Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mini Piping made easy

I've been busy working on preparations for the trip to Atlanta for the Smocking Art's National Convention. And I am hoping to have working samples ready to show for my next pattern.

One little detail I used on one of the samples is mini piping - and I do mean mini! The piping was applied to the gusset seams of the diaper cover and the edges of the circular yoke. Since this is a baby pattern the details had to be tiny. I chose to make this sample in blush pink Imperial batiste, a light-weight fabric.

The first thing you need to do is cut strips of bias fabric. I like to work with 1" to 1 1/4" depending on the size of the seam allowance to which the piping will be attached. To get nice even piping you need to have enough fabric for your machine to grip when stitching. You can always trim the seam allowance further if necessary.

So as far as supplies go, look for #10 crochet cotton as a filler. Here you see a "Mettler" brand cord that I picked up in a sewing machine store as it was a novelty - not something I had seen in common use. Crochet cotton is easily available inexpensive and very stable (won't shrink!). I prefer to use a 7 groove tucking foot for fine fabrics as you can feet the cord and fabric into the groove and get an even-sized piping without a lot of trouble. As a backup, I would use a Bernina #10, edge joining foot or similar foot with a centered blade to apply the piping. 

Making the bias is fairly simple. Fold the bias over the cord and fit it into the slot on the foot next to the needle. On my machine I move the needle one click to the left to get a week bit closer to the cord and thus a finer piping. You can stretch the bias a wee  bit if you like but the main thing is to stitch evenly and at a moderate speed.

Next is to apply the piping to a seam edge. Here you see the piping foot being used. With my machine foot you have to be careful to measure the finished seam allowance and adjust the position of the fabric to be sure your seam allowance is accurate. If this is case for your machine and tucking foot, try using that foot with the blade. Whichever foot you use,  guide the fabric up to the marking on the throat plate and hold the piping up slightly in your left hand so the groove grips the cord. The machine will do the rest. Just do not stretch the piping while applying it to your fabric or you will have puckered seams. There is no way short of unpicking the stitching to fix this so take care the first time around!

In my sample, I trimmed the seam allowance of the piping slightly to reduce bulk in the finished seam.

Next step is to complete the seam. With right sides together, sandwich the piping between the two layers of fabric. Lay the fabric beneath the machine foot with the stitching from applying the piping on top. Use this stitching as your guide to join the seams. 
Now, if you didn't stitch quite close enough to the cord when you attached the piping to the first side, you can adjust your needle one more click to the left to stitch a tiny bit closer to the cord. I prefer to use the piping foot for this step also as the foot will grip the cord and you have already established the seam allowance so you can just stitch.

 Always check your seam from the right side and restitch any areas that are questionable. But with these feet you shouldn't have any troubles. 

Above you can see one of the seams from the diaper cover included in the new pattern.

Till next time then, keep stitching.....