When I mentioned that I had made miles of piping for the forthcoming Minoru jacket, I was asked how I do it. I’m hoping that this will explain! If you need anything in more detail or I can make it any clearer please let me know and I’ll do my best!
First up I make the bias tape. I use the continuous loop method which is brilliantly explained here. And I got just over 5 yards of 1.5″ bias tape from just under a fat quarter, so making it yourself is very economical, not to mention you get to choose the fabric!
Once I’ve made the bias tape, if I’m making piping I then just press it in half along its length. If I plan to use it to finish an edge I use a bias tape maker as it makes what can be a fiddly job really easy and stops me burning my fingers. If you don’t fancy tracking one of these down, you could try this amazing print and build at home version!
It’s really important to press and not iron because it’s on the bias and we need that stretch when we fit the piping and don’t want to pull/steam it out at this early stage!
Now, there are people out there who have the patience to make piping with a zipper foot. I’m impatient so for the sake of a few £s I bought myself a piping foot. It basically has two grooves in the bottom to guide the fabric and piping. There are two grooves to enable you to have the piping in the most convenient place when you insert it into a seam.
If you use a zipper foot you just try and sew as close to the piping cord as you can, it’s still pretty straight forward, I think it just requires an extra level of concentration and takes a little longer.
So here goes!
I place the cord snugly into the fold of the bias tape that I pressed in earlier. I then fold the top of the tape back over it and using my fingers hold it as snuggly in place as I can whilst the feed-dogs pull the fabric and cord sandwich under the needle. I use a stitch length of 2 when constructing piping.
Here you can see the fabric and cord sandwich going through the groove on the foot. I try and put about 8 to 12″ of cord in to the fold at a time as this helps speed things up and is manageable for me. When there is a join in the bias tape, this needs a little extra care to make sure the cord isn’t pushed out of the fabric or not as tight to the fold as I’d like.
I then tuck the next section in and sew and keep going till its done! I hope that explains the process. It’s really quite simple if you have a piping foot, and with a zipper foot it just takes a little more concentration!