Welcome to this months Sewing Lesson! How to Make and Sew Piping! If your new Sewing Lessons is a year long blog series written by me and sponsored by Bernina. I’m sharing sewing tips and tricks all year long and talking about my experience sewing on my new Bernina 710 machine.
After my trip to Fabric Fest last week I thought it would be good to talk about sewing and making piping. In case any of my students have questions after they get home.
I adore piping! I put it in everything. It gives what you are sewing a nice finished look and can elevate your whole project. I love to use it in clothing, home decor, and accessories sewing.
First I think we need to clarify what I mean when I’m talking about piping. There are many different widths of piping. Generally piping sewn into a home decor item is called cording. Today we are talking about the piping you can get in the package at the fabric store. The yellow one above. Many of the techniques today will also work for the 2nd piping in the photo, which is smaller and usually used in heirloom sewing.
To sew with piping you need a piping foot. I’ve tried lots of other ways, and trust me, it is sooo much easier with the right foot for your sewing machine. My favorite for sewing foot for piping is the Bernina 12C foot.
You can also use the 3C foot (button hole foot) or the 38 foot, however those are best for putting in tiny piping. Like in the photo below.
Today we are working with the 12C foot. As you can see from the photo a piping foot has a groove underneath that allows the piping to slide under easily. It keeps it in place as you sew.
The other two feet also have grooves in the bottom, but as you can see they are much smaller. Making them ideal to use with tiny piping. But like I said today we are sewing with standard piping.
Put the piping foot on your sewing machine. You’ll have the raw edge of the piping flush with the raw edge of the fabric. Pin the piping in place. The piping under the groove the foot. Next adjust your needle left/right so that it is lined up with the existing stitching line in the piping. Start sewing 2” in from the tail end of the piping.
When you get to a corner, clip the piping so that it will go around the corner. Sew to the end, then put your needle down, your presser foot up and pivot. Keep sewing around the other side. Stop sewing 2” from where you started.
When you are done it will look like this, but you still need to join the ends of the piping. There are many ways to do this, I’m going to share with you my favorite way.
1- Fold back the piping where you started.
2. Clip the tail end of the piping flush with this point.
3. Unpick the bias tape from around the piping until you get to where the piping is sewn to the fabric.
4. Clip out the cord inside the bias tape.
Fold under the raw edges of the bias, insert the end of the piping.
Pin and sew as you did before.
Now let’s pretend we are making a pillow. Here’s the trick to getting your piping to look great after it’s sewn. Pin your 2nd fabric piece to the piece that has the piping sewn on, right sides together. Now flip it over. See the stitching line that was used to sew on the piping the first time? Just sew right on top of that seam. That way you know it will look great and be in the proper position. You can use this trick for anything with piping, not just pillows.
See easy peasy, you just need to now hand stitch the opening (remember were making a pretend pillow *wink*).
If you’d like to make your own piping, here’s my trick. Start with white (or a color close to your fabric) store bought piping. Then cut a bias strip of fabric 1” wide.
Insert the piping into the bias strip. The raw edges even. Fold over the fabric.
Using your same 12C piping foot, stitch fabric to piping.
Voila! Custom piping. You can also do this with string, but I never have that on hand, I usually just sew over existing piping.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson! Check out my other lessons here:
How to Finish Seams
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