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Seam, Stitch, and Topstitch… What Are They?

Does it happen to you that you stay thinking when people talk about seams, stitches, and topstitching?
If answering this question takes you more than 3 seconds, you should read this article.

Poor explanations and wrong interpretations are the source of 73% of the problems when producing products.

This article will boost your communication skills while gaining confidence when talking to your colleagues, clients, and suppliers.

What is a Stitch?

A stitch is a loop of thread made by a needle, which pulls it through fabric to create a stitching line.


A stitching line is a sequence of stitches that usually holds two pieces of fabric together (or more). 

Depending on the fabric quality and the purpose of the seam, you can use different stitches: lock stitch, chain stitch, overlock stitch, cover stitch, etc.

What is a Topstitch?

A topstitch is a stitching line that is visible from the right side of the fabric.
Its function can be either ornamental, as well as to reinforce the seam and keep the seam allowance stable.

What is a Seam?

A seam is the result of sewing a line of stitches.


The purposes of seams are:

  • join two or more pieces of fabric
  • make a finishing on the edge of a fabric
  • attach a material (a piece of fabric or trim) on top of another fabric
  • modify the volume of the fabric

Depending on the way that the fabrics are attached, the structure of the seam varies. And so the steps to make them, and their properties (see Types of Seams).

Some of the most common seams are French Seam, Welt Seam, and Fold Hem, to name a few.

Today we’ve talked about:

  • what is a stitch
  • what is a topstitch
  • what is a seam

We’ve also mentioned:

  • different types of stitches
  • different types of topstitches
  • some types of seams

I hope you find this article interesting. If you have any comments, please let us know below.



BONUS: Seams vs. Stitches Chart

Belu Chi

Belu Chi

Technical Designer at ABC Seams®
Expert in apparel development and technical communication. Former Product Developer at Burberry.

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Belu Chi

Technical Designer at ABC Seams®

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