How to make and apply piping with Liz Haywood

How to Make and Apply Piping

Beautiful white piping shown on the Karri Dress from Megan Nielsen, Traverse Bag from Noodlehead and Carolyn PJ's from Closet Core. Images from Hantex, UK Fabric and Pattern Distributor, www.hantex.co.uk

WHAT IS PIPING?

Piping is a trim made from a strip of fabric cut on the bias, wrapped around a cord and stitched to hold the cord in place. It's used as a design feature, inserted into a seam or on an edge to accentuate the garment's lines. Piping is used on clothes for people of any age or gender, accessories and home décor such as cushions and armchairs.

Piping can be bought ready-made or you can make your own. Ready-made piping comes in a limited range of colours, and sometimes doesn't have piping cord in it, as it's woven all-in-one with the cord included, so it can be preferable to make your own. It's very simple to make. Liz Haywood shares how: 

TO MAKE PIPING

You'll need piping cord, which comes in different widths. The sizes are numbered and the bigger the number the wider the width.  Chose one in proportion to the garment. For example, choose a fine width for a baby's dress, wider for an adult's garment, or a chunky cord for cushion edging.  Size 0 or 1 (about 3mm (⅛in-ish) is typically used for adult clothes and 000 or 00 for children's clothes.

You'll also need some strips of fabric cut on the bias. The reason it's cut on the bias is to give the piping flexibility. The width of the strips needs to be the circumference of the cord plus two seam allowances, but 3cm (1¼in) wide is usual for size 0 or 1 cord.

If you need long lengths of piping, you'll need to join the bias strips together.

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Want some help cutting and joining bias strips - click here

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Encase the cord in the bias strip and stitch close alongside it using a zipper foot on the machine.  Use a long stitch and matching thread. If the zipper foot on your machine has a wide back, you may not be able to stitch close enough. If this is the case, use a specially designed piping foot.

 

 TO APPLY PIPING

Piping is applied in two stages. It's stitched to one side of the seam first, then the actual seam is sewn with the piping sandwiched between the two layers.

1. Stitch the piping to one side of the seam, on the right side of the fabric.  Use a long stitch and a zipper foot, and stitch on the stitching line (you might need to adjust the distance of the piping from the edge). Hold the garment firmly underneath and let the piping 'sit easy' on top.

If the piping has joins in it (where you joined the bias strips), try and arrange the joins so they're in an inconspicuous place.

2. Place the other side of the seam on top.  Sew the seam with the first row of stitching uppermost, so you can see where to sew. Use a regular stitch length and a zipper foot.

If the piping has to go around corners or curves, snip the piping to shape.

Neaten the seam allowance and press the seam and you're ready to finish the project!

 

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    How to make and apply piping with Liz Haywood

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