Topstitching jeans without topstitching thread
Topstitching threads are great but they have one big limitation: they only come in a few colors.
Whatever brand you’re using, there’s typically only a handful of colors to choose from. Now you can go with any of those and get fine results, but what if you don’t like any of your options.
Ah friend, this hack is for you! All of these options are for regular all-purpose thread or something like Mettler silk finish cotton.
Welcome to topstitching with whatever color you want.
Option #1: Use regular thread with a triple stitch.
A triple stitch is the stitch on your machine that looks like a straight stitch but has three rows. Your machine will stitch each stitch 3 times (hence the clever name, “triple stitch”), so it will deposit 3X the thread for every stitch. If you have a lighter weight thread in a color that you love, the triple stitch is a great choice.
Pull slightly on your thread when you start a row of stitching to help keep the thread from skipping or nesting on the first few stitches.
Option #2: Use 2 different threads threaded through one needle + a straight stitch.
This will give you 2X the thread of a regular stitch, so you get a little more oomph in each stitch that will make up for the weight difference you’re missing out on by foregoing the topstitching thread. The upside of this selection is that you can custom blend colors and end up with a unique effect you can’t get with the limited color range available in topstitching threads.
This is a nice choice when you want a lighter weight in your topstitching perhaps on a fabric less sturdy than denim like linen.
Option #3: Use 2 different threads threaded through one needle + a triple stitch
You get the benefits of both of the above options.
You can custom blend your colors and you’ll get a nice thick layer of stitching that’s comparable to some of the ultra heavy threads that you see used on jeans in RTW.
Pull slightly on the thread when you start stitching here too.
The downside is that the triple stitch does indeed take longer to sew, and if you don’t have a second machine you can dedicate for topstitching, it will take more time as you switch out thread and possibly needles and feet.
Do yourself a favor and keep all of your thread and feet in a little tray next to your machine so that you can keep everything organized. This will make your thread changes as speedy as possible.
Whatever you decide on, you’ll be guaranteed to have a unique thread color that can make your project stand out and really be your own.
So that’s a pretty comprehensive guide to getting your topstitching looking its best. Just to recap, we talked about special machine feet, and tips for topstitching + my favorite hack for topstitching with whatever color thread you want. I hope you’ll try out some of these tips on your next topstitching project!
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Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.