Topstitching is one of those things that can either make or break a project. It adds so much durability and detail to a seam, but it must be straight and even to give a nice finish. I usually topstitch 1/8" from an edge or seam. Edgestitching is topstitching that is even closer to an edge or seam - more like 1/16" . The pattern I'm working on right now involves edgestitching at the hems, neckline, and facings. It gives a very professional finish, and isn't any more difficult than topstitching.
Edgestitching can be done with a basic sewing machine foot. I've been using my clear one because I like to see what is going on with the fabric under the foot. It is just a matter of finding the proper needle position, a reference point for the edge on the foot, and keeping the fabric in line and feeding evenly.
Edgestitching can also be used to hold very thin folds in place. The facing below was edge finished with zig-zag stitching and ironed into a narrow fold.
I aligned the center of the presser foot with the folded edge and set the needle to a good edgestitching position. This put the stitching right through the center of the fold, giving a nice little hem to the facing.
Edgestitching can also be used to attach a facing directly to the inside or the outside of a garment.
As I mentioned, edgestitching isn't technically difficult, it just requires focus and patience...two things that I lack. If I'm in a happy place sewing-wise, I'll often zone out and run off the road, so to speak. And if I'm in a huff and not in the mood to sew, I tend to speed and have terrible accidents. For piecing fabrics, I have a quarter-inch foot that does wonders for keeping me in line, no matter what my state of mind. I did a little research on the web, hoping there was a similar foot to help me with my edgestitching. I found that a couple of machine manufacturers make edgestitching feet, but not mine. So I went to my local dealer and just asked for the heck of it. The owner actually gave me a couple of options, but steered me towards the Ditch Quilting Foot.
It has a blade in the center that acts as guide for stitching right inside or very close to a seam.
It also works like a dream for edgestitching!
This is one of those things I wish I had learned about 20 years ago. It wasn't very expensive, and it is going to make such a difference in my sewing. Now I can just cruise along in la-la land, edgestitching with speed and accuracy.