Want to add some flair to a plain garment without having to dramatically alter your pattern? An easy and vibrant option would be to add some piping! If you want to be bold and do a contrasting print or neon color, go for it! You can buy piping already made at MoodFabrics.com or find a cotton print to make your own!
Purchase Materials Used Below:
- 1-2 yards Chesterton Black Calendered Organic Cotton Oxford
- 3 yards Italian White and Pink Checkered Bias Piping Cord with Lip – 0.375″
- 8 Italian Black Plastic 4-Hole Button – 14L/9mm
- MDF021 – The Ginkgo Shirt Sewing Pattern (free download below!)
All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 22.
What is Piping?
Piping is a trim that is a thin strip of fabric folded in half. In between the fold, there is a cord to give it extra definition. Piping is often used in bags, pillows, or to bring attention to style lines on garments.
What is Cording?
Cording is the same thing as piping, but it’s usually used in upholstery. The cording itself is also thicker and stiffer vs. traditional piping.
Do I Have the Right Presser Foot?
There are many presser feet you can use, but I strongly suggest using an invisible zipper foot so you can get right up to the edge of the cording. An alternative foot to the zipper foot is an actual piping foot for your machine. There are multiple sizes, so be sure that the foot matches the cording size. If you have neither of those on hand, your normal presser foot and just sew slowly.
Should I Baste?
Basting is your best friend, especially when it comes to bodices in garments. You can pin and not baste, but your piping can easily slip out and look wonky.
How Do I Sew Piping Along a Curve?
Measure your piping to the curved seam or pocket. Before placing your piping to the right side of your fabric, make slashes on the seam allowance of the piping. Make sure you don’t cut the actual piping.
How to Sew a Sharp Corner?
Use your zipper foot for this one. Start with sewing your piping how you normally would sew it. As you are approaching the corner, stop and cut a little slit for the corner. Now keep sewing along to the corner, when you get there drop your needle and turn your fabric to create a clean corner. After the corner is sewn, trim it down to reduce bulk.
Where Should Piping be Placed?
Piping can be placed anywhere, but mainly its purpose is to bring attention to the style lines of the garment.
How to Place the Piping Before Sewing?
On the right side of your fabric place your piping on the ½in seam line. Some patterns will have a different seam allowance.
Do You Need to Join Piping?
You don’t always need to join piping, but it’s a simple way for a clean finish. Start with sewing your piping around your entire project. When you get to the end of the project, leave an extra amount of about 1″ – 1 ½”. Next, seam rip the end of your piping and trim the cord. Now, fold under ½” or ¾”. Once that is complete join it with the other end and sew them together.
How to Make Your Own Piping
- Cut bias strips and sew them together to create your yardage
- Place cording in the middle of your bias strip
- Fold over fabric, pin, and sew
Don’t have the right color piping, but still have piping from a previous project? Well, there is a solution for that. Measure the width of the piping you want to cover; cut on the bias of the fabric you want to use for your next project. Fold the new fabric over the old piping. Voila! You have new piping!
If you run out of main fabric for the piping use scrap fabric.
Instead of basting, you can use wonder tape to hold your piping in place.