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Thread: Topstitching vs Zig Zag

  1. #1
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    I am new to quilting and sewing.........I took a class and made a tote bag.......the only thing left to do is "topstitch" all around

    The directions say to first do 1/8" and then 1/4" from there ........I have practiced and practiced but still find I can't get them straight

    So.........is there any reason I couldn't use a zig zag stick instead of the topstitch

    Appreciate anyone thoughts........

    Judy

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    I do very little topstitching for that reason. Do a small section of zig-zag and see if you like the look. There is no right or wrong, just what pleases you. Also, some machines have a double needle feature. Check your machine manual and see if your does.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by erstan947
    I do very little topstitching for that reason. Do a small section of zig-zag and see if you like the look. There is no right or wrong, just what pleases you. Also, some machines have a double needle feature. Check your machine manual and see if your does.
    Appreciate your quick response .........my machine doesn't have a double needle feature........so that isn't an option

    I was just wondering if it would effect holding the lining in place or any other issues (if you can't tell I am very new to all this)

    Thanks ,,,,,,,,,,Judy

  4. #4
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    any stitch you do on top is top stitching, use any decorative stitch you have available
    and I never do 2 rows because it's hard to keep any of them evenly spaced

  5. #5
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    Betty Cotton suggests, and I like the idea, of using a very small zigzag when doing straight lines for quilting. the little bit of "zigging" helps cover up the bends in straight lines...try it to see if you like it. Set your zigzag stitch width on the narrowest you can set it to see if you like it. I would not use a large zig zag for this purpose.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathy
    any stitch you do on top is top stitching, use any decorative stitch you have available
    and I never do 2 rows because it's hard to keep any of them evenly spaced
    dah..........makes total sense "any top stitching you do is top stitching"

    thanks.........getting my confidence up .........

    Judy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktbb
    Betty Cotton suggests, and I like the idea, of using a very small zigzag when doing straight lines for quilting. the little bit of "zigging" helps cover up the bends in straight lines...try it to see if you like it. Set your zigzag stitch width on the narrowest you can set it to see if you like it. I would not use a large zig zag for this purpose.
    Will practice and try your (Betty Cotton's) suggestion.........will take a picture when finished....

    so appreciate everyone's kind help

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    For me topstitiching is for decoration and maybe a little reinforcement of seams. I usually use the edge of my pressure foot for a guide. Any other type of guide and I get squiggles instead....

  9. #9
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    To keep your topstitching straight, you can stick a stack of post-it notes where you want the edge of your project to be and follow along that. Lo and behold your stitching will be straight. Some feet have markings or places that you can eyeball to keep your stitches straight. My daughter always hated topstitching when I made her clothes because she said it was wiggly. Well, now I have many tricks that impress her when she sees my topstitching. As far as zig-zag vs straight, it is up to you. If you like it, that is all that matters. Also if you want your lining to "roll" to the inside of your project, press the seam toward the lining and then sew very close to that seam. Then when you turn the lining in the outside will roll toward the lining, making it easy to topstitch close to the edge.

  10. #10
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Even if it's not perfectly straight, how close is anybody going to be looking at it?

  11. #11
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    Judy, you can buy a double needle for your machine, the needle is the same at the top as a single, just has two needles at the lower end.

  12. #12
    Senior Member pam1966's Avatar
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    I also find when you're top stitching and going through multiple layers of fabric, that lengthening the stitch helps too.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    Judy, you can buy a double needle for your machine, the needle is the same at the top as a single, just has two needles at the lower end.
    Ummm - will certainly check this out - my machine is very old, and I don't have much info on it but will check it out

    Appreciate the info

  14. #14
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    Judy, you can buy a double needle for your machine, the needle is the same at the top as a single, just has two needles at the lower end.
    But only if she has a wide stitch plate opening. She needs to know how wide her zig-zag can go to know what size twin needle she can use.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pam1966
    I also find when you're top stitching and going through multiple layers of fabric, that lengthening the stitch helps too.
    thanks, Pam - will also keep this in mind

    I am just amazed at the amount of people willing to share what works for them -

    The info freely given is truly invaluable to a "newbie"

    Judy

  16. #16
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    You didn't mention the type of machine you have so I'll tell you what I use and you can visit the website and see what it looks like. That way, if you like what you see it will help you track something similar down for your machine. I use a Pfaff narrow-edge foot to top stitch (http://www.pfaffusa.com/4156_3450.html). I think some people call it a stitch-in-the-ditch foot. The blade follows the edge of the fabric and I adjust my needle to whatever distance I would like from the edge. Before I found that foot (I wish I had found it years before) I used the edge of the presser foot for the first round and one of the lines on the foot for another.

    I hope this helps. Finding the right foot can make your life much easier.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by lab fairy
    You didn't mention the type of machine you have so I'll tell you what I use and you can visit the website and see what it looks like. That way, if you like what you see it will help you track something similar down for your machine. I use a Pfaff narrow-edge foot to top stitch (http://www.pfaffusa.com/4156_3450.html). I think some people call it a stitch-in-the-ditch foot. The blade follows the edge of the fabric and I adjust my needle to whatever distance I would like from the edge. Before I found that foot (I wish I had found it years before) I used the edge of the presser foot for the first round and one of the lines on the foot for another.

    I hope this helps. Finding the right foot can make your life much easier.
    thanks for the info ........I have an old Kenmore 127-8180

  18. #18
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    Could you use a decorative stitch? That is what I do so I don't have to sew twice and have double the crooked lines.

  19. #19
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I use my zig zag stitch a lot. It covers little wiggles in your lines.

  20. #20
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lab fairy
    You didn't mention the type of machine you have so I'll tell you what I use and you can visit the website and see what it looks like. That way, if you like what you see it will help you track something similar down for your machine. I use a Pfaff narrow-edge foot to top stitch (http://www.pfaffusa.com/4156_3450.html). I think some people call it a stitch-in-the-ditch foot. The blade follows the edge of the fabric and I adjust my needle to whatever distance I would like from the edge. Before I found that foot (I wish I had found it years before) I used the edge of the presser foot for the first round and one of the lines on the foot for another.

    I hope this helps. Finding the right foot can make your life much easier.
    Yes, I have this too for my Vikings, some older machines can't use it tho.

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