Friday, January 28, 2011

Apply piping

Oh, there are some technique of sewing that cause me some grief. Piping is one of them, at least it was. Years ago, before the Internet. Back when I was young, impatience and lacking any knowledge on the subject, not that I am an expert now by any means. I tried to make a book cover for my Bible with piping around the edges. It was a disaster! The piping went everywhere and was sewed uneven. Since then, I have noticed that I will avoid this sewing technique, instead of facing it straight on, well, no more avoiding. If I am going to sew, I must know HOW to sew, go figure. So, I looked at the piping in the plastic and decided it was smaller than I and it wasn't going to get the best of me. LOL. Once and for all, I would get it to obey and get in line. So after READING the instructions, I decided again, I am really a visual learner, I needed real pictures and video. You-tube is full of sewing videos, I highly suggest if you are struggling with any sewing techniques, just look for them there.

 Looking back, I didn't have a chance of sewing piping well, without the much needed tools and tips your ship is going to sink. Mine did, but I am happy to say I corrected my bad sewing ways. Here are a few tips I came across during my search for applying piping. First, I learned a piping foot or zipper foot is one of the best tools for applying piping, that goes without saying, but it's so true. The piping must go into the groove of the foot to sew close enough to the seam allowance, if not, then your piping and the piping's seam allowance will be showing.  Although, a piping foot won't work on all piping, sometimes the piping is too large to fit under the piping foot, this is when a zipper foot can be used instead to assist you. Another important thing about piping is to baste or sew it first to the right side of the fabric before sandwiching it between the another layer of fabric. If you don't baste or sew, it moves around on you and there's no guarantee that it will magically go where you want. After basting the piping, add the other layer of fabric on top and guide the  piping under the foot carefully. You can feel that it is sewing in the groove, just like a zipper. This is what the finished piping looks like after I sewed it. Whew, it worked. Learn more about how to apply and create your own piping here. This is only one way to apply piping, it worked for me but I am sure if you poke around the Internet you will find all kinds of great ideas. I'll be back soon with a finished shirt that has piping on it. Hooray, we are learning! Thanks for sharing these moments of discovery with me and thanks for your kind comments they are helpful to encourage this vintage girl. Oh, if you have any thoughts on piping, please pipe up. Sorry a bit corny, couldn't resist!

Still at the ironing board with this one, but piping is coming out pretty even.
This is the unfinished collar, soon to be part of a shirt.


  1. That looks great - really professional. I learned piping on cushions, and first mine was wobbly too. I use a zip foot, but still have to concentrate especially on corners. It looks so nice though, it's always worth the trouble.

  2. I really love your choice of fabric. Also the patterns you have look fantastic!

  3. Your fabric looks lovely, I can't wait to see the finished product! This was also a good read for me, I bought a dress pattern a while ago that called for piping and it is purposely at the bottom of my stack because I know I'm not ready to tackle it. This is good motivation to learn how to do piping.

  4. Thanks so much, I am liking piping, it is worth the trouble. I used the zip foot on the sleeves, be posting soon.