Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Topstitching


For some reason I am very attracted to the color green right now. When I look at the pile of fabric on my sewing table, that is the color I am drawn to. My sewing project for this past weekend was a waist length jacket in a lightweight, mint green, denim type fabric.The pattern was in same BWOF magazine, July 2001, as the dress I made last week. There was a lot of top stitching on this jacket. When I used my normal top stitching method, the thread faded into the fabric. I remembered a suggestion published in Threads magazine about using a machine feather stitch and regular thread to create heavier topstitching. I tried it and loved it!

When I first read the suggestion, it took me quite a while to figure out what it was being described. So I drew a picture to go with my explanation. Click on the image below to enlarge it. Many sewing machines have built in decorative stitches and a common one is the feather stitch. It looks sort of like the quills of a feather, and is often used in hand embroidery and quilting.
At the top of the drawing are two versions that are on my Husqvarna machine. They look different in their original form, but both give the same results when modifications are made to use them for this purpose. To form the feather stitch, the needle is making a stitch forward, and then several stitches of the same length off to the side at an angle. The angle is determined by the stitch width. The wider the stitch width, the bigger the angle. When the stitch width is reduced to zero, the needle makes all the stitches forward and backward in a straight line. It makes three stitches on top of each other before moving forward to the next stitch. Using this stitch, it will take three times longer to do the topstitching, and you have to pay attention and guide the fabric, so put on some good music or a talking book. Some of you might think… why not thread three threads through a large eye needle; it gives the same effect. Yes, it does. But the construction of this jacket required sewing pieces together with a regular seam, topstitching the seam, sewing another piece to the one that was just topstitched, topstitching that seam, and so on. It was so easy to use the same needle, pressure foot (1/4 inch) and thread for all the sewing. When I needed to top stitch , all I had to do was hit a few buttons on the touch screen to choose the feather stitch and reduce the stitch width to zero.

I should pay attention to the photos in the Burda magazine. This jacket is shown paired with high waisted Bermuda shorts. After a tryon with some pants and skirts I realized it looks best worn with pants or a skirt with a high waist, and no pockets, hip yokes or other details that cause a lot of visual activity in the hip waist area. Mint green can be used in many color schemes. For me they would be 1. With creams and light browns, 2. With grays and white, and my favorite 3. teal. This fabric inspired this teal color scheme. Unfortunately my teal cropped pants have lots going on in the hip area, including fat tummy. Guess I need to make a pair of new pair of slimming pants.
No sewing this weekend. There is a family get together in northern Virginia. For those of you that have never been to this area, northern VA contains the southern suburbs of Washington, DC. Compared to where I live it is a different world, with gobs more people, cars, traffic, cultural events, museums, restaurants and… shopping. This weekend’s trip will include a visit to G Street Fabrics. Like I need more fabric! But I know you understand.

9 comments:

Vicki W said...

That jacket looks great on you and the topstitching is PERFECT!

Gwen said...

Wow! Great jacket! And thanks for the tip & mini-tutorial on top-stitching! :)

Debbie Cook said...

The jacket and topstitching look great! But since you have a Viking, I thought I would mention that you probably also have a triple straight stitch that will do the same thing without the little jag. I use that all the time for topstitching. Not that your topstitching looks like it needs any help ... LOL ... :-)

Bunny said...

Your featherstitch hint is brilliant. I use the FS a lot in my heirloom sewing but never at 0 width. I will definitely be trying this one in the future and thanks. The jacket and stitching are just lovely.
I know that area well and it certainly is not complete without a visit to G Street and yes, the traffic is the worst I have ever seen. Have fun!

katherine h said...

What a professional looking jacket! I love green too, it is such a tranquil colour.

Kristine said...

I love the color, so calming. Thanks for the details on the topstitching, and your work makes me want to give BWOF a try!

fabricluver (Susan) said...

I love your jacket and thank you for the tip on topstitching!

Dana said...

I skimmed right over that article about topstitching and forgot all about it. Thanks for reminding me! I've got a linen suit to make and was trying figure out a way to make the topstitching "pop". This is the perfect solution!

Linda said...

Great looking jacket and I like green as well. Your toptstiching is perfect.