I love piping.  It adds a great embellishment to an otherwise blah seam.  The Callie Marie Nursery on my Projects page looks like it has piping of some type on the top of the bumpers so I was excited to tackle it.

What is piping?  Piping is simply fabric wrapped around cord to cover it.  That’s it.  Cut a strip of fabric wide enough to go around it while still leaving extra for seam allowance, enclose the cord by sewing it very close to the edge of the cord on the outside of the fabric, and then sew the seam allowance to the seam where you want the piping to go.  How easy is that?  Seriously.  You’ll be piping everything when you see how easy this is.  (Apologize for the grainy photos – my ISO was up too high and I didn’t have my glasses on to see the screen but you get the idea).

I use a piping tool that I picked up at quilting store liquidation sale.  Don’t you love those sales?  All except the part about the store closing, but the deals are great!  I’d never attempted piping before this tool purchase and I swear I’ve never had a bad experience with it.   

The tool’s main purpose is to provide a steady seam allowance to the inner edge of the cording once it has been covered.  All it is, is a simple piece of plexiglass with a groove going down each side – one groove is 1/4” away from the edge of the tool, and the other is 1/2” away from the edge.  Once I used it I realized I really didn’t need one, because the simplicity of it can be replicated very easily.  But now that I have it, I love putting it to use.

This shows the depth of the grooves from the underside of the tool – kinda like a business card holder.

This is in use.  I put it over a piece of the piping I had created on a dark background so you could see it.  The cord is nestled up inside the groove.

To make the fabric cover for the piping, I cut 2 inch strips of fabric and sewed them together just like for a quilt binding.  Stitch the ends, right sides together (RST), and sew the diagonal line between the “V” that is formed at the top and bottom of where the two pieces of fabric meet (in blue on the image).  I cheat and used a Sharpie to actually draw a straight line all the way to the edge of the sewing machine surface so I could keep the lower V straight as I sew.   At first I felt bad like I was putting graffiti on my machine, but I use it so much that when I got my next machine, it was one of the first things I did to it.

Enclose the cord inside of the strip of fabric.  The old-school zipper foot is best for this.  The zipper foot that came with my machine will not work at all.

Now just line up the edges of all three:  the bottom and top fabrics RST and the piping with the cord part AWAY from the edge.  Stitch as close as possible to the cord.

TA-DAAAAA!!  I’m a Piping Hero!