I love using piping and honestly, I am unsure why but it just adds a lovely decorative effect to cushions and home furnishings. It can be a little tricky to handle but can be so worth it in the long run.
In this article I want to show you have to sew in piping with a zipper foot, using a zipper foot gives you better results as you can get the food close to the edge of the piping to achieve a closer fit and looks crisper.
You can find a zipper foot for pretty much all modern sewing machines so this is very much achievable for many machines.
Tools & Equipment
Though this isn’t a how-to tutorial I wanted to include these so you can check off what you have and don’t have. This will help you work out you have all your tools before you get started.
- Bias Binding – homemade is much easier to use.
- Piping cord – choose whichever size you are wanting to use in your project.
- Zipper foot – make sure it fits your machine and the needle moves right down before starting.
- Matching Thread
How To Sew Piping With A Zipper Foot
I won’t be covering how to make the bias binding, you can find that tutorial here. Skip step 8 on the tutorial as that doesn’t apply for making piping.
Before you start sewing leave an open end of bias tape without piping. You will need this to neaten off the piping at the end.
Once you have created your bias tape place it wrong side upwards.
Place your piping cord down the middle of the binding.
Bring the edges of the bias tape together, encasing the piping cord in the middle.
I like to pin as close to the piping as possible to hold it in place. You can do this horizontally or vertically. See the images below.
Alternatively, you can use sewing clips, they are easier to use and quicker to work with. I also like them as I sometimes struggle with my fingers and small pins.
Tip: If you are confident at sewing you can sew the piping in place without using pins or clips. Simply hold the piping cord in the middle with the edges lined up together.
Make sure you take out the clips/pins as you sew as to not damage your machine.
Before sewing position your needle to the far left of the foot. This way it is closest to the piping.
Start sewing slowly as to not get carried away.
Tip: Due to the fabric being cut on the bias it can sometimes, move and distort. Sewing slowly will give you the chance to hold it in place and control it better.
Make sure you are keeping the needle pushed up as close to the piping cord as possible.
This will make for better piping as it will be tighter and won’t allow creases or wrinkles to appear.
Once you have sewn all your piping cord into your bias tape you can start placing it into your project.
The best way to get an accurate and neat seam is to keep the piping in place while sewing.
Start by placing the piping on the right side of your fabric. See the image below.
Pin into place or clip. A great way of making sure you are lining up your seam and the edge of your piping is to measure your seam allowance.
You want the raw edges of your fabric and the raw edges of your piping to line up. This way you can make sure that all layers are in place and being sewn together.
However, if you plan to sew with a 1/4 inch seam and you have 1/2 inch seam allowance on your piping the piping and seam won’t line up and your piping will be far out and loose silly.
You can adjust this by cutting down your piping seam allowance to 1/4 inch to match all edges correctly.
When sewing the piping in place you will be able to feel if you are close enough or need to adjust your pins. This is really handy when you are learning how to sew piping with a zipper foot.
Tip: Don’t get too close to the piping, this can mean that you end up sewing over the piping and cause a ripple in the end result.
Use your fingers as guides to keep track of how close you are to the piping. If you have measured correctly sewing it into place should be straight forward.
Tip: To avoid slipping or the piping being pushed to one side hold your fabric tight and guide through the machine. That way you can control the movement and stop any sliding.
Neatly finishing the piping is the hardest part.
That loose end you left will come into play now.
Fold in the raw edge to create a neat edge. This will then become the casing for the other side.
Cut down the other side just so it lines up perfectly. So the raw edges of the piping cord are pushed up against each other.
Put the raw edge into the casing and pin in place.
Once you are happy with the position of the piping, sew it into place.
Using clips to hold the layers in place are easy and secure.
Make sure you clip your edges around your curves or corners this will allow the piping to bend and flex to sit smoothly around the edges and corners. Otherwise you will notice a weird pull and the piping won’t look neat or flat.
Tip: When you are sewing your layers together a great way to stop the piping moving too much is by keeping your left hand against the piping. This will give it a guide to slide along and keep an even seam. This is a perfect technique to learn when learning how to sew piping with a zipper foot.
Once you have positioned your top layer make sure it in pinned or clipped in place. Try to pin or clip right to the edge of the piping so you can see and feel it better while sewing.
Butt up your zipper foot to the edge of the piping to create a tight fit. Sew in place (if you are turning something through like me, make sure you leave a gap to turn through).
Once sewn in place, turn through or right way out to check your work.
That is everything you need to know about how to sew piping with a zipper foot. If you have any questions leave me a comment, if you have any useful tips feel free to share!