Make Yourself a Topstitching & Edgestitching Cheat Sheet

On a project like the Granville Shirt, there’s a lot of topstitching and edgestitching. If you’re using a very small stitch length, like I am, you certainly want to avoid unpicking at all costs.

Here’s what I did – I made a topstitching and edgestitching cheat sheet!

topstitching cheat sheet
It’s just a scrap of paper where I noted stitch length, foot, and needle position for different types of topstitching.
I found it easier than having to think each time I had to stitch, or eyeball the proper distance. This way, all of the topstitching on your project stays consistent.

Some machines allow you to program ‘favourites’ and save your stitch length and stitch pattern for different functions. I use this for lingerie sewing, I’ve saved the wide zigzag, narrow zigzag, and bartack-size zigzag. It’s easy to switch back and forth without having to press the stitch width buttons repeatedly. If your machine doesn’t have the favourites function, having a notebook handy makes it easier to remember your settings.

What do you think – is this helpful? Do you already do this?

ps. Check out all our posts on shirtmaking here!

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17 Responses to Make Yourself a Topstitching & Edgestitching Cheat Sheet

  1. Kate McIvor January 26, 2015 at 6:14 am #

    Great suggestion! I always have to do this when I’m making jeans. You think you’ll remember which foot and which needle position, but you never do!

    • Tasia January 27, 2015 at 8:24 am #

      Makes sense for making jeans! It’s another project where you want the topstitching to be consistent.

  2. Lauren M January 26, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    Yes, I like to have a notebook with me when I’m sewing. Especially if I have to work on a project in stops and starts- it really helps to have a cheat sheet for quirky details I might forget otherwise.

  3. Sewer January 26, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    I would make a note before I had specialized feet for topstitching and edgestitching.

    • Tasia January 27, 2015 at 8:24 am #

      Makes sense! I bought an edgestitching foot when I made my first quilt but find myself not using it that often. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, I often forget I have it :)

  4. sonia January 26, 2015 at 7:38 am #

    Why don’t I do this? Especially for all the different edges on lingerie, great tip.

  5. Kelly January 26, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    Very cool! I’ve been meaning to do this in general for the various zig zag widths and lengths needed for knits, especially lingerie and activewear. For projects like this I just use and edgestitching foot and adjust it so that I don’t have to move the needle or make other adjustments besides changing the foot. Just one of the brilliant things about an edgestitching foot!

  6. Shannon January 26, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    I write this directly on the pattern’s instructions — then I won’t lose it, and the next time I make that pattern, I have the benefit of my previous experience.

  7. Heather January 26, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Yes! I stick a post-it to the shelf above my sewing machine, and make notes for my current project. I used it most recently when I was switching back and forth between a zigzag and my double needle when sewing a t-shirt, so all my stitch lengths stayed consistent.

  8. French Toast Tasha January 26, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    I do this too, especially when I’m switching between using topstitching and regular thread on a project, where I may have to change all kinds of settings each time. It definitely keeps my topstitching looking consistent!

  9. Lucy January 26, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    I do this! But I actually write it on the pattern instructions themselves – that way I won’t lose the bit of paper (learnt that the hard way) and if I go back to make the pattern a year or two later I won’t forget little reminders and details that I noted down last time.

    It’s especially good if I’ve decided to let a seam out or something – just note down by the step “sew this seam at 1cm” or something and it’s always there :-)

    • Tasia January 27, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      Smart idea! I’ve done that on some of the lingerie patterns I’ve sewed, since the notes are specific only to that pattern.

  10. ellen January 26, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    I do this all the time, but keep the notes in my “journal”….each project that I sew is in there. That way I can refer back when I start a similar project months later….eliminates some of the guesswork, although you still have to experiment a little. And definitely helps when working on multiple projects at the same time, as we all do at one time or another.

    • Tasia January 27, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      That’s a good idea too! Keeping a sewing journal is a great idea.

  11. Lyric January 27, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    No doubt this is a helpful suggestion. Sewing on a 1925 Sears hand crank I wish there were more tutorials and information about using them for creating professional looking garments. Top stitching is my current nemesis (just completed a Robson I am determined to get it right though. Perhaps there is something here that I can incorporate though using a vintage machine.



  12. nothy lane January 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Yes, I use a cheat sheet for a lot of things – but I think its because I am disorganized and I don;t have a printer so its just a bunch of little scraps of paper that have meaningful things on them for me. Thanks for this post – I am just starting a Robson coat so putting together a cheatsheet on top-stitching is very timely.

  13. Annette January 28, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    This makes a lot of sense! (so maybe that it why I do not do it, YET!). Annette