Piping is Easy

I think the coolest thing about piping is that it looks impressive and finishes a garment beautifully but it is really easy to do.

I have chosen to make my Huret’s new skirt with a peaked waistband and corded piping cut on the bias. Since the skirt will be cartridge pleated, I must finish all sides of the waistband before it is sewn to the skirt.

The first step is to create the bias strip for the piping.

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I folded the selvedge edge to meet the straight cut edge, creating a triangle.

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Then I cut on a line 1/2″ from the folded edge

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to make a 1″ strip.

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Here’s what I need to make the waistband. I’m sorry, but I don’t remember where I got the cording, but it is okay to use crochet cotton (it comes in different thicknesses). I modified a pattern from Theimer’s La Poupee Modele for the waistband. The lining is cut from muslin because I wanted it to be heavy enough to support the waistband.

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To insert the piping, fold the bias strip in half and snug the piping up to the fold. Take basting stitches through both layers as close as possible to the cord.

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I am using a 1/4″ seam allowance, so I trimmed the piping strip to 1/4″.

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I want one edge of the waistband to be finished with the piping, so I lined up the edge of the piping strip with the edge of the waistband and stitched close to the piping. To go around the corner, I snipped the seam allowance on the piping.

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Since the other end of the waistband won’t have piping, I finish stitching along the top edge. I opened up the strip and trimmed off 1/4″ of the piping for ease in finishing this end.

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This is what it looks like when the stitching is done. If I was not lining it, I’d just fold back the seam allowance and the piping would lie at the top.

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To line the waistband, I placed the lining piece over this piece and stitched it again, up close to the piping. I could keep stitching along the bottom, leaving a small opening to turn the piece, but I left it open.

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Before turning, I trimmed the points and cut a wedge from the inside corners. Then I graded the seam: I trimmed each layer to a different height to cut down on bulk.

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I chose to leave the bottom open so that it would be easier to make sure the piping corners are perfect, so here’s how it looks when it’s turned.

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After turning under the bottom edges and slip stitching them, the waistband is finished and ready to be sewn to the skirt.

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Here’s how it looks on the inside.

Piping can be used, either corded or flat, in just about any seam on a garment.

As you can see, piping is easy, just a bit time consuming. But I think the finished edge is worth the trouble.  


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