How To Use Topstitching Thread
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How To Use Topstitching Thread: Easy Explanation Types with Brands 2024

The nuances of topstitching thread are essential for any sewing project where the stitching is meant to be both functional and decorative. In this comprehensive guide, Because a normal thread and a topstitching thread are distinct from one another in several ways, you must be aware of the characteristics to look for when selecting a topstitching thread for your projects. I will cover all you need to know about the topstitching thread in this in-depth tutorial that I’ve put together for you!
we will delve into everything you need to know about topstitching thread, ensuring your projects achieve that professional and polished look.

What is a Topstitching Thread?

This is a subject that many sewers, particularly those who are just beginning their careers, might ponder at some point.

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  • Definition and Purpose: Topstitching thread is a specialized type of thread that is thicker and stronger than regular sewing thread. It’s designed specifically for topstitching, which is a type of stitching visible on the right side of a garment or fabric item. The primary use of topstitching thread is to provide a decorative finish, add durability to hems and seams, and enhance the overall aesthetic of the finished product.
  • Characteristics: Topstitching thread’s robust nature allows it to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use, making it ideal for areas that require both strength and visual appeal.

Choosing the Right Topstitching Thread:

  • Based on Fabric Weight: The weight of the fabric you are working with greatly influences your choice of topstitching thread. For light to medium-weight fabrics, a versatile, all-purpose thread is often sufficient. However, for heavier materials, you need a thicker topstitching thread to ensure durability and visibility.
  • Standard vs. Specialized Thread: You have the option of using standard sewing thread (doubling it for extra strength), or switching to a specialized topstitching thread. The latter is particularly recommended for heavier materials or when a more pronounced topstitching effect is desired.
  • Visibility Factor: Unlike regular seams where the goal is often subtlety, topstitching thread is meant to stand out. It’s thicker to ensure it’s visible, contributing to the garment’s design and finish. The choice of color and thickness of the topstitching thread can dramatically affect the overall look of the project.

Topstitching Thread Types and Brands:

  • Variety of Options: The market offers a wide range of topstitching thread types and brands, each with unique qualities. Some popular brands known for their quality topstitching thread include Gutermann, Coats & Clark, and Mettler, among others.
  • Choosing the Best Fit: When selecting a topstitching thread, consider factors such as the thread’s composition (polyester, cotton, etc.), the color range available, and the compatibility with your sewing machine.

Tips for Using Topstitching Thread:

  • Needle Choice: Use a needle that can accommodate the thickness of the topstitching thread. A larger needle (like a denim or topstitching needle) may be necessary.
  • Tension Adjustments: Depending on your sewing machine, you might need to adjust the tension settings to accommodate the thicker topstitching thread.
  • Practice First: Always test the topstitching thread on a scrap piece of fabric similar to your project material to fine-tune the tension and stitch length settings.

Topstitching Thread For Jeans

The topstitching thread for jeans is a robust heavy-duty thread that is utilized in the process of topstitching the denim fabric. This particular sort of thread is exceptionally sturdy, and it is often fabricated from polyester or polyester that has been wrapped in cotton. Additionally, it is only offered in a limited color palette, most commonly yellow and blue. When selecting a thread for topstitching jeans, it is essential to take into consideration the color of the denim fabric as well as the level of contrast that is required.

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When it comes to sewing jeans, the choice of topstitching thread is crucial for both aesthetic and functional reasons. The topstitching thread for jeans is specifically designed to handle the demands of denim fabric, ensuring durability and adding a professional touch to your denim projects. Here’s an in-depth look at the characteristics of topstitching thread for jeans and the brands that stand out in the market:

Characteristics of Topstitching Thread for Jeans:

  • Strength and Durability: The topstitching thread for jeans is typically made from polyester or a polyester-cotton blend, known for its robustness and ability to withstand abrasion.
  • Color Range: Although traditionally available in limited colors like yellow and blue to match classic denim, some brands now offer a wider color palette.
  • Versatility: This thread is not only suitable for jeans but also for other heavy denim items like tote bags and backpacks.

Selecting the Right Thread for Different Denim Weights:

  • Heavy vs. Light Denim: For heavier denim, a thicker topstitching thread is ideal, while lighter denim might require a strong but less bulky thread. Coats & Clark Denim Thread provides a good balance between strength and subtlety.
  • Elasticity of Modern Denim: Contemporary denim often includes stretch materials, necessitating a thread that can accommodate this elasticity without breaking or skipping stitches.

Top Brands for Topstitching Thread for Jeans:

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  • Coats & Clark Dual Duty Plus Denim Thread: Highly recommended for its quality and durability, perfect for heavy-duty denim projects.
  • Gutermann Denim Thread: Known for its high strength and wide range of colors, allowing for a perfect match with various denim shades.
  • Singer Denim Thread: Offers reliability and resilience, specially formulated for denim material. Singer also provides specialized topstitching needles for denim.

Important Considerations:

  • Thread Winding Type: Pay attention to the winding type of the thread. Stacked or parallel wound threads require careful installation on your sewing machine to avoid issues like thread breakage or machine jams.
  • Needle Compatibility: Ensure that your sewing machine and needle can accommodate the thickness of the topstitching thread for jeans. Using a denim or topstitching needle is often recommended.

Quality Topstitching Thread

There is a lot more going on behind the scenes when it comes to topstitch threads. Jeans are indeed a common use for this fabric, but that’s not all it can do! Heavy-duty thread designed for topstitching may be utilized for a wide number of different purposes. For example, it may be utilized for many types of camping equipment, such as tents and sleeping bags. It is also suitable for use in the manufacture of leather items, including wallets and belts.

Quality topstitching thread plays a pivotal role in various sewing projects, far beyond its common association with denim and jeans. Its versatility and durability make it an ideal choice for a wide range of applications, from outdoor gear to upholstery and leatherwork. Let’s delve into the diverse uses of topstitching thread and why Gutermann stands out as a top choice for quality topstitching thread.

Versatile Uses of Topstitching Thread:

  • Outdoor Gear: Heavy-duty topstitching thread is perfect for camping gear like tents and sleeping bags. Its strength ensures durability in outdoor conditions.
  • Leather Goods: For crafting leather items such as wallets and belts, topstitching thread offers the required sturdiness and aesthetic appeal.
  • Upholstery: Its robust nature makes topstitching thread an excellent choice for upholstery projects, which often require a thread that can handle significant wear and tear.
  • Securing Buttons: Using topstitching thread for sewing buttons on coats and jackets ensures a strong hold, making it less likely for buttons to come loose with frequent use.

Characteristics of Quality Topstitching Thread:

  • Durability: Topstitching thread is known for its exceptional strength, derived from multiple strands of thread tightly twisted together. This construction gives it superior durability compared to standard threads.
  • Friction Resistance: A fine coating on the topstitching thread provides added resistance against friction, a common cause of wear in threads.
  • Variety of Colors: Quality topstitching thread is available in a wide range of colors, allowing for perfect color matching with your fabric.

Gutermann Topstitching Thread – A Superior Choice:

  • Renowned Quality: Gutermann, a brand well-known for its high-quality sewing threads, also excels in producing top-notch topstitching thread.
  • Versatility for All Projects: Whether it’s decorative topstitching or structural sewing, Gutermann’s heavy-duty topstitch thread is suitable for almost any sewing task.
  • Material and Durability: Made entirely from long-staple polyester, Gutermann’s topstitching thread combines strength with the ability to withstand multiple washes.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The thread’s high sheen adds a beautiful finish to your projects, while its smoothness ensures ease of sewing.

What Type Of Bobbin Thread To Use While Topstitching

Selecting the appropriate bobbin thread for topstitching is a crucial aspect that can significantly impact the final appearance and quality of your sewing project. Understanding the nuances of bobbin thread choice in relation to topstitching thread can help you achieve a more professional finish. Here’s a detailed look at what type of bobbin thread to use while topstitching:

Bobbin Thread Choice for Topstitching:

SINGER 2139 Class 66 Bobbins, Metal, 4-Count
  • General-Purpose Thread for Bobbin: Contrary to what some might believe, using a standard all-purpose thread in the bobbin is often recommended for topstitching. This is especially true when using a thicker topstitching thread on the top.
  • Thickness Considerations: The bobbin thread should ideally be thinner than the topstitching thread. This helps in ensuring smooth operation of your home sewing machine and prevents issues like thread tension imbalance.

Achieving a Professional Finish:

  • Store-Bought Appearance: While commercial garments typically feature identical thread types on both sides, home sewing can require different approaches. Using a different thread in the bobbin can be challenging but still produce pleasing results.
  • Color Matching: Matching the color of the bobbin thread to the topstitching-thread is important. If done thoughtfully, it can still yield an aesthetically appealing outcome. Always test on a scrap piece of fabric to gauge the final look.

Topstitching Thread Challenges:

  • Machine Adjustments: Thicker topstitching-threads might require adjustments to your sewing machine, such as tension settings or needle size.
  • Contrasting Colors Tip: Using a light-colored topstitching-thread in the needle and a darker thread in the bobbin can create an eye-catching effect. This contrast makes the stitches stand out, enhancing the topstitching detail, especially on darker fabrics.

Practical Tips:

  • Testing Is Key: Before starting your actual project, test the thread combination on a piece of scrap fabric. This allows you to adjust tension settings and check the overall look.
  • Needle and Thread Compatibility: Ensure that your sewing machine’s needle is compatible with the thickness of the topstitching thread to avoid issues like thread breakage or skipped stitches.

What Is The Tension When Using Topstitching Thread?

is a crucial step in achieving professional-looking sewing results. The tension settings can greatly impact the quality of your stitches, especially when working with the thicker and more robust topstitching thread. Understanding how to find the right tension setting for your specific project is key. Here’s a detailed exploration of how to adjust tension for topstitching:

Understanding Tension in Topstitching:

  • No One-Size-Fits-All Setting: Sewing machines vary, and so does the appropriate tension setting for topstitching thread. Different fabrics and threads can yield different results, making it difficult to prescribe a universal tension setting like 4, 6, or 8.

Finding the Right Tension:

  • Test Stitching: The most effective way to determine the right tension for topstitching is to perform test stitches on a scrap piece of the same fabric you’re working with. This allows you to adjust and find the tension that produces even and beautiful stitches for your specific project.
  • Higher Tension Typically Required: Generally, the tension for topstitching thread should be set slightly higher than the standard tension used for regular sewing thread.

Identifying Tension Issues:

  • Too Loose Tension: If the tension is too low, you might notice loops of topstitching thread on the underside (bobbin side) of the fabric. This indicates that the top thread is not being adequately pulled tight.
  • Too Tight Tension: Conversely, if the tension is too high, the top stitches will begin to pucker or draw up the bobbin thread, causing the fabric to bunch and the stitches to lose their smooth appearance.

Adjusting Tension Step-by-Step:

  • Start with Lower Tension: Begin with a lower tension setting and gradually increase it. This approach helps prevent puckering and allows for incremental adjustments until the desired stitch quality is achieved.
  • Tension Variability: Be prepared for some trial and error. The right tension setting can vary not only between different sewing machines but also between different types of topstitching thread and fabric combinations.

Troubleshooting Tension Problems:

  • Switching Thread Types: If you’re struggling to achieve the right tension with one type of topstitching thread, consider trying a different brand or type. The thickness of the thread can affect the required tension.
  • Bobbin Tension Adjustment: In some cases, you might need to adjust the bobbin tension. This is a more advanced technique and should be done cautiously, preferably if you’re experienced or after consulting your sewing machine manual.

If you want more topstitching tips watch this video:

This Video Is Taken From Tilly and the Buttons YOUTUBE Channel

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is Topstitching-Thread and When Should I Use It?

Topstitching-thread is a thicker, stronger thread used for decorative and functional stitching on the visible parts of a garment or project. It’s ideal for areas where you want the stitching to stand out, like on denim, leather, or heavy canvas.

How Do I Choose the Right Topstitching Thread?

Select topstitching thread based on the fabric weight and the desired visual effect. For heavy fabrics like denim, a thicker topstitching thread is suitable, while lighter fabrics may require a finer thread. Color choice is also important for the desired contrast.

Can I Use Regular Thread in the Bobbin for Topstitching?

Yes, you can use regular thread in the bobbin for topstitching. It’s often recommended to use a lighter thread in the bobbin to avoid tension issues and to ensure smoother stitching.

What Tension Should I Use for Topstitching?

The right tension for topstitching varies depending on your sewing machine, fabric, and thread type. Start with a lower tension and gradually increase it, testing on scrap fabric until you achieve even and smooth stitches.

Do I Need a Special Needle for Topstitching?

Using a specific topstitching needle, which has a larger eye and a sharper point, is recommended when working with thick topstitching thread. It helps accommodate the thread’s thickness and prevents breakage.

How Can I Prevent My Topstitching Thread from Breaking?

To prevent the topstitching thread from breaking, ensure you’re using the correct needle and tension settings. Also, avoid pulling the fabric and thread too tightly while sewing.

Is Topstitching Only for Decorative Purposes?

While topstitching is often used for decoration, it also adds strength to seams and edges, making it both an aesthetic and functional technique.

What’s the Difference Between Topstitching and Edge Stitching?

Topstitching is generally done further from the edge and is more visible, often using thicker thread for decorative effect. Edge stitching is closer to the edge, typically within 1/4 inch, and is used for a subtle, finished look.

Can I Topstitch with a Regular Sewing Machine?

Yes, you can topstitch with a regular sewing machine. Just ensure you have the right needle, thread, and tension settings for your fabric and thread type.

How Do I Avoid Skipped Stitches When Topstitching?

Skipped stitches can be avoided by using the right type of needle, setting the correct tension, and ensuring the thread flows smoothly through the machine. Also, sew slowly and steadily for better control.

What Fabrics Are Best Suited for Topstitching?

Topstitching works well on a variety of fabrics, especially sturdier ones like denim, canvas, and leather. However, with the right thread and machine settings, you can topstitch on lighter fabrics like cotton and linen as well.

How Do I Achieve Straight and Even Topstitching?

To get straight and even topstitching, use a guide on your sewing machine, like the edge of the presser foot or a magnetic seam guide. Sew slowly and steadily, and consider drawing a guideline with a fabric marker or chalk.

When using a Serger, is it possible to use a topstitching?

It is generally not used in sergers due to its thickness. Sergers are designed for overlocking with thinner threads. However, you can use topstitching thread for decorative cover stitching on some serger models.

How Do I Handle Topstitching on Curved Seams?

When topstitching curved seams, reduce your sewing speed and gently guide the fabric through the machine without pulling. Use a smaller stitch length for smoother curves.

Is It Necessary to Use a Backstitch When Topstitching?

Backstitching at the start and end of your topstitching secures the thread and prevents unraveling. However, for a cleaner look, especially on decorative items, you can pull the threads to the back and tie them off.

Can I Do Topstitching with a Twin Needle?

Yes, you can use a twin needle for parallel lines of topstitching, especially for decorative purposes. Ensure your sewing machine is compatible with twin needles and adjust settings accordingly.

What’s the Difference Between Topstitching-Thread and Embroidery Thread?

Topstitching-thread is thicker and stronger, designed for durability and visible stitching on seams. Embroidery thread is generally finer and used for decorative surface stitching, often with a higher sheen.


topstitching is a crucial technique that enhances the durability and aesthetic appeal of sewing projects. Success in topstitching lies in choosing the right thread, adjusting your machine’s tension appropriately, and practicing precise stitching. Whether for decorative purposes or reinforcing seams, topstitching adds a professional touch to any project. Remember, with the right approach and practice, topstitching can transform your sewing work, making it both sturdy and visually appealing.

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