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How to do Piping

How to Make and Attach Corded Piping

 

Piping is often used and is among the easy trims to make. Piping is sometimes used as a contrast trim at seams and edges. It can be thick, thin, large, small, corded or flat. A contrasting piping is particularly attractive on plaids and stripes. Self fabric piping is used to match precisely the fabric color, texture, and fiber content.

 

In these instructions, the finished piping is 3/16 inch wide and the seam allowance is 5/8 inch wide. To make a corded piping of another width, cut bias strips that are three (3) times the planed finished width plus two (2) times the desired seam allowance.

 

Cutting The Bias Strips

Tue bias is a line located at 45-degrees to the selvage. The strips for the corded piping are cut at the true bias. When the strips to do piping are cut on the true bias they have greater flexibility and the strips are easier to shape than if cut on the grain or across the grain.

 

To determine the length of bias strips needed, pin seam binding to the pattern or garment pieces. Then measure the amount of seam binding adding approximately three (3) inches to the measured length to allow for finishing ends, curves, and corners on the seamlines.

 

With the right side of the fabric up, spread and smooth the fabric so that the cross grain is perpendicular to the selvage. The selvage is parallel to the lengthwise grain. Use the wheel chalk to draw a line along the lengthwise grain and a gridded see-through ruler not closer than ½ inch to the selvage. Folding an envelope with the shorter side folded perfectly on the long side, or a piece of  rectangular cardboard with the short side folded perfectly over the long side results in a 45-degree template that may be used to draw 45-degrees line on the fabric to determine the true bias. Using a 45-degrees template, draw another line at 45-degrees line to determine the true bias. To confirm that the true bias is correct, fold the fabric on the 45-degree line and grasp the fabric from the ends of the fold and pull it slightly. The true bias is achieved when the fabric does not twist along the true bias line.

 

After the true bias line has been determined, extend it, as needed, using a see-through ruler and a chalk wheel. Use the see-true ruler to measure a line parallel to the original true bias line 2 ¼ inches wide or the desired width and chalk mark this new line. Mark as many lines as needed and square off the ends of the strips. Use the chalk wheel to draw a mark along the grain of the fabric on the ends of each bias strip. These marks are useful when joining the strips. Cut the strips on the marked true bias lines.

 

If the fabric has not been preshrink, preshrink the bias strips as follows. After cutting the 2 ¼ inches wide bias strips a length equal to the length of the seams planned to be piped, fill a container with very hot water and submerge the bias strips, agitating them up and down several times to be sure all of the strips are wet. Let the strips sit in the water about 20 minutes, then remove the strips and set them aside to air dry. The preshrinking of the bias strips and the preshrinking of the cording may be done at the same time.

 

Joining the Bias Strips

With the right sides together, align the short end of one strip with the long edge of another, matching the marked grain-lines. Set the sewing machine for a stitch length of 20 stitches per inch and stitch on the lengthwise grain, beginning at the lower right and stitch to the upper left. Press the seams open and trim the seam allowances on the joining seam.

 

The Cording

For the cording, the use postal twine is recommended because this twine is soft. To preshrink the cording, fill a container with very hot water and submerge the bias strips, agitating them up and down several times to be sure all of the strips are wet. Let the strips sit in the water about 20 minutes, then remove the strips and set them aside to air dry.

 

The Piping

With the bias strips wrong side up, place the cord in the middle and wrap the bias strip around the cord. Place a zipper foot on the sewing machine. Set the sewing machine for a stitch length of 12 stitches per inch and stitch close to the cording. Measure and mark the 5/8 inch seam allowance on the assembled bias strip and cording. Trim the piping on the marked line. Using the unthreaded serger, to trim the bias strip on the marked line is recommended.

 

Attaching The Piping

Use the chalk wheel to mark the seamline on the right side of the garment section where the piping is to be attached. With the garment section right side up, place the piping on top of the garment. Align the stitched line on the piping with the seamline on top of the garment and pin the raw edges together making sure that the piping is not too tight or too loose. Place the zipper foot and set the sewing machine for a stitch length of 12 stitches per inch stitch. Stitch on top of the stitched line on the piping. Make sure that the garment section has not been puckered. Press the stitched line. With the right sides together, place the remaining garment section over the piping. Align the edges of the piping and the garment section aligning all the pattern markings such as notches at the same time, pin, and hand baste as needed. Turn the section over and stitch permanently on the seamline. Rubbing the seamline with pure soap or chalk may make it easier to see. Press the seamline.

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