Too Much Thread Can be a Good Thing: Multiple Rows of Top-Stitching

In most general sewing, it’s best to avoid stitching in areas where it’s unnecessary – to avoid the too much thread syndrome. Yes, there is such a thing, although the concept can be quite subjective.

However, too much thread can be useful in certain areas of dressmaking and general fashion sewing.  Such as, designs where extra rows of stitching changes the drape of the fabric and that’s intentional. For example topstitching multiple rows is not only design driven but is integral to changing the “hand” and drape of the fabric.

Here are three examples of multiple-row-topstitching:

Images courtesy of BravoTV 
project-runway-1703-runway-02_0 (1)
Image courtesy of BravoTV
  • First up, a genius rendition of “too-much-thread” by a Project Runway contestant. Sebastian changed the character of a relatively unstable fabric by running lines of topstitching according to his garment design. You can see in the full garment image above that this is a sheer material. But some design elements needed a bit of “beef”, so he goes and topstitches parallel lines all along the pieces — such as the belt.  You can watch the entire Season 17, Episode 3 here – if you wish.  The images above belong to Bravo TV.

Collar SewEverythingBlog

  • Next, here’s something I did many years ago, and this diaphanous red silk organza jacket remains a favorite.  It was made in 2003 from a Vogue pattern by Adri.  Check out the collar where there are just the two collar pieces with no interfacing, but the collar gains structure (which a collar must have) with closely spaced rows of topstitching. The organza gained enough body to keep the collar crisp yet the sheer quality remains.


  • Last but not least, my wool crepe jacket which I sewed up in – wait for it – 1997/98!  The edges get a crisp tailored look with three rows of topstitching on the collar edges, lapel and down the front edges. It may fall under the purely aesthetic category, but it does help tamp down and crisp up the edges.  This jacket also remains a much loved piece; it’s made with a pattern by Fashion Sewing Group (owner/designer Nancy Erickson is now retired) and was inspired by modern Chanel jackets in their 1997 collection.

I’m obsessed now, and trying to think of places where I can use excessive amounts of stitching to change the fabric character and “hand”.

Have a great summer!




8 thoughts on “Too Much Thread Can be a Good Thing: Multiple Rows of Top-Stitching

    1. Thank you, Chris! I use the presser foot as a guide; also change the needle position (which I can do on my old Bernina) if I have to. I keep my eyes on the fabric/presser-foot alignment rather than on the needle. The needle can take care of itself. A practice sample is always a good idea.


  1. Thank you for thetips. I was wondering if this trick would work for a round neckline that does not lie flat on my chest. I’ve noticed multiple topstitching on several newer styles and wondered it this would work for me. I’ve already added some stiffer interfacing and it seems to help a lot but not completely.


    1. You are welcome, Betsy. Glad to be of help. Regarding your question, I’m not sure that multiple rows of stitching can help the neckline lie flat. A pattern tweak is probably the way to go — as in pinching out a small amount at the center front area on the pattern tissue. Adding more threads will stiffen the edges but probably won’t hug the neck area as you would want it to. Whatever you try, I would love to see if it worked. Thank you for reading my posts.


Leave a Reply to Catherine Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s