Topstitching Triumph?

As you all know from my most recent ramblings, I’ve been working away at my Ginger Jeans. This is my first foray into the jean-making world and, given the amazing reviews of this pattern, I’m hopeful that they’re going to be fantastic.

One of my favourite things about making jeans is the amount of topstitching. I love topstitching! I’m not sure if this is a popular opinion, but I genuinely find it so satisfying. Plus it looks super decorative and professional! The Ginger Jeans are presenting so many opportunities to practice a bit of topstitching. Although I will admit that constantly changing threads between my regular stitching thread and my contrast topstitching thread is a pain, I’m definitely enjoying myself. Maybe one day I’ll have two machines so that I can just move back and forth!


An added bonus is that the white topstitching looks so cute with the anchors!

However, I am encountering a bit of a problem. At a couple of stages, I’ve had to topstitch adjacent to an inner seam line (as opposed to an edge). Whilst topstitching next to an edge is relatively simple since you can just use the guides on the sewing machine to judge the 1/8″ and 3/8″ lines, topstitching in the middle of fabric is turning out to be a nightmare. In case my inadequate description is posing problems for you visualising what I’m talking about, here’s a picture…


Obviously, in this case, the fabric is obscuring the seam gauge lines on the sewing machine, making it impossible for me to measure. Although the actually foot has lines of its own (which are fine for following 1/8″), anything beyond the width of the foot is proving tough. I’m basically having to make a rough estimate of where the line should be – which doesn’t feel very good when I’m trying to get some perfect topstitching going. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to address this? I’m genuinely at a loss for how anyone manages this kind of scenario without some guesswork as to where the topstitching line should fall. For reference, here’s a pic of what I’m working with:


Now the obvious solution would be to draw the line onto the fabric before stitching. I’ve avoided doing this because I’ve had such unfortunate encounters with unreliable fabric markers – ones that have come very close to ruining garments because I can’t get the marks to wash off. I’ve tried a few different methods but haven’t found any that I’m comfortable marking onto the right side of my fabric. If the only way to take the guesswork out of my topstitching measurements is to mark onto my fabric, I’m definitely going to do more investigations to find a trustworthy fabric marker!

Sorry for the ‘Dear Diary’ nature of this post. But you lovely people always have excellent sewing advice so I’m hopeful that, with your help, I can find a way to make my topstitching even more triumphant!


12 thoughts on “Topstitching Triumph?

  1. Elena says:

    For marking I always use a left-over piece of a bar of soap. Yep, the old-fashioned stuff for washing your hands with. When it’s almost all gone, you are left with a flat piece with sharp edges with which you can draw. It leaves white marks that are easily removed with a damp cloth.

    For even topstitching, you need either a quilting guide with a zipper foot or a large foot with markers (called “A large foot with markers” on eBay) – it’s clear, very wide (1″ each side) and has lines on it like on your needle plate. I’ve used it for topstitching my silk coat last summer – see


    • sewforvictory says:

      Wow, the soap advice is excellent! I’ve done lots of research on marking and never come across that as a method. But it makes total sense – and no worries about it leaving a mark that won’t wash off! I’m definitely going to give that a try!

      And thank you for the topstitching advice! I’m definitely going to look into those options. The large foot with markers sounds like it might be exactly what I need!

      Thanks so much for the advice. I really appreciate it! 🙂


      • Elena says:

        You are welcome! The soap method is very old and dated and old-fashioned and all that, I mean who uses soap in bars anymore? (Besides weirdos like me, that is!) So a lot of people think it is beneath them “to stoop to such a primitive thing” (that’s what I’ve been told). Load of rubbish of course – it works a treat!


  2. thesewingjourneycom says:

    Great job! Not sure if this helps but I use either an edge stich guide foot or the stitch guide foot that has lines indented in it to follow. I prefer the stitch guide foot as whenever I use the edge foot, it always seems to move on me. If you have a low shank machine, I actually ordered a bunch of sewing feet that come in a kit from Amazon for $20. It worked great on my brother machines, but I have found that it is not working with my Janome Skyline. But you might want to give them a try!


    • sewforvictory says:

      An edge stitch foot seems to be the popular recommendation! But I’m definitely going to look into the stitch guide foot too. Thanks so much for the advice. I really appreciate it!!


  3. Colesworth says:

    Edge stitch foot or blind hem foot should help – with one of those (and maybe adjusting your needle position left or right) you should be able to follow your seams. My favourite marking tool is the sewline fabric pencil – nice sharp line that does come off and the ceramic ‘leads’ come in a few different colours ;o)


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