Sunday, November 11, 2012

How To Make Piping

I decided it was time for a tutorial. I'm one of the pattern testers for Ellie Inspired. A few girls in the group have never made piping. That got me thinking about how many other ladies might want to learn how. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but this is how I make piping and hopefully I can explain it well enough that any who want to learn can do so. I don't like putting the regular maxi-piping you find in the Wright's brand tapes into kids clothing. It's just too big.
There is also continuous bias, but I can never get the hang of understanding it.
So anyway, here we go with making mini-piping:
Step 1:
I always use a self-healing mat, rotary cutter and ruler. I've squared up my fabric and I do have two layers her on the mat. My ruler has a 45* line and I've lined that up with the straight line on the mat. Since I'm left-handed, I will cut on the top of the ruler. If you are right-handed, you can move the ruler so it is headed in the opposite direction.
(If you've never used a rotary cutter, it's VERY sharp. Please practice on some scrap fabric first. We don't want to have anyone going to the emergency room to get stitches. I don't even want to think about that; it makes me cringe. So please be extra careful and always have the blade in the protected position when on cutting.)
Step 2:
I moved the remainder of my fabric aside. Turn your fabric so the it looks like a side facing triangle. This edge is the "true" bias. If it's not on the true 45* line, it can wavy bumps in it when you go to fold over. I have the ruler lined up to cut 1 1/2 inch strips. You can thinner strips, but I'd rather cut slightly fatter strips and cut my piping afterwards.
A note about my ruler: I like using the Olfa brand as it has yellow lines that are easier for me to see both light and dark fabrics. It is also 6 inches wide and allows me to put my non-cutting hand flat on the ruler so it doesn't slip. There is also non-skid rulers, dots you an adhere to the bottom of your own rulers or film you can put to the bottom of the ruler. All these items will help the ruler to stay put.
Here are actually 6 strips waiting to be sewn together.
I cut two layers of fabric, right-sides facing out.
Step 4:
You'll see that the bottom strip is facing up and the top strip is facing down.
I've lined up the diagonal sides together.
Here's a pic with the diagonal line going the opposite direction. I will usually do 1/4 inch seams.
You can make them bigger if you want and trim them down afterward.
I wanted to show what happens when the diagonal lines don't line up.
It's okay, cuz you can just trim it off after you've stitched the seam.
Step 5:
Next is pressing the seams.
This is the cording I use to put inside my piping. This is less expensive than the poly cording and since the cording will be "floating" inside the bias; I don't care if it shrinks a little bit.
Just make sure it says "worsted weight" on the skein of cotton.
If you have a piping foot to your machine use that, but since I don't; I use a foot that has a little groove on the bottom. It makes sewing it easier to snug your needle up to the cording when it's inside the bias.
I have a button on the top of my machine I can lessen the tension the presser foot applies to my piping. I have mine set to 3/4.
Step 6:
Fold the bias in half and put the cording inside. You will notice it is now about 5/8" wide.
I will trim it down to approx. 1/2" wide before I sew it into a project.
After you are done, you will see there are these little tags, trim those off, they are just a nuisance.
Step 7:
The next thing I do before I stitch the piping in is pull out about 5/8" of cording, cut it off and then tug on the opposite side and the remaining cord will slide back into the bias. I always cut off at the beginning and end so I can avoid a big lump at those two ends when I sew the collar onto the neck.
And last of all, make sure you clip your piping about every 1/2 inch or so before you stitch to curves. It will go much easier. Just be careful to not clip too close to the cording as you will end up cutting the stitching line.
I hope this was easy to understand for you and that you will try making your own piping.
Soon I'll be able to show you the dress this is going on. It's another of Ellie Inspired patterns. She is releasing a new one each day on her sight. The first two are so darn cute you should check it out.
Happy smocking!


Ellie Inspired said...

GREAT tutorial Jan!! I do it this way too but I never thought about lessening the pressure of the presser foot. I wonder if my machine does that??? This is a very helpful post! Thanks for all the pictures!

Susan Petersen said...

Wonderful tutorial, Jan. Very similar to what I do. Although, I use cooking twine! Very inexpensive. I don't have the foot you have, so I use my zipper foot. I adjust it so it gets right up next to the cording. Good job!

Lee said...

I just saw your Christmas dress over on Ellie Inspired, and I just LOVE it! And (especially compared to the other dress featured) your construction and smocking are impeccable!! It looks so warm and cozy, too! I just love everything about that dress!! :)