Topstitching Tips (and links to people who are really good at it)

I picked up topstitching thread for my Peacock Crescent skirt. This is a heavier gauge of thread because instead of disappearing into the fabric, as with regular stitches, topstitching is decorative and meant to be seen.

What I didn’t realize with topstitch thread is that it is so thick that it is difficult to thread a regular sewing machine needle. I have a needle-threader on my sewing machine but it wouldn’t thread the thick gauge. I ended up taking the needle out of the machine and hand threading the needle using my handy little needle threader. Then I put the needle back into the machine.


Handy needle threader-upside down it looks like Darth Vader, non?

Also, I had to set the tension way up the dial as the bottom thread was making huge loops and bunching up. Why didn’t I know this?! Sewing is just non-stop learning, eh?

Once I got going I think it turned out beautifully. The perfect colour. Sort of a marigold.


It’s a good idea to set a longer stitch length. These were 4mm. Since the purpose is mostly decorative a longer stitch is nice.


Read how some real pros get the job done here and here.

Before I did the top-stitching I did a test fit with the waistband. It fit!


The skirt isn’t attached yet. But it already looks like I planned. You can’t see but the length is great too. Can’t wait to wear this!

Do you have topstitching tips? How often do you topstitch?

What I’m listening to: Scott Mills podcast on BBC Radio1 (so silly and hilarious-I have a laugh out loud at my desk every day)

6 thoughts on “Topstitching Tips (and links to people who are really good at it)

  1. Yay! My first top-stitching effort was on the crescent skirt too! I haven’t repeated it yet though… I just had to take it slowly so that it didn’t go all wonky. Yours looks beautiful and neat! Hurrah!

    • First time using topstitching gauge thread. I did topstitching on my Lady Grey but with all purpose thread.
      The peacock feathers scream for something bolder so I’m glad I went with the thicker thread.
      You do have to take time with the very visible topstitch!

    • Thanks for the nice comment! There was limited choice of colour in Gutermann. So glad they had the gold!
      There must be topstitching needles with larger eyes. Time for more research…

  2. This is looking great! I recently picked up some real topstitching needles, and the eye is huge! Much easier to thread. 🙂 Glad you got it figured out—I’ve usually been able to make it work on my machine but it can take quite a bit of finagling. 🙂

    • I was waiting for your comment, O Queen of Topstitching. 🙂
      After realizing the thread was so thick I figured there had to be specific topstitch needles. I’ll look for those next time.

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