Military makes me think of epaulettes, pocket flaps, and shiny brass buttons. Take a close look at military uniforms and you'll see that topstitching tames the stiff fabric, accents the solid color of a uniform and adds an element of style to an otherwise plain and utilitarian looking garment.
Let me share a few tips for top notch topstitching:
- ALWAYS use a sharp needle on woven fabrics. What's a sharp needle? Quilting, Microtex, Jeans, and Topstitching needles all have a super sharp or modified sharp point and come in a variety of sizes. The size of the needle blade, tip, eye and groove varies with each of these needles. To simplify the difference, just remember that Microtex and Quilting needles are finer and a bit more delicate, while Jeans needles and Topstitch needles are thicker and stronger. Choose the needle type and size that's compatible with your fabric. CLICK HERE to download the Schmetz Pocket Guide for sewing machine needles.
- Special topstitching thread is thicker than standard thread and designed for use in the sewing machine. This thread should only be used with topstitching needles as these needles have an eye and a groove to accommodate the extra thickness. A size 14 Topstitch needle is a good all purpose size.
- NEVER use topstitch thread in your standard bobbin case. Instead, use regular thread that closely matches the color of your top thread. You may need to tighten your upper tension slightly when sewing with this thicker thread.
- Lengthen your stitch slightly when topstitching. I like a setting anywhere between 3-4 mm.
- Use a flat presser foot for maximum contact between the fabric and the feed dogs. If you have a balancing button on your foot you can lock it in place whenever you are beginning at a bulky spot or crossing over a previously sewn thick seam.