Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Make and Use Piping

With a cording foot or an adjustable zipper foot you can make piping for your sewing projects. Another foot that can be used to make cording is the welting foot. There are pros and cons. A welting foot holds the cording securely in grooves underneath the foot, yet it also limits you to only one size of cording. The welting foot does come in multiple sizes, however, if you plan to begin making your own piping and of various sizes the zipper foot works great.

Additional detailed instructions and clear photos are in my book, The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook, pages 88 - 89. Additional details are given for the welting foot and to make tubular cording.

Ready - Begin!
Gather your materials - Zipper/cording foot, cording, and fabric. I have my fabric I will be covering with cord and the fabric I want the cording sewn into. Cording is sold in various widths so choose according to your finished project.
  1. Cut a strip of fabric 1 1/4 inch plus at least 3 times the width of the cord. I "eyeball" my measurements. Lay your cording on the fabric and give yourself at least an inch on both sides. Fold it over before cutting to just make sure of your measurement. If you are going around curves, cut your fabric on the bias, if not then it can be straight of grain. The fabric length is determined by the length of piping you wish (piping is what the final result is called).
  2. Wrap the fabric around the cording. Having the cording extend at least an inch beyond the top edge will prevent it from sliding out.
  3. Adjust your zipper/cording foot so stitches fall on the right side of the cord and close to the outside edge (just shy of 1/8 inch). Your stitches should be close enough to the cording, but not sewing through it. Since you will be sewing the cording into two other pieces of fabric, you want the stitches far enough away so they don't show in your final seam.
  4. Begin sewing down the length of your cording/fabric layers. Be sure to back tack at the beginning and ending.
Your piping is finished! Now to insert the piping into a seam.
  1. Place one fabric right side up, then place the piping, then the second fabric piece, right side down. Keep raw edges together.
  2. Adjust your zipper foot closer to the piping. If your machine has a needle position feature, you can easily use that to move the needle and foot closer. You want to sew against the piping, but not through it.
  3. Begin sewing. If you have excess seam allowance, cut it off.
  4. Finished!

After you practice several times, you will certainly be ready to insert piping in every sewing project. Use smaller piping (with mini cording) along the edge of collars, down the front of a blouse.

Happy Sewing!

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