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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to Make Piping

Hey there! It's time for another helpful tutorial! You might have had the chance to sew with pre-made packaged piping before. It's a neat little trim you can add to many types of home goods and clothing. But did you know that you can make your own piping using just about any fabric? And it's not hard at all!  Today I'm going to show you how it's done and then we'll even put our new piping to use on a fun project.  


Your choice of fabric
Any size of cording (mine is 3/16" from Walmart)
Sewing machine, scissors, & thread
Optional: Batting for pillow project

For starters, you will need cording to go inside your piping. My hubby brought home this 10 yard package for less than $5 -- much less costly than pre-made piping. And I can make it look exactly how I want! 

Next we will cut our fabric into 2" strips. The number of strips you need depends on the amount of piping you want! 40" long strips will give you 40" of piping.  If you are making non-bias piping, you can cut the fabric straight across, as I did in the photo above. This is great for projects that have mostly straight lines or gradual curves.  

However, if you are making a project that has a lot of curves, you will want to cut your 2" wide fabric strips on the bias of the fabric. Cutting the strips on the bias allows the piping to "stretch" around the curves. If you are not sure how to cut your fabric on the bias, you will find this blog post very helpful!

So for non-bias piping, you will cut strips straight with the grain.  For bias piping, you will cut strips on the bias.  Got it?  Great!  Let's go on. The rest of the steps are the same for both types of piping. 

Take your first strip of fabric and fold it in half length-wise, creating a long fold down the middle. Iron to set the fold. Set aside and repeat with all your remaining strips. 

Without cutting the cording, slide it into crease you just created. Leave a small amount hanging out the end, as shown above. 

Take the fabric and piping to your machine. Using your zipper foot (or a piping foot if you have one), sew close to the piping through both layers of the fabric, sandwiching it in.  You don't have to worry about getting RIGHT next to the cording. Just close enough to hold it snugly. See photo above. 

Continue sewing down the strip until you get to the other end. Cut the cording, leaving a little tail left on the end, and finish sewing. 

Guess what. You just created piping!  It should look like the photo above. 

Go ahead and repeat with all your remaining strips.

Now, depending on the project you are using your piping for, you may need to trim the long edge of the piping so that it is the width of your desired seam allowance. For example, I usually use a 3/8" seam allowance, so I used my scissors to trim the fabric to 3/8" away from the cording. If you are using a larger seam allowance, you will leave a wider amount of fabric. 

Flash forward an hour or so, and look at these super cute Blaycie's Skinny Pants I made using my polka dot piping! The piping instructions are already included in the pattern, but since you may not own it (yet) let's make a small project right now using our piping!  How does a little piped pillow sound? Here goes. 

Cut two rectangles exactly the same size.  Any size will work, as long as you have enough piping to go around the edges.

With one of the rectangles laying flat and facing right side up, cut a section of the piping so it is just a little longer than one of the rectangle sides.  See photo above.  Match up the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the rectangle and pin in place.  

Do the same with the remaining four edges, overlapping them on the corners. Make sure all the raw edges are matching. 

Using a 1/4" seam allowance and a long basting stitch, sew around the rectangle, securing the edges of the piping to the fabric and removing the pins as you go. Leave a 3" opening at the bottom, as shown in red above. 

Trim the piping overlap on each end so it is all flush edges around the rectangle, as shown above. 

Lay the second rectangle on top of the piping, with right sides together. Pin in place all around the edges. 

Using your zipper or pipping foot again, sew around the edges of the rectangles, this time using your full 3/8" seam allowance. This should put your stitching right up close to the piping on the inside.  Be sure to leave a 3" opening at the bottom, at the same spot as before. 

Note: As you sew over the piping at the corners where they overlap, you may need to help ease the fabric under the foot. It will be a little bulky but your machine should be able to handle it just fine! 

Cut each corner of your rectangle close to the stitching to reduce bulk. Be careful not to clip into the stitching! 

Turn your project right side out using the opening that you left at the bottom. It should now look like the photo above!  Isn't that cool? The pillow corners will not poke out all the way, but they should look tidy and secure. 

Stuff your new pillow using batting or fabric scraps.  Pin the opening shut, with the piping lined up as before. 

Using your zipper foot, sew the opening closed as shown in red. 

Now if you'd like, you can sew a cute fabric-covered button in the center to match!  Isn't that adorable? If you want to see how to make fabric covered buttons, you can click here for our tutorial. 

Well, congrats! Now you know how to make your own piping!  Don't be afraid to add it to all sorts of projects. We would love to see what you make, so please share your piping creations in our patterns group here!

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

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