Wednesday 6 February 2013

How to Add Piping to a Dress...

Piping is a great way to add contrast and a pop of colour between two fabrics. The piping can contain cord or not. Today I'll show you the super easy option: how to add piping, without a cord. It's so easy, I can hardly call this a tutorial, but if you are new to sewing, it may be a technique you are unfamiliar with and one you can master without difficulty.

Width to cut the piping fabric =
double the finished width of the piping + double the seam allowance.

In this instance, there is no need to cut the piping on the bias, as it will not be sewn into curves. I've cut my piping 1" (2.5cm) wide and am sewing 1/4" seams.

  • Fold the piping in half.
  • Place on the right side of one of the skirt pieces, raw edges together.
  • Baste together using a 1/8" seam.
  • Place the 2nd piece of fabric on top, right sides together, sandwiching the piping in between the two fabrics.
  • Sew with a 1/4" seam.
  • Neaten seam edges.
You can, of course, vary the seam widths and the piping widths. 

  • Press the seam towards the top of the skirt. (I just finger press.)
  • Set machine stitch slightly longer than normal. I use a stitch length of 2.8.
  • On the right side of the skirt, sew a row of topstitching about 1/8" from the seam. This will hold the seam in place and gives a nice finish.
That's all there is to it!!! Now proceed to sew the rest of your dress, as you normally would, making sure you line up the piping on the front and back of the garment.

When I was given the daisy print by a friend, I knew straight away that I wanted to use it in a dress, but as it was only a small piece, I knew I'd have to team it with other fabrics, even though I was making a size 2. Initially, I thought I'd just use red as a contrasting fabric, but after cutting the bodice and piping, I only had a few scraps left, so I used a black for the band instead. To break up the black, I've used an embroidery stitch to sew the hem.

Last time I made the Good Deeds Dress by Elysium, I said I'd show you how to make a lined bodice. I'll just have to make another, because I've used bias binding on this one, which is dress number 4, towards my goal, sewing for Dress A Girl Around the World this year.

I'll be adding this dress to the Elysium Sewing Patterns Flickr group and to the Ongoing Dresses for Girls link party, here at Threading My Way. As of today, there are 240+ fabulous dresses in the collection. I'd love you to add any dresses you have made.

... Pam


  1. I've been wanting to try this detail for a while now. Thanks for showing me how!

  2. Wow that is so easy and yet I'd have never thought to do it.. love the embroidery stitch detail as well, such a gorgeous dress!

    1. Thanks, Kate! It makes a big difference for very little work.

  3. Beautiful dress! Good choice on using black fabric for the band and adding the red accents! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  4. I love the dress! The fabric combinations are great. Looks so professional!

  5. Gorgeous dress Pam, the piping and embroidery really set it off.

  6. Gorgeous dress, all the little details are so effective!


  7. I confess I've always been afraid to work with piping but you make it sound easy, I may have to get over my fear! Love the embroidery detail on the sweet.

  8. That is a chic black-and red dress! I love the embroidery stitches on the hem.
    Thank you for the great tutorial!

  9. The fancy stitch on the hem in red ties in perfectly with the rest of the dress. Super cute!

  10. Oh, this is lovely! I love the black band at the bottom and all the detail you added! And I have never even considered piping without the cord! Fabulous idea! xoxo

  11. Thanks for the tutorial, Pam! I recently did my first piping on a pillow and found it to be easy, which for some reason I thought it would be hard. I'm going to see if I can conquer it on a dress now too!

  12. I had never thought of adding without the piping, so much easier and looks fab! Thanks for sharing, x

  13. I've never thought of doing this without the cording. That looks so nice. I'm going to have to add this to some of my bags, too. I love the contrast.

  14. thanks for the tutorial! My brother's wife just had a little girl yesterday. Since I don't make a lot of girl clothes I think I'll be using your blog a lot as a resource to help me out!

  15. This is a beautiful dress! I like the colors. Thanks for the good explanation you give us on how to make the cordless piping. All the details you have added to this dress are beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration! ... and the tutorial.
    Have a nice day.
    Marisa from

  16. Thanks for the tutorial! Really darling dress too! Love it!

  17. Hi Pam, thanks for the tutorial and for sharing at my A New Creation link party! Still planning on giving this a try!

  18. I love this dress! Cute fabric and cute style!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

  19. This is so cute! I've been wanting to dabble in kids clothes but I'm still a rookie seamstress. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm really glad the link party led me to you!


  20. Piping is one of my favorites even though I rarely remember to use it. Thanks for the reminder and for linking up!

  21. Great little tutorial Pam - and another beautiful dress!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  22. oh my! I have never thought that piping can be without a cord! This is so easy I am going to give it a go with this dress I am making :) Thank you Pam :)

  23. Wow, the dress is really amazing .like it

  24. You did a great job giving "pop" to that cute dress. It makes me miss the times I sewed for myself and my girls. It's so fun dressing our girls in cute baby girl outfits.

    1. Thanks so much! I love sewing little girl outfits...


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