How To: Corded Piping

Corded Piping Cushion

 

PIPING GIVES A FINISHING TOUCH TO CUSHIONS, SOFA COVERS AND GARMENTS, ACTS LIKE A FRAME TO A PICTURE AND IN CONTRASTING FABRIC, IT CAN GIVE A LOVELY POP OF COLOUR. IT ALSO SAVES THE CUSHION MAIN PIECE FROM WEAR AND TEAR AT THE SEAM LINE – A CONSIDERATION FOR TAPESTRY OR EMBROIDERED FABRICS WHICH YOU WANT TO LAST FOR A LONG TIME.

 

By Judy Newman

 

These cushions were made using a lovely embroidered fabric from No Chintz called Temple Door in Tourmaline. No Chintz are a regular exhibitor at our Craft & Quilt Fairs.

CIMG0776 

Making your own covered piping gives you a huge range of design possibilities, as ready-made bias comes in a limited range of colours and patterns. You could insert piping into seams of skirts and aprons, quilts and jackets – not just cushions.

 

Straight Grain Piping

 

 

Fabric strips to cover the cording do not have to be cut on the bias – furniture upholsterers frequently cut fabric strips along the straight grain – it saves loads of fabric and reduces joins in the piping. However, using bias fabric strips will give you a much more flexible product which travels around corners with more flexibility and less pucker.

 

 

 

Here’s how to make your corded piping:

1 Step 1

Decide how wide your bias strip needs to be. The strips should be wide enough to wrap around the cord plus twice the seam allowance. So if you have piping cord that is 1cm circumference and your seam allowance is 1.5cm, then your width needs to be:
1cm + (2 x 1.5cm) = 4cm wide.
You can find this width easily by wrapping your tape measure around the cord and allowing it to double over with seam allowance. Just look at your tape measure and it will show you the width to cut the strip.

 2

 

Step 2
Cut bias strips of fabric. To find the bias of the fabric, align the straight grain (parallel to selvedge) of the fabric along the edge of your cutting matt and fold one corner on a 45 degree diagonal – this is the bias. Press along the diagonal line to give you a starting point for cutting bias strips.

 3

 

Step 3
Using a rotary cutter and long ruler, cut strips.

 4

 

Step 4
Join the strips by placing the ends right sides together as shown, offsetting the strips to allow for the seam allowance and stitch – the stitching will be along the grain line. You’ll have little triangular points left on the edges which you can trim off. Finger press the seam open. 

 5

 

Step 5
Wrap the cord in the bias strip, pin in place if you like. Attach a zipper foot to your machine. Stitch next to the cord but not as close as you can get – you should be stitching just inside the seam allowance. Why? …So that these stitches on the piping are not visible through the seam when you sew the actual seamline.

 6

 

Step 6

Place your corded piping onto the fabric piece (cushion front for example) on a straight edge – don’t start at a corner or you’ll get into a tricky situation and DO leave about 10cm at the end before you start stitching so you have something to play with when it comes to joining the ends. Now stitch it right on that seamline just next to the stitching of the corded piping.

 7

 

Step 7

To go around a corner, unless you are using a super fine piping you will probably need to sew a stitch or two on an angle across the corner rather than the usual pivoting at a 90 degree angle, so yes you will actually be stitching a slightly rounded corner.
And, you are going to need to clip into the seam allowance of the piping so that it will flex round the corner nicely.
Now, stitch almost to the corner, and then clip into your seam allowance as shown.

 

Stitching a couple of stitches across the corner rather than pivoting.

 

Step 8
Then stitch around the corner working two or three stitches across the corner rather than pivoting at the 90 degree angle. You’ll do the same thing when you stitch the remaining piece of your cushion on – here’s how it will look – see those little across the corner stitches?

 9. BIAS

9. BUTT

abc overlap

 

Step 9
If you are piping a cushion you are going to need to join the piping so let’s talk about that. There are a few options.

 

Bias Join: This is really neat. You’ll need to leave the ends of the corded piping free and have plenty of excess to work with. Unstitch the piping and lay the cord ends side by side and trim so that the ends butt together. Then find the straight grain of both ends of the fabric and determine a line where the two pieces will meet, place right sides of the fabric together and then stitch along that line. Trim the excess fabric.

 

Butt Join: Or you can butt the edges of the fabric together instead.

 

 

Overlap the edges: Or you can turn under one fabric end and overlap it over the other end. Then stitch it in place.

 

NOTE: Another method is to simply take the piping and veer off the edge of the seam allowance with one end, and veer off the other end, overlapping where it meets. If you do this, pick your placement of the join carefully.

 10 Trim the Seam Allowance

 

Step 10
Trim the seam allowance. By the way – when you do stitch your seam through all layers, before you turn it through to the right side, make sure you do some serious trimming of seam allowance, preferably trimming each fabric in layers and clipping notches from the seam allowance to reduce bulk. Turn it out to the right side and if the seam still feels bulky, turn it back and trim some more.

11

 

Step 11
Here’s how your corner will look when turned out.

 

Have fun creating your own corded piping with colourful prints!

The cushions in the main image were made using a lovely embroidered fabric from No Chintz called Temple Door in Tourmaline. No Chintz are a regular exhibitor at our Craft & Quilt Fairs.

http://www.nochintz.com/temple-door-tourmaline

 

 

 

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How To: Corded Piping | by Into Craft

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2 thoughts on “How To: Corded Piping”

  1. Piping Cord measurement?

    A diameter of 1cm? This would be a rather thick piping cord.

    Or a circumference of 1cm?

    If the diameter is 1cm, the circumference would be 3.14cm.

  2. Yes Pam, you are correct – circumference not diameter.
    For the blue embroidered fabric cushions I used very thick piping cord – more of a challenge. For the step by steps with plain linen and blue piping, the cord was much thinner.

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