Tool for making your own piping
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Tutorial :: How to Make Your Own Piping

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.

Make Your Own Piping Tutorial

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!

Tools Required

Tool for making your own piping

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
– scissors
– a marking tool
– pins
– 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.

Wrap strip and pin

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.

Mark the Seam Allowance

Step 3 – Trim to Size

Snip off the excess fabric along the line.

Trim Strip

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.

Measure the Fabric Strip

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.

Make Bias Strips

Step 7 – Wrap the bias strips around the piping cord so that the raw edges meet and secure with pins.

Wrap bias around piping cord

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.

Baste bias around cord

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.

Cushion with jumbo piping

Piping also looks great on clothing. I used it on this fox dress that I designed for Crafty magazine a few years back.

Fox Pocket on Orange Dress

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)

Oval Wash Bag Piping Detail

So, give it a go, make some piping and transform your next project. Let me know how you get on…


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