The Ziggi Backside & Top Stitching Basics

Now that the collar is finished, it’s time to tackle the back of the jacket. ┬áThis part of the instructions is fairly straightforward. However, if you haven’t decided if you want to top stitch or not, now’s the time to decide!

Why bother top stitching your Ziggi?

  • It makes bulky fabrics ‘behave’. If you’re working with leather, wool, or denim, chances are you’ll find that your seams never quite lay flat enough. Top stitching helps tame weighty material and smooth garment seams for a polished look.
  • It adds interest to your finished garment (to add even more interest you can use a contrasting thread). This style of jacket typically has quite a bit of top stitching, however, if you’re going for a ‘dressier’ look, you may want to skip it.
  • If you’ve decided to leave your jacket unlined, it’s a nice way to create a more finished interior look (especially if your material doesn’t ravel).

Top Stitching Basics

  • Always lengthen your stitch (especially when top stitching heavier fabrics). Using longer stitches will keep them from ‘sinking’ into your material, make them smoother in appearance, and more visible on your garment.
  • Most top stitching is done 1/16 – 1/8″ away from the seam line.
  • Press. Press. Press. A good press before top stitching will help produce crisp lines for a professional finish.
  • Don’t be afraid to adjust the tension on your machine. Doing this can help prevent puckers (tighten your tension) or too tight stitches (loosen your stitches).
  • Sew slowly. This helps give you precise results – no wants a wonky line!
  • Save your scraps! Before you start top stitching on your actual garment, practice on some fabric scraps. This allows you to gauge what tension settings and stitch length is necessary to produce your desired results.

03-patternNow that we’ve talked about top stitching it’s time to dig in and start the back of your jacket! To start, you’ll need 3 pieces: The center back (2 pieces), lower back (1 piece), and the hem facing (1 piece). By now you’ve probably noticed the illustration shows the center back is one piece, but as we all discovered when cutting, it’s two – go ahead and sew these two pieces together at the center seam (indicated by the CBK label on the pattern piece, I’ve also highlighted it in the photo with a green line). If you’ve decided to add top stitching in this area be sure to put it in place prior to the next step.

Next, attach the lower center back section to your completed center back piece (the ‘notch’ of the lower back section will match up with the center back seam) and top stitch, if desired. Lastly, sew the hem facing to the lower back section (do not top stitch this section) – your jacket back should look like this right now:


To finish up the backside, you’ll want to take the (2) back side pieces and attach them to either side of the constructed jacket back (don’t forget to top stitch when you’re done). The notches help match everything up and I found that it came together nicely.


Looking good, right? You can really see the shaping taking place in your jacket already!