Making Bias Piping

I love piped seams.  It’s the costumer in me.  The trouble is that piping can get expensive, but making your own is super-cheap and easy and then you can have silk piping which is, I’m pretty sure, one of the high points of human civilization.  If you already know how to make bias tape, you’re half way home!

You will need bias tape (1 – 1 1/4″ wide), some form of pipe-filling, and a few minutes.  Now, there’s an official right substance to use inside of bias tape.  You can buy it at the fabric store.  Sometimes I use it.  I am most likely to use plain old cheap acrylic yarn in any kinda pukey color that I can’t imagine knitting with.  (I have a lot of spare yarn.)  If you want piping that will also be very architectural/help stiffen an edge or hem, try a heavier nylon monofilament.  Weed-whacker line works right nice.

Here’s how you do:

If at all possible with your machine, move your needle over to the right side.  Use a middlin' stitch length.

If at all possible with your machine, move your needle over to the right side. Use a middlin’ stitch length.

Put on your zipper foot, with the body of the foot to the left.  Make sure that the needle will not impact the foot.  That never ends well.

Put on your zipper foot, with the body of the foot to the left. Make sure that the needle will not impact the foot. That never ends well.

Grab your bias tape (gold silk) and your filler (seasick-colored yarn).  Yes, I do live in a world where gold silk bias is a have-on-hand-at-all-times staple.  I don't feel like that's weird.  ;)

Grab your bias tape (gold silk) and your filler (seasick-colored yarn). Yes, I do live in a world where gold silk bias is a have-on-hand-at-all-times staple. I don’t feel like that’s weird. ;)

Ideally, at least one of the threads in your machine should more-or-less match the color of the bias you are using.

If possible, tie a knot in the end of your filler.

If possible, tie a knot in the end of your filler.

Fold the bias around the filler.  The edges of the bias should meet.  I mean, ideally.  I've made some pretty shadey bias piping in my time and had it work out ok, but it's much easier to sew down if all things are even.

Fold the bias around the filler. The edges of the bias should meet. I mean, ideally. I’ve made some pretty shadey bias piping in my time and had it work out ok, but it’s much easier to sew down if all things are even.

 

And run that bad-boy through the machine.  Your stitches should be a good 1/16" from the edge of the filler.  This is so that when you sew the piping to a garment later, those stitches can be right next to the filler and no stitches will be visible.

And run that bad-boy through the machine. (Look at that – looks just like piping coming out the back, doesn’t it?)  Your stitches should be a good 1/16″ from the edge of the filler. This is so that when you sew the piping to a garment later, those stitches can be right next to the filler and no stitches will be visible.

If your bias has joins in it, make sure that these are going on the inside of the piping.  If you come across a seam allowance and it is on the outside, go ahead and cut the piping right there.  There’s always a reason to need a small bit of piping.  There’s never a reason to need piping with the seam on the outside.  ;)