Pyjama Party 2 – Piping & Side Seams

Piping

I bought my piping from MacCulloch & Wallis. (You can see my review of this shop in my Guardian run down of the UK’s Top Ten Fabric Shops.)

I was lazy about creating piping because with a sewalong to host I felt I had quite enough on my plate! But, as said previously, the pattern does include a fantastic pattern piece and instructions for making your own. Of course, you don’t have to use piping at all. Ready? Then, let’s press on!

First, take your side pieces (pattern piece 3). Pin the piping along both long edges of each side piece. The corded edge ie the right side of your piping needs to face inwards. Inwards. Not out, facing the raw seams. Ask me why I’m emphasising this so much. Still not clear? Check out the below photo. This is how it’s meant to look!

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You’ll notice that the edge of my piping isn’t flush with the raw seam edge. That’s because I want my pre-bought, narrow piping to run neatly along what will be the finished seam line once the front and back pieces are attached. Those seam lines will be at the standard 15mm, so I made sure to baste my piping 15mm in from the raw edge. That’s my top tip for you! Remember to baste the cording along what will be your 15mm seam allowance.

Basting Collage

Done! Now, we’re going to pin the front (piece 1) and back (piece 2) leg pieces to the side pieces, matching notches as we go. You snipped those notches, right? Tell me you snipped those notches! They will really help. I suggest starting your pinning at either end of the leg pieces, then pinning at the notches, and only then pinning the rest, smoothing fabric out as you go. For me, this made a massive difference to accurate lining up of pieces.

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If you’re confused about which pieces you’re pinning to which, the illustrations in the pattern instructions will really help.

Second top tip of the day: pin pieces together with your side piece facing up, as below. You want to see that basting line when you sew your pieces together. Why? Because it will give you a handy guide line for sewing neat and close to the corded edge of the piping.

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Take your work to the machine. Sew each front piece to its corresponding side piece. (Remember, follow your pattern illustrations.) Then sew each back piece to the relevant side piece. The pattern recommends using a zipper foot for this stage, and so would I if your piping is bulky. Mine was fine and smooth and I found my walking foot really useful for this stage.

Check your work. Piping neatly attached? Now, you can finish your seam allowances! I finished mine with my overlocker, but you can pink your seam allowances or use a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine. There’s a lovely run down of finishing treatments here. Note – if you’re working with jersey, as I am, you don’t need to finish your seam allowances at all if you don’t want to. Jersey doesn’t unravel!

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Finally, and always importantly, give your work a good press. Piping, inserted!

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21 Responses to Pyjama Party 2 – Piping & Side Seams

  1. Magali says:

    Thank you, thank you. This is very clear. I was trying to figure out the piping. I will work on this tonight. I’m so excited to be doing this.

  2. Thank you for the post on the piping, I love your fabric. Hopefully I’ll catch up tomorrow.

  3. carlalissa says:

    Hello Karen: I just want to add that I was having the hardest time finding the right piping, so I figures I will do my own! Guess what I could not figure out the rope that is used for piping, so I gave up. Then I saw rick rack that matched my fabric perfectly; then I remember Scruffy Badger using rick rack magnificently. I said to my self I can do it too! LOL to make the long story short I am using rick rack and is coming out nice too. Just as an idea if piping gets to be too complicated!

  4. MadeByMeg says:

    Oh man I love a good piping!

  5. Jo says:

    Is that stretch piping to go with your jersey fabric? Very intriguing…

  6. Great description and pictures.

  7. Nettie says:

    Soooo… part of my challenge at this pyjama party is to make my own piping. I’ve bought the piping cord and washed the fabric. Do you think I need to pre-shrink the piping cord before I make the piping itself? I guess I could put it in, say, a lingerie bag to wash it in the machine, or pop it into a bucket of hot water. But not if I don’t need to. What do you think?.

  8. Stephanie says:

    thanks for this – great tips and photos…
    stephanie

  9. LinB says:

    Such a tidy, workmanlike job!

    It is also perfectly acceptable to use a strip of folded fabric with no cording inserted, as “faux piping.” Much less intimidating to beginning sewists; and a handy trick to use in a pinch, as when you need to finish a project late at night when all the stores are closed and there’s no piping in your stash that will work, durn it. Good for integrating bits of fabric when you’re doing a patchwork garment, or color-blocking, if you need to include one of the fabrics another time to show that it’s other use was not accidental — or to disguise a less-than-perfect seam matching attempt, harrumph harrumph.

  10. cperez says:

    I love it!! And that´s a good tip, Lin, of usig spare strps to make faux piping…very cool!

  11. Gjeometry says:

    Excellent, thank you for the tute! I am going to print this!

  12. Danielle says:

    Your second tip of the day is brilliant! I did piping on a pillow in one of my sewing classes last year and did not have a good time with it, and have not touched piping since. But your tip makes so much sense! Maybe someday I’ll try piping again…

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