How to Sew Your Own Piping

December 18, 2013 in Tips & Tricks

Of course there is pre-made piping, but, when you can’t find what you want…make your own with this little tutorial!

*This tutorial is to create piping from woven fabric.*

Supplies:

  • Sewing machine
  • Piping cord: I used 8/32″ (see step 4 for a picture)
  • 3/4 to 1 yard of fabric, depending on how much you need
  • Matching all-purpose thread.

We need to cut bias from fabric to create our piping…and the reason is when you cut fabric on the bias, there is more give/stretch in the fabric when you turn curves. This is necessary for the piping to lay right as it is sewn to a pillow, dress, etc.

So, here’s the information on bias. When you have a piece of fabric, you have the LENGTHWISE grain and the CROSSWISE grain. The LENGTHWISE grain is parallel to the selvage (the manufactured finished edge…often times it is a white strip and there may be printed words on it…it is white in the picture below). This leaves the CROSSWISE grain to be perpendicular to the LENGTHWISE grain. LENGTHWISE is stronger than CROSSWISE…you can tell if you were to gently try to stretch the LENGTHWISE vs. the CROSSWISE (there is a little bit more give in the CROSSWISE). And, finally, the BIAS is any diagonal cut of your fabric (diagonal from the LENGTHWISE). A cut that is at a 45 degree angle from the LENGTHWISE grain or your selvage has the most degree of stretch on a woven fabric.

Directions:

1. Take a look at the next 3 pictures below, the ruler I am using has degree markings on it to assist us! So, I have lined my ruler up with the selvage (as best I can…sometimes the selvage is a little off).

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

 

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

 

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

 

2. Once your ruler is lined up, using a rotary cutter for the best cut (or draw a line and cut with scissors), cut your first line. When you reach the end of your ruler, carefully move your ruler (making sure not to move your fabric). Use about 5 inches of the cut to line your ruler up and continue cutting the rest of the strip. For 8/32″ cording, your strips need to be cut 1 3/4″ to ensure that you have a half inch seam allowance after sewing and enough to wrap around your cording.

If you are using a larger cording (or smaller), you’ll need to adjust the width of your strips. To find the width of the strip you’ll need to cut, start with an inch and add the diameter of the cording. To ensure that your strips will be wide enough, take a small cut of the strip and a small piece of cording, then wrap the fabric around the cording to make sure you’ll have a 1/2″ seam allowance. Once tested, cut all of your strips to this width.

See below, I just line my ruler up with my cut edge, measuring over 1 3/4″ and cut my first strip.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

 

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

 

A little tip: measure the circumference or perimeter of what you will be sewing your piping to. You’ll need at least that length out of your strips and that will determine how many strips you need to cut. Hopefully, that makes sense (the next step may help)! Let me know, kindly, in the comments if something doesn’t!

3. Sew your strips together if needed.

I needed 2 strips because the total perimeter of the pillow I want to use my piping for is 68″. Since I am using bias strips, I will need to sew them together in a way that they will hold their shape, still allow for movement, and create less bulk. (There are tutorials on how to line up your diagonals, but this way is easier…I think).

Here’s how I do it:

You’ll line your strips up at the ends, pretty sides together and perpendicular to each other.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

Then, draw a line (as shown below) where the fabrics intersect at the corners. If you are a visual person, place a pin on your line and fold the fabric back to make sure that you’ve drawn your line in the right direction so that your strip continues on straight when folded up.

Pin and sew along the line.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

Cut the seam allowance down to about 1/4″ to 3/8″.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

Press the seam open.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

4. Now, cut your piping cord a little bit longer than what you need. Since my pillow is 68″, I will cut the piping cord to 70″ to be safe.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

 

5. Pin your piping fabric around your piping cord.

You may have to pin more with bias as it tends to move on you more because of it’s stretchy nature.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

6. Now,  grab your pearl and piping foot if you have one. I like to use this particular foot when I can because it works well with this size or smaller piping cord. If you are using a larger cording or don’t have the piping foot, the zipper foot in the next step works just fine!

7. With the needle in the left position, you’ll want to baste (5.0mm stitch length) stitch as closely to your piping cord as possible, along the entire length. Picture below is using The Pearl and Piping Foot.

 

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

And, here is if you were to use the zipper foot (the Narrow Zipper Foot works even better)! The needle still in the left position, zipper foot pushed us as close to the piping cording as possible.

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

Your piping is now complete! Be on the lookout for a tutorial how to sew this awesome self-made piping on something! Here’s a sneak peek:

Totally Stitchin': Make Your Own Piping

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