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