Top-stitching is a very easy way to decorate your projects with only a straight stitch. It really looks best when it is neat and and even distance from the edge. With careful attention you can do it well with your standard presser foot, but it is a lot easier when you use your blind-hem foot. Note: You can also use your overcasting foot if you want to be a bit farther from the edge.
It is very easy. Just attach your blind-hem foot, but your folded edge against the guide, and with the needle to the left, stitch. And that's it.
How to Sew Pin-tucks With Your Blind-hem Foot
Since that's not a lot for one post, I'll show you how to make pin tucks with you blind-hem foot as well.
Groups of pin-tucks look best when the pin-tucks are parallel, evenly spaced and very neat.
To make a pin-tuck with your blind-hem foot, first fold the fabric where you want the pin-tuck to be, then put the folded fabric under the foot with the fold butted against the guide. Then sew as usual. When you have sewn the pin tuck, sew the next one parallel to it and repeat until you have enough.
You can use these for smocking
If you baste these pin-tucks (fairly close together) instead of stitching them permanently, you can smock them and then release the basting. Smocking looks very pretty on little girls' clothes and on summer blouses. You can really smock just about any fabric, but I should think it would be easier on fabrics with a softer handle. When you smock, you can add a bead to each join. This makes a very nice evening look and can be used on bags too!
Pin-tucks are a classic and very pretty look on summer blouses and dresses. They look best in groups and can be a smart, understated trimming on work blouses and school blouses (I don't know if they are allowed on school blouses, but I don't see why not).
Different Ways to Use Pin-tucks
Pin-tucks needn't be vertical, you can sew them above a hem or anywhere else you would like horizontal lines. You can sew them in one direction and then pin-tuck over those in the opposite direction (vertical then horizontal or vice versa) to make cross pin-tucks. Or you can lay the pin-tucked fabric flat then stitch up across the pin-tucks then down across them a few inches to the left, then up again the same distance to the left and keep going on like that to get a wavy design. 365daysofsewing posted a similar technique on BurdaStyle.com http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/how-to-sew-scallop-tucks. You can use pin-tucks as narrow dart tucks, or you can sew them on the inside of the garment for a different look.
If you are sewing very light fabric, you can sew with a cord in the tuck and then pull it up to gather. You could do this to the top of doll's house curtains or a doll's garment's waist as well. You could use shirring elastic instead of cord to make it stretchy.
If you are going to make lots of pin-tucks...
...it is best to pin-tuck the fabric before you cut it, because too many pin-tucks will naturally shorten or narrow the fabric and affect the fit. If you pin-tuck right across the width of the fabric, you can use this in the design and have the sleeves cut with pin-tucks near their hems, creating harmony in the design.
Can you think of any other ways to use pin-tucks? Please share them in the comments below!
Next week's post will be about edge-joining with the Blind-hem foot. I suggest you have a go at it rather than judging it by the photo because the photo doesn't look very good. : )
Until next time, happy sewing!
The Sewing Corner
P.S. I have started a page on this blog that shows some of my favourite sewing books and things. It's actually an aStore so if you would like the same things, you can get them here. It's the page link on the side bar that says "My Favourite Sewing Books and Things".