Welcome back to the Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners, in which I teach the basics of machine sewing, with a technical lesson and a useful tutorial for each technique. It’s been a few months since our last lesson, so if you need to brush up on some basics, check out the course syllabus. Today we’re going to talk about one of the most important techniques in sewing that you will come across over and over again: turning and topstitching. In our last lesson we talked about seam allowance, which is essential to turn and topstitch properly, so I recommend you go over that lesson if necessary.
Up til now, we’ve been sewing on the right side of the fabric (see here for more information on the right/wrong sides of fabric). It is often necessary to sew on the right side, but this can be problematic if we want to hide the stitching and/or fabric edges. Remember that most fabrics fray if you leave their edges exposed, so you need to take measures to avoid this, especially if you’re planning on washing the sewn item (unless, of course, you want the edges to fray for design reasons). (Read more here about the characteristics of different fabrics.) The most common way to deal with these issues is to turn and topstitch. Let me show you how it works and how to get around some difficulties in more complicated cases: