Top tips to improve your stitching

We share our top tips to improve your stitching – top-stitch, edge-stitch and understitch! Your stitching will never look so good.


This is a decorative stitch that’s sewn parallel to the seam at is sewn on the right side of the fabric. Used to give seams a neat and professional look and the best news is it makes ironing much easier! There’s nowhere to hide with top-stitching, and every stitch is on show so this needs to be done as accurately and carefully as possible. Take time with your top-stitching.

When to use it:
To help keep fabric layers in place.
Maintain the seam’s integrity with normal wear and washing and avoid the seam from distorting.
Use around necklines and facings, hems, collars and lapels, cuffs and as a decorative stitch on pockets and patchwork.
It can be done with straight stitch or decorative stitches.

Tips for perfect top-stitching:

  • Choose a thread that is the same fibre as your fabric
  • Choose a slightly longer stitch for top-stitching than the stitch used for the seam. Longer stitches lay slightly smoother.
  • Choose the correct needle for the chosen fabric – this will help prevent skipped or pulled stitches.
  • Used parallel to the finished edge approx. 6mm (1/4in)
  • Try not to watch the needle and keep your eye focused on the inside edge of the presser foot. It’s easier to keep straight this way.
  • Use a thread colour that closely matches your fabric.

Styling idea:
Once you’ve mastered the art of top-stitching, you can use a contrasting or complementary thread colours to make a feature of your neat stitching!


Edge-stitching is much like top-stitching but its more of a functional stitch that’s used to stop fabric rolling and help fabric to stay in place permanently. It helps to hold and condense thickness when layers of fabric are placed together on fabrics like denim.

When to use it:
Use on collars, facings and around a garments edge.

Tips for perfect edge-stitching:

  • Sewn very close to the finished edge, about 3mm (1/8 inch)
  • New sharp needle
  • Stitch length: 3.0mm
  • Most sewing machines will have a special edge stitch presser foot.


A great little stitch for stopping linings and facings from showing on the outside of garments. This is a line of straight stitching is sewn on the right side of the lining/facing fabric to give a crisp finish to a seam. Its purpose is the same as edge stitching, and stop the fabric from rolling and showing when you wear the garment.

When to use it:
Used a lot in garment construction especially around necklines and armholes that have facings, and also to keep linings in place.

Tips for success

  • Make sure to press at every stage for best results, begin by pressing the right side of seam.
  • Trim the inner seam allowance
  • Stitch inside the seam line approx 3mm (1/8 inch) on the facing/lining
  • Stitch as close as you can to any corners, don’t try to under stitch into corners

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