Adding piping to a project can really set off what you are making. It’s great for defining the edges on cushions and bags and can add a nice touch when dressmaking.
You can of course using pre-made bias binding, but it’s so much nicer to make your own to either completely blend in, or even better to totally contrast the what you are making.
You may also want to use a really fine or really chunky piping cord and the difference in circumference will have an impact on how much of the pre-bought bias binding is left for the seam allowance. It can be too much when using thin piping cord and not enough when using jumbo cord, either way it can be a bit of a pain when figuring out where to place the piping on your project.
So the best option is to make your own piping. I have written this step-by-step tutorial so that you can make your own!
You will need the following to make your own piping:
– chosen width of piping cord (pre-washed or steamed to pre-shrink)
– approx 1FQ of your chosen fabric
– a marking tool
– a measuring tool
– zipper foot
Step 1 – Measure Piping Cord
Take a strip of your chosen fabric and wrap it around the piping cord. Secure with a pin as close to the cord as ‘comfortable’, don’t wrap it too tightly.
Step 2 – Mark the Seam Allowance
Take your measuring tool and mark the strip with your desired seam allowance. In this instance I am using a 5/8″ seam allowance as this piping was being used on a cushion where I was inserting a lapped zip and I like to use a larger than ‘standard’ seam allowance. You may only want to use a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 3 – Trim to Size
Snip off the excess fabric along the line.
Step 4 – Measure the Fabric Strip
Remove the pin and lay the fabric strip flat and measure. This will give you the width you need for cutting your fabric strips.
Step 5 – Cut the Bias Strips
Work out how much piping you will need and cut out enough strips on the bias to make up this length, plus approximately 10″. This will allow you plenty extra for joining the strips. Cutting strips on the bias makes it possible to get the piping around curves and corners without getting all bulky.
Step 6 – Join the Bias Strips
Overlap two strips with right sides together, leaving 1/4″ extending on each short edge. Mark a 45 degree line between the points where the strips meet. Sew and trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. Press seam open.
Step 7 – Wrap the bias strips around the piping cord so that the raw edges meet and secure with pins.
Step 8 – Put your zipper foot on your sewing machine and baste in place along the length of the piping as close to the cord as possible, without pulling the fabric too tight. Don’t pull or stretch the piping cord as you sew as it will only spring back and twist once you are done basting.
So there you have it, beautiful, self-made piping, perfect for using on all sorts of projects. I’ve used the jumbo piping in this tutorial on the cushion below.
Piping also looks great on clothing. I used it on this fox dress that I designed for Crafty magazine a few years back.
Piping is also great for defining shapes on bags like on my Oval Wash Bag (you can get a copy of the pdf pattern here)
So, give it a go, make some piping and transform your next project. Let me know how you get on…