Piping ~ How to Add Piping to a Pillow
In my last tutorial, I showed you how easy it is to finish a pillow with a zipper, today I hope you will see that piping isn’t so scary either and, by making your own your design, possibilities are endless.
I will show you how to create piping by covering cording with fabric and then I’ll show you how to include it in your pillow construction. This tutorial assumes you already know basic pillow construction techniques.
Here we go!
You will need:
- Fabric- To determine how much, measure around all four sides of your completed pillow top and add four inches. This will be the length of your strips. For 1/2 inch cording, cut the strips 2 inches wide. The formula I’ve read says double the width of your cording + double your seam allowances to determine the width to cut your strips. My cording is 1/2 inch, seam allowance also 1/2 inch. So, (1/2 x 2) + (1/2 x 2) = 2 inches.
- Scissors or rotary cutter and self healing mat
- Thread to match piping fabric
- Cording, also called welt cording. Can be cotton or synthetic and is sold by the yard at fabric stores. Comes in various widths. Today I am using 1/2 inch synthetic cording.
- Sewing machine with zipper foot or cording foot attachment.
So you’ve measured your pillow top and know how much fabric your will need. Now you have to decide weather to cut your strips on the bias or straight.
Fabric cut on the bias (diagonal to the straight weave of the fabric) has stretch or give to it, allowing it to lay smoothly when sewn around curves or corners.
When you cut striped fabric on the bias, it gives you a neat candy cane stripe.
You can go here for instructions on how to cut a continuous bias strip.
I used straight cut strips in this tutorial to demonstrate how straight fabric behaves around curves.
You will likely need more than one strip to make up the length you need to go around you pillow. Once you have all the strips cut, sew them together, but not end to end.
Lay your strips perpendicular to each other and sew along a 45 degree angle, as shown in purple above. These diagonal seams will be less bulky for sewing and will be less detectable to the eye in your completed project.
Trim the seam to 1/4″ and press open.
On one short end, turn under and press about an inch. Fold the coding inside the fabric, the end of the cording about an inch away from the folded end. Continue to fold the fabric around the cording, placing pins every couple of inches. You don’t have to go crazy with pins, but having the cording secured in the fabric will make the sewing part go much faster.
Begin stitching a couple inches from the folded end. With the zipper foot attached, cozy right up next to the cording and stitch away.
Before you know it, you’ll have your lovely piping!
Now lets get it on that pillow top.
Again with that folded end! You’ll see in a minute why we keep neglecting that end. Begin pinning the piping to your pillow top (say that three times fast), leaving the folded end free. Pin all the way around.
At the corners, clip the seam allowance of the piping. See those wrinkles? That’s what happens when you cut the fabric straight with the grain. Bias cut fabric would have stretched right around that curve. Most of these will work out when it is sewn on, so it isn’t all lost, but bias strips would have been better.
Begin stitching where you started pinning, leaving the folded end free and stitch as close as you can to that cording.
When you are a few inches away from the beginning, line up the end with the beginning and clip the end even with the cording. Place the end inside the end you left free and finish stitching it down.
See, nicely lined up.
Pin the pillow top to the pillow back. If you are finishing with a hidden flap zipper or envelop back, stitch all the way around (don’t forget to open that zipper a bit).
Stitch along the previous stitching line. If you will be hand finishing the back, don’t forget to leave a section open for turning, otherwise stitch around all four sides.
Turn right side out, insert your pillow form and if you want, go ahead and do a little happy dance. You deserve it!
The pillow I used for today’s tutorial looked like this last week:
Not bad, a basic pillow dressed up some machine embroidery (purchased at Meringue Designs), but it needed something more.
Better? I think so!
Here’s another look at a couple of pillows. One Plain Jane, one sassy piped number.
What are you waiting for? Go pipe some pillows.
Note: The embroidery designs were purchased at Meringue Designs
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