Monday 15 August 2011

Piping: How I do it...

Piping can make a big difference to the look of a finished sewing project.  I don't particularly enjoy sewing piping, but nor do I find it difficult. It's cheaper than buying store bought piping and I can choose exactly the colour I want to match or co-ordinate with what I'm sewing. Here's how I do it....

Step 1:

Cut a strip of material to encase the piping cord. Here I've used a size 3 cord and have cut the material 3 cm in width. 

Step 2:

Fold the casing in half. Mine's not exact as you can see, but this will be hidden in the seam. How you finish the end of the cord depends on the project you are doing. For this project, if I take the piping cord to the end of the casing, it will end up being too bulky, so I've started about 2.5cm from the end of the casing. To make sure the piping cord doesn't move, sew through the cord and casing.

Step 3:

I tack the casing (large stitches by hand) close to the cord. This is only roughly done. It's just to hold the cord in place and will be removed later.

Step 4:

 Pin the piping to the right side of one piece of material. Pinning the piping cord to one piece of material first allows me to place the piping so it aligns exactly to the edge of the seam. ie; The edge of the piping casing is in line with the edge of the seam. Replace the pins with a hand sewn tacking stitch.

Step 5:
With right sides facing, pin both pieces of material together. Carefully line up the edges of the material. Pin, tack by hand (large stitches) and remove the pins. The piping is sandwiched between the material.

Sometime I combine Steps 4 and 5:
- With right sides facing, pin the material about 3 or 4cms from the edge. This is basically just lining it up and making sure the material doesn't move as the piping is put in. Insert the piping between the two layers of material, pin, tack by hand (large stitches) and remove all pins.

Step 6:
I don't have a piping foot, so I use a zipper foot. It's easy with a zipper foot, but I believe it's even easier with a piping foot, so I'm going to invest in one. Attach the zipper or piping foot now. Stitch close to the piping cord. Remove the tacking. Finish your seam as you normally would and you're done.

Here's the finished seam complete with piping...

Ready to attach lining...
This is going to be a little drawstring bag for a child. I've used a blue material to pick up the blue colours in the main material. The piping is the same colour as the lining and handles on the bag.

The lining, handles and drawstring casing are done. It's just waiting on the drawstring to finish it. I'm going to use a blue as close to the piping colour as I can find.  I'll post a picture of the finished bag once it's finished.

Edited: You can see the finished bag here...


  1. I make my own piping too and love your clear a new follower. Thanks for YOUR comment about my table....from another fabricaholic!

  2. I LOVE piping!!!! Love it! One of my favorite trims by far! And making it is almost as fun as using it!

  3. Hi Pam,
    Thanks for the tutorial. I gave a link to it in my blog if you don't mind :)

  4. Love this little bag. I've never done piping. Thank you for teaching me. Nice for you to have these tutorials. You have gained a new follower.

  5. Awesome post. I've been making sofa pillows and wanted to add piping but was hesitant. No reason to hesitate anymore. Thanks!


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