Piping is a really fantastic trim for hi-lighting style lines and accentuating interesting seaming – which makes it a perfect match for the Karri dress pattern! Karri has really distinct style lines, and you can make them even more of a feature in your garment by including piping into some or most of the seams. It’s a surprisingly easy technique that really takes your project to a whole new level. You can purchase premade piping from most sewing stores, or you can make your own unique piping using this tutorial. You can learn how to sew piping into any seam by following this tutorial!
Let’s get started!
When including piping in your seams it’s really important to plan out what seams you would like to include piping into, and to carefully calculate how much you will need, then add a little extra just in case!
For this sample, I included piping in most seams and used over 7m of piping. Some of our pattern testers included piping in all the seams and used closer to 11m of piping. I chose to include piping in the most visually important seams and leave the piping out of seams where I thought it would be too bulky or uncomfortable when wearing. As a result, I did not include piping in sleeves or side seams, or the centre back where the zipper is inserted.
Also worth noting is that though I am showing you how to insert piping into the seams of a garment, you can just as easily use the same techniques to insert piping into the seams of other projects like cushions etc.
I like to start by laying out the pieces which will have piping included. It helps me visually keep track of where I am.
Place your piping on the right side of the seam. If you are using homemade piping as per my tutorial, then the raw edges of your piping should line up with the raw edges of the pattern piece. If you are using store-bought piping then keep in mind that you will need to place your piping so that you are stitching on the seamline.
Sew your piping to your seam using a piping foot or narrow zipper foot. At this stage you are just basting the piping to the garment, so you don’t need to worry about sewing too tightly against the cording.
Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together so that the seams line up and so that the piping is sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric.
Using your piping foot or narrow zipper foot, sew the seams together as close to the cording as you can without sewing through the cording itself. It’s important to sew very tightly against the edge of the cording. If you don’t get it close enough the first time, never fear, just take another pass at it.
In this example, I am sewing the Yoke and Front Top of the Karri dress together.
Press the seams open and if they are particularly bulky you may wish to trim the seam allowance back.
Repeat these steps for the other side of the garment. In the image above I inserted piping into the seams between the Yoke, Front Top, and Front.
Before you join any piped seams to other seams I think it’s really important to think about which direction you want your piping to lay. Since it is now a cylinder that is sitting on top of your fabric it is going to be pushed to the side when you sew, so it’s worth planning what direction you want your piping to lay. Then baste the piping down along the seamline in the direction you want it to lay. This will prevent it from falling the wrong way when you sew your seams. For my Karri dress, I decided that I wanted the piping to sit perfectly in the centre of seams and not lay slightly to the left or right of the seams, so I squashed my piping down at the seamline and sewed it flat.
When sewing piping into a seam that includes piping joins, the method is exactly the same as above. Here I am inserting piping into the centre front seam of the Karri dress. First baste the piping on one side. Then place the two fabric panels right sides together so that the seams line up and the piping is sandwiched between the two layers of fabric.
When you come to the seams that include piping perpendicular to your current seam, just be careful to line the two piped seams and pin them on either side of the seam to stabilize. If you have taken the additional step I detailed above of basting your piping down to prevent it from slipping in the wrong direction then this will go easier for you.
Press the seam open again, and then baste the piping down again along the seamlines.
INSERTING PIPING INTO A CURVED SEAM
Sewing piping into a gentle curve such as princess seams is actually incredibly easy given the bias cut of the piping. When working with princess seams I’ve found the simplest method is to baste the piping to the curved seam of the side panels. This means that when you ease in the seam associated with the centre front panel (or centre back) you won’t need to ease in the piping or clip the piping, it can simply remain static. If you need some help sewing princess seams, don’t forget to check out my easy tutorial here.
There you have it! You now know how to insert piping into straight seams, into curved seams and how to sew seams with piping that goes in both directions! You can now continue to sew the rest of your Karri dress as per the instructions.
Any questions please let me know in the comments!
LOOKING FOR MORE TUTORIALS?
Here’s the full list of Karri tutorials:
- How to do a Full Bust Adjustment on princess seams
- How to sew princess seams
- How to make piping
- How to insert piping into seams
- How to sew lining to a dress (covered in this tutorial)
- How to line a sleeveless dress
- Karri dress pattern tester roundup!