Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sewing Tutorial: How to Make Your Own Piping

***Hey, are you here from Pinterest?  Hello!  :)  I'm so glad you found your way to my blog. I hope you look around!  I write about all sorts of things, but mostly focus on sewing & needlework.   I have recently changed the name & url of my blog - it used to be Pleased as Punch; now it's Gilbert Street Stitches.  If you'd like to start receiving posts from here in your reader or email, go ahead and subscribe!  The buttons are to the right.  :)  Why don't you drop me a note to say hi; I always love to meet new readers!***

Now, on to the reason you are here in the first place...


Today I'm going to share a very helpful sewing tip, how to make your own piping.  Piping is so useful!  You can use it for a lot of things (bags, cushions, pillows, curtains, etc) and it really gives your sewn items a polished look. I really hope to de-mystify some of this sewing stuff as time goes on.  It's not such a scary thing.  ;)  The worst that can happen is you'll make something that isn't presentable to the rest of the world.  Heck, that still happens to me from time to time!


1. First, figure out how much you'll need.  Add a few inches just to be safe. 

2. Next, get some bias tape, or make your own.  There are many wonderful tutorials out there on making your own bias tape.  Angry Chicken (Amy Karol) has an awesome YouTube it.  And in the case of piping, you don't even need to mess with the folding and ironing of the bias tape...just cut 2" diagonal strips and sew them together.  Easy peasy. 

3. Get some cord to go IN your piping.  You can get this pretty inexpensively at a place like Jo-Ann's, especially with a coupon...or you can do what I like to do, and use a clothesline!  Saves me a trip to the store, and it's very cost-effective.  (I've come up with a lot of euphemisms for "cheap" over the years!) 

4. Cut your cording to the size you'll need, plus a few inches.  Line it up with your bias strip, and fold the fabric over the cord, like so...

5. Put the zipper foot on your sewing machine.  Most machines come with one.  If you're extra fancy, you can put a piping foot on!  Then again, if you have a piping foot, then you most likely don't really need this tutorial. :)  See your machine's owners manual for help using the zipper foot if you need to.  I still refer to mine from time to time; no shame in that! 

6. I like to "tack" the fabric in place before I sew the piping.  Just sew forward & backward over top of the cord.   Like this:

7. Now, just sew right next to that cord, sandwiching it between the fabric.  I don't bother using pins.  I just pinch the fabric together as I'm sewing it.  So much easier!  Go slowly if you need to.  Once you get the hang of it, it goes really quickly.

pinching the fabric to hold it in place over the cord.  I really wish I had cute fingernails. 

Here's what you'll see coming out the back of your machine.  Suh-weeeeet!!!

Edges a little uneven?  Not a big deal. 

See?  It's not perfect.  It doesn't have to be.  What matters is what is above that stitched line. 
At the end of the cording, I like to tack it in place again, just for funsies.  Like I did at the beginning.

And there you have it: Piping!  Trust me, unless you want to learn all about drug paraphernalia, don't Google "how to make piping."  Just follow these instructions!  :)  And please, for the love of Pete, email me with any questions.  I'm happy to help if I can!

Linking to:
Skip to My Lou
The Girl Creative
Making the World Cuter
My Junk Drawer
Not JUST a Housewife
Home Stories A to Z
Today's Creative Blog
It's a Blog Party


  1. OH so helpful! Thanks for sharing friend.
    AND You are just too sweet.... i'll try and keep em coming ;) AND thanks for the advice! I have some of those adhesive plate hangers to take back with me when I go, so plates are a fantastic idea.
    You're awesome :)

  2. This is so helpful! Especially now that I need all the help I can get with sewing! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Great tip! I just found your blog and am bookmarking it RIGHT NOW! Love, love, love the way your write and the tips you offer. Thanks so much!

  4. Awesome tutorial! You have such a great writing style! Love your sense of humor!

  5. Your blog is heaven-sent... for sewing projects I'm starting after 20 years of not sewing (yikes!) and for blog design I'm just learning! Love the name of your blog and the fresh design. Thanks Rachel, for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. Really appreciate it. Any good tips on making slipcovers? Have a great day!

  6. That is awesome! I can't wait to try it. Making my own piping sounded very intimidating. It doesn't look that bad after all. Thank you!

  7. A little tip...when you're at step 7, sandwiching the cord into the fabric, don't butt your needle right up to the cord. Stay about 1/8" away from the cord. Then, when you insert the piping into whatever you're using it on, you can sew right up against the cord. Two benefits to that are 1 - there's no chance of seeing that first line of stitching on the finished product and 2 - you don't want to run the needle over the fabric in exactly the same place twice. Over time it could cause the fabric to fray and weaken and the piping to come apart. =======happy stitching======== :-)

  8. It's always lovely to have a refresher on some sewing skills. And a humerous one at that. Thank you!

  9. Loved your tutorial! You are very funny. I make pillows out of vintage linens and have avoided the piping because of the expense. Thanks for the tips,specially the one on googleing "making pipping" LOL