steps to perfect piping

5 Steps to Perfect Piping

Have you tried pipping an edge of your garment? Say a neckline or the hem of a short sleeve? Apart from looking super special it’s a great way to help ease in a gaping neckline or adding an extra pop of colour.

Step 1

I like to use knitting yarn inside my piping for clothing as it’s soft enough to sew over and is a lot cheaper than cord. Alternatively, cotton cord is sold by the meter and comes in a variety of thicknesses.  It’s what I prefer for soft furnishings.

Firstly we need to cut the strips. For clothing, piping should be cut on the bias because it will give us the stretch we need if we want to ease in an edge (on a neckline for example.) Soft furnishings and accessories piping can be cut on the straight grain and will use less fabric.

Cut bias strips 4cm wide and join if necessary.

Step 2

  1. Fold the bias strip over the end of your yarn and position under the half foot of your sewing machine
  2. begin sewing and use the yarn “bump” as a guide for the foot to run along
  3. sew all the way to the end
  4. trim so the seam allowance on the piping is between 6mm and 1cm (this is especially important when using darker piping in a pale coloured item as you won’t want the seam allowance to show through.)

piping collage 1

Step 3

Next we sew the piping onto our project.

  1. position the piping along the required edge leaving a tail hanging off the end. Sew on top of the first row of stitching
  2. with your lining facing the right side of your work, and the piped fabric on top, sew just to the left of your previous row (as indicated by the yellow line in the photo)
  3. and if all goes well you’ll have something like this.

piping collage 2Step 4

Now what if you have to insert a zip? You can make your piping sit back away from the edge which will give you space to add a zip.

  1. instead of leaving a tail hanging off the back, fold the piping at an angle
  2. sew on the lining or facing as instructed above
  3. see how the piping is now set neatly back from the edge
  4. leaving you seam allowance to insert a zip.

piping collage 3

Step 5

Or what about joining your piping when it meets?

  1. when you begin sewing, fold the piping at an angle
  2. then when you come around to where it meets, turn the piping at a slighter angle and run it off the edge. This is where you’ll be glad you used yarn instead of cording as you’ll be able to sew over the top with no problems.

piping collage 4

 

I’ll be doing a second post soon about further methods for joining the ends, how to sew a zip along a piped edge (like you would in a cushion cover) and how to sew piping on curves and corners.

In the meantime, practice and let me know how you go. I’d love to see your work on Instagram too so use the hash tag #stitchingrules.

 

8 thoughts on “5 Steps to Perfect Piping

  1. Julie V

    Debra, I love your site!
    This is a great tutorial — I understand each step. On your About Me page you said that your website is focused towards intermediate to advanced level. I was glad to understand the tutorial even if I’m not sure I count as intermediate and I know I don’t count as advanced 🙂
    I have decided to feature this post at the Retro Re-Pin Party at SomebodysDinner.Blogspot.com
    The party opens Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET. Thanks for linking up and I’m definitely pinning this to my sewing board!

    Reply

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