In this video I showed you how to topstitch beside a zipper and I got an email asking me the difference between topstitching and edgestitching.
You’ll run into both terms in different patterns so I thought it would be good to talk about the “official” difference between them. In a nutshell – any stitching done on the top of the fabric (that is – not on a seam that will be hidden) is topstitching.
Edgestitching is just topstitching that runs really close to the edge of the project.
In the video I show you some tips and tricks for doing them both, including examples for three different ways you’ll use them.
- How to topstitch double-fold tape in place (like binding the edge of a quilt, or the pocket on this free tote bag pattern)
- How to topstitch a seam allowance (used mostly in sportswear)
- How to topstitch the edge of something – like this free placemat pattern or this free cloth napkin pattern.
One thing that helps me get a nice straight topstitch is my clear presser foot. I made sure to point it out at the beginning of the video, but when I did the editing I realized that it’s hard to see the “clearness” of the foot, so here’s a still photo.
That clear part right around where the needle goes in is invaluable for letting me see exactly how close to the edge I’m stitching. If your machine has a solid metal foot, buying a clear foot is almost always an option. It won’t be very expensive and it will be VERY useful. I’m always a fan of seeing what I’m doing. 🙂
The outline stitching I do around all my applique blocks is also a kind of topstitching. On my current machine I have a foot that’s entirely made of clear plastic called (naturally) a clear applique foot. It’s marvelous!
Here are links to all my posts about outline stitching.
- How to Topstitch and Edgestitch
- How Durable Is Straight Stitching?
- In What Order Do I Stitch?
- Stitching Eyes and Mouths – with lots of help for stitching tight curves
- Tips for Scribbly Outlining
- Playing with Thread Weight
Finished with this topic?