A Few More Piping Tips!

Yep, I'm continuing with piping this week! :) Read on to find out how to make your own piping and for a few general piping tips.

While there is lots of ready made piping available, making your own piping is a great way to get the perfect colour match for your project and it's super simple to do.

To make your own piping you will need:

  • A zipper foot
  • A cutting mat and rotary cutter (scissors will work but I find the accuracy of the rotary cutter much better for this job)
  • A ruler (if you are using a rotary cutter this will need to be thick enough for cutting with a blade)
  • Piping cord (in your choice of size)
  • Fabric (enough to cut a strip on a 45 degree angle)

1. Cutting your bias strip. Start by positioning your fabric on your cutting mat. You are going to be cutting a bias strip (so, a 45 degree angle from the selvedge edge). I have 45 degrees marked on my ruler which makes cutting this easy. I line this up with the selvedge and then cut my strip. 


2. How wide should it be? I like my piping to be 1cm wide when finished, but it is up to you how wide you would like it to be. The width of your seam allowance is often an easy amount to work with as you can line it up with the raw edge of the fabric you are attaching it to. You will need to double the width of your finished piping and add a bit extra (to allow for getting around your cord) to decide how wide your bias strip needs to be. So for 1 cm wide piping (when finished) I cut just over 2.3 cm wide bias strip. If you are using very thick piping cord you will need to add on extra to allow for the cord width.  

3. Sewing your piping. Once you have cut your strip you can wrap it around your piping cord. A zipper foot is the best way to sew the cord as you can get nice and close. You need to make sure that the raw edges of the strip are aligned. Sewline fabric glue can work well here to lightly stick the raw edges of the bias strip together so things stay put during sewing. 

Move your needle as far to the left as possible to get nice and close to the piping cord.


4. Joining piping. If you need an extra long piece of piping and need to join your bias strips together you can do so by placing the strips right sides together as shown below, and sew from one corner to the other. Trim close to the stitching line and press the remaining seam allowance to one side.


5. Attaching your piping to your project

Sewline glue is a great way to attach your piping to your project before sewing it together, particularly when you are sewing through lots of layers and want to make sure everything stays in the right place. Start by gluing the piping to one piece of your project and then sandwich together. Basting is another option.  

6. Clipping around curves

If you need your piping to mould around curves, you will need to clip into the seam allowance of the piping so that it keeps its shape and lies flat.   


7. Zipper foot

 A zipper foot is your friend when it comes to sewing piping. You can get in nice and close to the actual cord using this foot. If you find that you haven't got in close enough first time, you do not necessarily have to unpick your sewing, you can just resew closer to the piping cord until you are close enough. 


Last week I did a blog on joining piping - click here to read more. 

Happy sewing! 


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