How to Topstitch by Hand

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle

  • Topstitching thread

Topstitch by hand with a needle and thread.

Topstitching is a line of stitching on the outside of a garment that either can be solely decorative or both decorative and functional in helping to reinforce a seam. Although topstitching with a sewing machine is much quicker and often results in a more even appearance, some people prefer the look of topstitching done by hand. Hand topstitching generally is done using a saddle stitch and decorative topstitching thread.


Step 1

Cut a length of topstitching thread that is approximately as long as your arm and thread it through a sharp needle. Tie one end of the thread in a knot large enough so that it won't pull through the fabric when you begin sewing.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Bring the needle through from the wrong side to the right side of the fabric about 1/4 inch from the edge, making sure that the knot in the end of the thread is not able to come through the hole made by the needle.


Step 3

Make a 1/4-inch backstitch, then bring the needle back up to the right side of the fabric. Begin to sew a straight line of stitching, making each stitch approximately 1/4-inch-long with 1/4-inch spaces between stitches. It may be helpful to use a water-soluble pen to mark every 1/4-inch before you begin sewing to keep your stitches even.


Step 4

Backstitch again and tie a knot in the opposite end of the thread when you've finished your line of topstitching. This will prevent the work from unraveling.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...