Edge stitch is exactly what it says it is. A stitch used on the edge, no hidden agendas, straight and true and to the point. Edgestitch is decorative and functional at the same time and is easy to sew even without a specialized foot.
What is Edge Stitch?
The edge stitch is the line of stitches used to neaten an edge, a seam or to stitch around the edge of a facing to keep the edge nice and flat and looking professional.
The stitching distance is usually 1/8 inch (3mm) from the edge. This technique is common on the edge of denim seams and adds strength and decoration. On clothing, edgestitch sewn vertically draws the eye down making you seem longer.
When to Use Edge Stitch
Edge stitch is used along a folded edge or around the inside edge of a facing. It can also be used as a decorative edge just along the ditch of a seam to add some detail.
Edge stitch is usually stitched with the same type of thread you are sewing your garment with and in a matching color. I used a contrast color just so you could see my stitching more clearly.
How to Edge Stitch
Edge stitch can be sewn with a all-purpose foot or an edge stitch foot .
Step 1 – Prepare the Seam
Stitch your seam with the required seam allowance and finish the edges if necessary with a serger or zig-zag stitch.
Press your seam. Your pattern may specify whether you press the seam open or to one side. This is important to create a neat ditch to stitch along. It is more common to press the seam to the side when using this technique.
Step 2 – General Stitching
Edge stitch 1/8 inch (3mm) from the seam created with an all-purpose or edge stitch foot.
TIPS: Turn down the speed of your machine to enable a slower, more steady pace of stitching. Reverse stitch at the beginning and the end. You will be sewing over multiple layers so check on your stitch length before you begin.
Edge Stitch with an All-Purpose foot
It is always wonderful to have fun sewing gadgets, but if you do not have an edge stitch foot it is still possible to follow this technique without any fancy tool
Set up your machine with your regular all-purpose sewing machine foot.
Follow the seam and stitch 1/8 inch (3mm) away from the ditch. If you have pressed your seam to one side, you will be stitching on top of the seam allowance.
The length of the edge stitch can vary according to your decorative requirements.
All-purpose foot edge stitch
- needle position: center
- stitch length: 2.0-3.0
- distance from seam: 1/8″ (3mm)
How to Use an Edge Stitch Foot
The edge stitch foot will replace the presser foot on your machine. Whether you have a generic brand or a specialized one for your machine, they all work with the same principle.
The edge stitch foot has a small projection in the middle of the foot that acts as a guide while you sew along the seam line.
The guide follows the seam line and the needle is moved to the left to stitch 1/8″ (3mm) from the seam. If you don’t move the needle to the left, you will be stitching in the seam itself (this is called stitch in the ditch).
Although the guide will help to keep the stitching accurate, it is still wise to sew slowly.
Besides the added accuracy when using the edge stitch foot, you can also get closer than 1/8″ (3mm) to the seam if necessary.
- needle position: left
- stitch length: 2.0-3.0
- distance from seam: 1/16″ – 1/8″ (1.5-3mm)
Edge Stitch vs Top Stitch
Topstitching gives a tailored look to a plain outfit and can be sewn with a thicker, contrasting thread and a longer stitch for effect.
Topstitching, because of its decorative element, stands out and is best seen at a 1/4” (6mm) distance from the seam.
Although the basic principle of these two stitches is similar the edge stitch really has the edge so to speak because it serves two purposes in one – function and decoration.
Edge Stitch for Trims
Edge stitching is a great way to stitch on ribbons and trims. Use the edge stitching foot as a guide, enabling you to sew accurately and close to the sides.
Without using the edge foot as a guide, there is no way I could have sewn the ribbon down so neatly or so close to the edge. The special foot allowed me to sew even closer than 1/8″ to the edge by adjusting the needle position further in.
Using an edgestitch gives that extra professional touch to your dressmaking and sewing projects. In this day and age, anything that serves more than one purpose or can multitask is a winner.