Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts' finish it up Friday - not technically finished the project, just the tutorial! :)
People have remarked before that my topstitching is very accurate so I thought I'd share some of my favourite tricks learned by trial and error.
1. Start with accurate seam and hem allowances. There's only so tidy you can make your topstitching if your seams are uneven.
2. Press! Your iron is your friend. When sewing, anyway. :) (Mine lives in my sewing room and is rarely used for anything besides sewing.)
3. Use a slightly longer stitch length to make your stitches stand out a bit more, but not so long that it's hard to make turns or pivot. My machine's default stitch length is 2.5 and I topstitch at 3.
4. Use the needle-down setting if your machine has one, or be sure whenever you stop to reposition your hands or pivot that you are stopping with the needle down manually. That way there's no chance of the fabric moving or shifting, especially for corners.
5. Take your time. My machine has three speed settings and I generally use the middle one for topstitching, just to be sure I'm in control and I'm not zooming past the end of my stitching line.
6. Follow a guide. I will use the edge of my presser foot or the markings on the machine bed as a guide so that my stitching is parallel to the edge. I also recently discovered that the needle position on my machine is incrementally adjustable, instead of just left needle or centre needle positions! This is huge - I can use the stitch width to control exactly where the needle sits.
7. If you have a built-in walking foot, use it. I don't, so sometimes the top fabric will shift forward under my foot as I stitch. To help it along smoothly, I use a straight pin to hold the top fabric in place as it feeds, repositioning it when it gets close to the needle. Helps to keep from getting bubbles or puckers.
8. Stop with the needle down at the end of your stitching line (unless it's in the seam allowance) and reverse two stitches, then forward two.
9. Clip the thread tail on the right side of your project close to the stitching, then turn it over and gently pull on the thread tail on the underside. The short tail from the front will pop through to the back and then you can trim both.
10. Finished! Admire your terrific topstitching.