If you understand the basic stitches you will know that decorative stitching is using more or less the same type of stitches but decoratively on garments or different items.
Decorative stitches could be from a Zig zag stitch to detailed embroidery stitches and it can be made by a sewing machine or by hand. The sewing machine will be much quicker but by hand it could also be very neatly done like in the olden days.
By hand it more time consuming but you are more accurate when only working on one small section at a time. If I use my sewing machine and i want to use decorative stitches on an item i sew slower to make sure it looks right from the start. Embroidery machines is much more quicker if you want to do embroidery stitching but the machines are quite expensive compared to a normal sewing machine. All depends on what type of decorative stitches you want to use. So decide first and then see what would work out best for you.
For top stitching I normally use a different color thread and a little bit thicker and my stitches are normally little bigger/longer. On jeans and jackets top stitching really looks quite nice for me and most of the time I use my sewing machine for that. When I want do some embroidery I have to do it by hand but it’s really not that difficult but it does take time depending on your design. I have seen production embroidery machines and they are wonderful and really quick but like I said embroidery machine are very expensive here.
So to really enjoy decorative stitching, decide first what way would suite you best and your pocket. You don’t have to start with difficult patterns and stitches. Try something as simple as the zig zag stitch in a different color on you garment and see what big a difference that can make.
I really enjoy decorative stitching as it take’s my mind off everything else and I totally enjoy doing something relaxing.