How to Make and Add Piping to Pillow

My mom and dad are snow birds. Every New years they are outta here. We go down to visit when its nice and warm and we are beyond sick of winter. I made these pillows out of a Moda charm pack I had and thought they were perfect for their back lanai. They are just simple patchwork pillows and instead of machine quilting I actually hand quilted them with variegated embroidery floss.
It’s nice to use pre made piping, but it always adds something more and finishes the project to use coordinated piping. This is the technique I use for all of my pillow and drapes that I make.

I always square up my finished project using a square ruler. You can do 2 sides at a time.

I love striped fabric for piping. We need to cut on the bias (the diagonal of the fabric and the stretchy dimension which is why you need to be on the bias for piping so you can turn it easier.) To make your first cut find the 45 degree angle line of your ruler and place it on one of your fabric stripes. Visualize the cut edge, it goes diagonal across your stripes which is what you want, now cut across, this is your new guide line for further cuts.


Now take your ruler, I want my piping to be 1 1/4, so take the 1 1/4 line and put it on the fabric edge all the way up and down, start with your ruler off the bottom edge( the beginning of your cut, probably close to the selvage) of the fabric and as you cut move your ruler along keeping the 1 1/4 inch line on the raw edge of your fabric. The picture shows I’m off a smidge, try not to do that so that you keep everything even and lined up for the next cut. Continue cutting strips like this until you have enough to make piping to go around your project.


To join your strips together, take 2 strips right side together in an “L” form, also you need to offset them by 1/4″ to account for the 1/4″ seam allowance. Draw a line from where the connect at top and bottom, That is your sewing line. Sew and backtack at beginning and end. When you open up the seam you should have a continuous piece. Do this with all your strips until they are all sewn together.

Once you have your strips all sewn make sure you put your zipper foot on, mine was already on, lay your piping cording in on the wrong side of your strip, I usually use a 6/32 size for pillows and drapes. Now roll over the edge, wrong sides together over your cording. You can use a big stitch here as this is just to secure it, It will be sewn tight on your final project, just a time saver is all. Sew the whole way down, keeping your cording in.

To attach your piping:

Start in the middle of a straight area, leave a 3 inch starter tail ( you will need this for connecting your piping). make sure the raw edge of piping is lined up with raw edge of project. start sewing with your zipper foot, you want your needle tight close to the binding and the foot holding down the raw edges. As you get close to corner, use nice sharp tipped scissors and clip small clips around a 3″ section close to corner, I always have a little curve to my corners. try as best as possible to turn the piping and keep it up in the corner. keep sewing, back tack this area if you can, I normally do. Continue all the way around

To finish up:

Stop sewing after you finish the last corner, back tack here.  cut your piping about 2″ past where the beginning and end meet. The piping that you just finished sewing, you want to line up with the start piping side,, mark the end side where the piping meets, pull the fabric back on the end piping and cut off the extra piping. Now remove a few stitches from the end piping side and fold down about a 1/4 inch. Finger press in place. Now insert the beginning end into the part you just folded down and then close it up so that the beginning part is hiding in the end part. Finish sewing where you left off to where you started.

I know super confusing!, Take your time. They way that I have always taught myself is to read the directions 3 times and try to visualize what they are saying. Once you learn this you will be grateful. It adds great interest on all your projects!

This is where I learned applying piping

For finishing my pillows I like to actually be able to change out the outside so I make all of my pillows like this. You pay for one form but change out for multiple looks like holidays, season changes.

You need to cut 2 panels, to measure take your pillow dimension, so this one is 20 x 20″, add 3 inches for the once side, so you need to cut 2 panels that are 21 (that’s your 1/2″ seam allowance x 23″ Now you are going to fold each panel in half, wrong sides together, right sides out, now they measure 21 x 12.5 inches. Keeping the fold in the center and the raw edges out overlap the panels about 1-2 inches, now lay your pillow top downright side on top of the overlapping edge. Adjust panels below or trim off excess and sew the complete square all the way around, Turn it inside out and you are done, You now have a very professional pillow!

I know this is a lot but keep at it, Search more tutorials. It is absolutely worth learning this professional technique, if not from me then keep searching, you will get it I promise!


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