A quick tip for topstitching activewear seams

I'm sure some of you may know this tip already, but if you're someone who prefers to topstitch down all your seams for your activewear makes, get yourself a roll of Prym Wonder Tape, stat. I've known about this stuff before, as I've seen other people use it for basting zippers in place, but I hadn't realised exactly how great it could be for topstitching until I decided to give it a try on a pair of Steeplechase Leggings I'm sewing for Cambridge Half next weekend. Wonder Tape is essential double-sided, sticky, washaway stabiliser, and it comes in a narrow 6mm (1/4in) tape roll. You stick one side, peel off the backing, stick something to the other, and that's it. No need to heat up the iron or anything and it comes out in the wash, leaving you with perfect topstitching. When I'd topstitched my seams before, I'd usually use pins (and always my trusty walking foot!), but pins can make things lumpy and you've still got to constantly feel for the seam allowance underneath if you're stitching around curves (like on the Steeplechase's curved yoke yokes). This stuff just made it easy.

I’m sure some of you may know this tip already, but if you’re someone who prefers to topstitch down all your seams for your activewear makes, get yourself a roll of Prym Wonder Tape, stat. I’ve known about this stuff before, as I’ve seen other people use it for basting zippers in place, but I hadn’t realised exactly how great it could be for topstitching until I decided to give it a try on a pair of Steeplechase Leggings I’m sewing for Cambridge Half next weekend.

Wonder Tape is essential double-sided, sticky, washaway stabiliser, and it comes in a narrow 6mm (1/4in) tape roll. You stick one side, peel off the backing, stick something to the other, and that’s it. No need to heat up the iron or anything and it comes out in the wash, leaving you with perfect topstitching. When I’d topstitched my seams before, I’d usually use pins (and always my trusty walking foot!), but pins can make things lumpy and you’ve still got to constantly feel for the seam allowance underneath if you’re stitching around curves (like on the Steeplechase’s curved yoke yokes). This stuff just made it easy.

For the visual learners, here’s the process:

Step 1 – Stick the Wonder Tape right next to the stitching line on the side of the fabric you’d like to topstitch (for me, it was against the blue yoke piece)

Step 2 – Peel off the backing and finger-press the seam allowance onto the sticky tape

Step 3 – Topstitch from the right side (I chose to use a triple zigzag stitch here but you could just as easily use a regular zigzag or stretch stitch)

Result – Perfect topstitching that was way, way easier to achieve than using pins.

I actually finished up these leggings last night and took the for a test run this morning so they look like a goer for running the half marathon on Sunday. I’ll get some post-race photos of them to show you next week, but in other news…

Pro Methods for Activewear – Threads (issue 190, March-April 2017)

Yes, I’ve been a busy girl! But more on this project in a bit. 😉

8 Comments

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  1. 1
    Melinda Brennan

    I have a similar product here called Dritz Wash-Away Wonder Tape. It works exactly the same way, so if people can’t find the Prym, it might be worthwhile looking for Dritz.

    I use it a lot for putting pocket layers together rather than tacking, as there’s less bulk in the final seam. And zippers of course. I’ve used it for LOTS of zippers!

    • 3
      Jen (NY)

      Dritz is actually a division of Prym, so it is probably an identical product. There’s another one, Collins wonder tape, which is a more gummy-like product. I’ve used it for zippers, lingerie sewing, etc. However, the Collins product seems to leave a residue sometimes, and I’m not sure that it is truly a wash-away product. I think I’ll try the Prym/Dritz tape next. Thanks for the tips.

    • 8
      melissa

      Hi, there’s not really enough information to advise – is it in a seam, or the middle of fabric? How big is the hole? Cab you patch it with the same or contrasting fabric (definitely do the opposite knee as well so it looks intentional). Or just cut them off into shorts instead? Lots of different options!

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