Friday, August 31, 2012

sewing basics series:: piping

Piping can give a great completed look to pillows, headboards, bumper pads, etc.  But finding the perfect fabric in pre-made piping is often impossible.  That doesn't mean you can't get the piping that you want.  Here is a tutorial on how to create your own piping:
There are a few tricks for creating the perfect piping.  I used the following technique on Cash's bedding in the boys room.    
  • Cording (whatever length you need).  This can be purchased at Joanns or any sewing store.  There are many different sizes of cording depending on the look you want.
  • Fabric to cover the cording.  A little goes a long way, so that is pretty nice.  It took me only about 1 yard of fabric to cover 4 yards of cording.  
 The trick to getting clean looking piping is how you piece the strips of fabric together.  When you pull your fabric straight across, you won't get much stretch.  But when you pull it on the bias (diagonal), you get a nice stretch.  You will need to utilize this stretch especially when sewing piping around corners.  If you were to cut straight across, you wouldn't get any stretch in the fabric, and that will cause puckering in the fabric especially when stitched around curves.

note: 1 1/2" strips covered my cording (mine wasn't very thick).  Test out how wide your strips of fabric need to be by wrapping the fabric around your cord and allow for 1/2" seam allowance.

note: when making this stitch, I would suggest not sewing the stitch too close to the cording.  Stitch about 1/8" away from the cording.  Then, when you sandwich the piping in between your fabrics, use the zipper foot again and stitch as closely as possible to the cording.  This way you wont have to worry about your first row of stitching being visible.


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  1. I've covered my own piping many times but never thought about sewing it a little less close so that the original stitching would not show. What a great (and now obvious) tip. Thank you! I do have another bumper to create soon. ;)

  2. Thanks for sharing. I never thought of making my own, but it doesn't look too hard!

  3. Do a tutorial on how to make bumpers! :)

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this! Super helpful!

  5. Thanks, nice tutorial....follow up question. I have been trying to make piping for some comforter covers. I have a very stiff and somewhat thick piping. I can't sew close enough to the piping to secure it. It keeps 'floating' in the fabric (cut properly on the bias). The floating is causing twisting and it's not too easy to work with. Any thoughts? Maybe wash the piping to soften? I'm stuck in the mudd. thanks.

  6. Thank you for this 'tut'. I have been wanting to do piping but it's been freaking me out :) You made it look easy!!

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