Monday, March 9, 2009

If you have never made your own piping and rely on the fabric stores for your piping, I hope this will change your mind. Even the best fabric stores have limited colors of piping and only one, small diameter of piping. If you make your own, you can match the fabric of any project that you are working on and make your piping any diameter.

This shows the two sizes of cording that I considered, not knowing which one would work the best. I decided that I needed to use the largest diameter in order to frame my wall hanging with a little more definition.
After you choose your cording, you will need to cut your fabric into strips and then sew your strips together to make a piece long enough to trim your project. If you have lots of curves, you will need to cut your strips on the bias. If your edge is mostly straight, you may be able to get away with cutting on the straight edge. I cut my strips 2 1/2" wide, although this measurement can be adjusted to the thickness of your cording. It obviously needs to wrap around the cord and have enough extra to sew around the cord and then trim off.

This shows the covered cord which has been trimmed to 1/4", the width of my seam allowances on my wall hanging. I used a 1/4" guide that is used for marking seam allowances on quilt pieces for hand quilting. With piping this thick, a regular rotary cutter ruler would have to smash the piping and it would be awkward, wobbly, and probably not very accurate. This little guide, designed to be used as a guide for a marking pencil, snugs right up to the cording and works great with a rotary cutter.

Now I have the piping sewn to the the wall hanging. Use your zipper foot for this type of sewing so that you can stitch close to the piping. It's hard to see, but the cream thread is the first seam where I just sewed the cording into the fabric strips. After sewing the cording into the strips, I moved my needle over a smidgen to sew the piping to my wall hanging. The dark brown seam is the final attaching seam. The cream seam is no longer visible on the right side and it's nice and snug along the piping.

And finally, the right side of the wall hanging, showing the finished piping edge. It makes a nice, bold, clean, neat edge and I like the way that it turned out. Even though I cut my fabric on the straight edge, I was able to wrap it around my rounded corners without any trouble. Be sure to check your corners, your piping, and your fabric flexibility before you decide whether to cut your fabric strips on the bias or straight edge. You don't want to find out later that your piping will not flex enough at the corners.

Have fun customizing your projects, from quilts to pillows, and anything in between!

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