it’s printed on, but I love the idea of it!

Valentino. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

16. This shoulder detail is kind of like topstitching to the max! Not sure if it could truly be called topstitching but I just had to include it!

Topstitch surface design.18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

17. How about creating geometric designs with your topstitching? Love this red bomber jacket by Heider Ackermann

Heuder Ackermann. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

18. And finally, if you love embroidery you can add to your topstitching by sewing through individual stitches with contrasting colours. Isn’t this example lovely? I found this image on Pinterest and it links to quite an interesting embroidery website.

Embroidering topstitching. 18 Inspiring Ideas and Tips For Topstitching

I hope you enjoyed this post and feel inspired and encouraged to get creative yourself.

If you’re a regular reader….well thank you so much for stopping by again, I really appreciate it 🙂

And if you’re new to my blog, why not sign up for regular blog updates by email?

Catch you soon!

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  1. PatB
    May 3, 2019 / 1:15 pm

    Thank you Diane, I really appreciate your inspirational posts. I always love topstitching it elevates designer and ready to wear. I now processing ideas for future projects, but immediately will review my wardrobe with an eye to adding top stitching to garments that need a personal touch.

    • diane
      May 3, 2019 / 7:28 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it thank you Pat!

  2. Christine Trory
    May 3, 2019 / 5:28 pm

    Thank you for this inspirational post. One sometimes forgets some of these techniques when sewing so thank you.

    • diane
      May 3, 2019 / 7:28 pm

      Thanks ever so much Christine!

  3. May 4, 2019 / 1:42 am

    So inspiring! Love the Burberry dress…the topstitching is incredible.

    • diane
      May 4, 2019 / 7:18 pm

      Thanks, Linda! The Burberry is my fave 🙂

  4. May 4, 2019 / 4:59 pm

    Thank you so much Diane, so many brilliant ideas in this post. My machine struggles with thick topstitching thread so I generally do the triple stitch, but it takes so long to do! I love that last example so much. Actually, I love them all!

    • diane
      May 4, 2019 / 7:20 pm

      Cheers, Sue! Ah, I should have mentioned triple stitch! I will edit…I’m not a fan of triple stitch myself as I prefer running two ordinary threads together. Glad you like the inspo.

  5. Barbara Hewitt
    May 6, 2019 / 1:10 am

    Dear Diane,

    Your last blogs have been excellent. Thank you for sharing the how to do something but also pictures for ideas.

    Thank you

    • diane
      May 6, 2019 / 10:13 am

      What a lovely thing to say, thank you so much, Barbara! And you’re welcome 🙂

  6. May 6, 2019 / 1:31 pm

    Always enjoy your inspirational posts and love learning from you. Tip #5 was a great reminder and one I want to use more often. Thank you for taking the time to pull this together for us.

    • diane
      May 6, 2019 / 3:53 pm

      Thanks ever so much, Lisa! I always enjoy putting these posts together. Ah yes, tip 5…I always use two strands of ordinary thread and that triple stitch is so handy.

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