How To Edge Stitch With A Sewing Machine

Sewing is an art that has been around for centuries, and there are many skills that come with mastering it. One such skill is edgestitching, which can be used to create a neat, finished stitch along the edges or openings of a garment. It may seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and techniques, anyone can learn how to edge stitch with a sewing machine.

First, select the right type of needle and thread for the fabric. An edgestitching needle is best, as it has a sharp point and a long eye, which will help the thread pass through smoothly. The type of thread you use depends on the fabric and stitch length; some fabrics require polyester or thin cotton thread, while others require heavier threads. Once you’ve chosen the right needle and thread, it’s time to set up your sewing machine.

Adjust your tension and stitch length to suit your fabric, and select the edgestitch foot. This is a foot with two notches that line up with the edge of the fabric, allowing for precise stitching. With the fabric in place, and the edgestitch foot attached to the machine, you can begin to stitch.

To get started, lower the presser foot and place your needle in the fabric. Gently pull the thread tail to the wrong side of the fabric, then hold both the thread and the needle in your left hand while you gently guide the fabric with your right. As you stitch, be sure to keep your needle aligned right on the edge of the fabric.

When edgestitching the raw edges of fabric, be sure to use the right seam allowance; usually 5/8” is the most common width. This ensures that all of your pieces fit together perfectly. As you near the end of your stitching, be sure to leave a long tail of thread on the wrong side, and weave it through a few stitches before knotting it off. This will ensure that your stitch stays secure, and won’t come undone.

If you’re using a pattern to help you with your edgestitching, use pattern weights to hold the pattern down. This will help you keep track of the lines you need to stitch and make sure that all of your stitching is even and consistent. To help you see better and stay organized, use a needle threader and seam ripper.

Edgestitching is an easy skill to learn, but it takes practice and patience to master. Start with simply edgestitching a straight line, then move on to more complex shapes and patterns. With practice, you’ll be able to create beautiful, consistent stitches, and you’ll be able to add stylish details to your garments.

Tips for Successful edgestitching

A few tips can make edgestitching easier, and help you to avoid mistakes. Firstly, make sure your needle is properly threaded and your stitches are even. The tension should also be adjusted appropriately for the fabric; too loose and the stitches will be wiggly, too tight and they will pop. Additionally, take a few practice stitches on a scrap piece of fabric before you start stitching on a garment, to ensure you get the length and tension just right.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve finished stitching your edgestitch, you may want to finish the edges to prevent fraying. This can be done with a special edgestitch foot, which will hold the edges together as you stitch. Alternatively, you can use pinking shears or zigzag scissors to finish off the edges. If you don’t have either of these tools, you may be able to use your regular scissors; just be sure to leave a tiny amount of fabric at the edge to prevent the threads from coming undone.

Selecting the Right Thread

It’s important to choose the right thread for your edgestitching; too thin, and it may break; too thick, and it will be difficult to move through the fabric. Generally, a thread that matches the weight of the fabric should be used. If you’re using a light-weight fabric, use a lightweight thread; for a heavier fabric, use a heavier thread. Additionally, make sure the thread is strong enough to withstand the movement of the stitching.

Know Your Rights and Wrong Legs

When it comes to edgestitching, it’s important to understand the difference between right and wrong legs. A right leg is when the thread comes off the bobbin underneath the fabric, and appears on the right side. The wrong leg is when the thread comes off the bobbin underneath the fabric, and appears on the wrong side. Each stitch should have a right and a wrong leg, and the direction of the stitching is determined by the legs: if you want a zig-zag stitch, the wrong legs should go in the opposite direction of the right legs.

Advanced Edgestitching Techniques

Once you’ve mastered the basics of edgestitching, you can move on to more advanced techniques. Consider trying Reverse Edgestitching, which involves stitching in the opposite direction to create a neater finish. Or, for a decorative effect, you can experiment with multiple strands of thread, blended fabrics and contrasting threads. These more complex techniques will help you add special touches to the edges of your garments.

Techniques to Reduce Bulk

Some fabrics, such as heavy wool, can be difficult to edge stitch, as the bulk of the fabric may cause the stitches to become uneven. To prevent this problem, you can use a few techniques to reduce the bulk of your fabric. First, you can press the seam allowances of your garment before edgestitching, or you can trim away excess fabric with sharp scissors. You can also use edgestitch tape, which can be laid down along the edge and stitched over to ensure a taut finish.


Edgestitching is an essential skill for any sewist, and with a few tips and techniques, you can quickly become an expert. Select the right needle and thread for your fabric, adjust the tension and stitch length, and practice on a scrap piece of fabric to get the hang of it. With some patience and practice, you’ll be able to add a polished, professional finish to all your garments.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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