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How to apply perfect piping to machine embroidered patio cushions

by Elaine Theriault

Can you believe it’s the end of the week already? It’s been loads of fun as I explored the features and functions of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85, which is a sewing and embroidery machine. The fantastic adventures included shopping during a pandemic, lots of fun with machine embroidery, inserting zippers, and today, we’ll have a look at piping.

A blue and turquoise embroidery machine with the embroidery unit attached. Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85 sewing and embroidery machine, Inspira Tear-A-Way Stabilizer, Husqvarna Viking Embroidery needles, Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Titanium needles

Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Today, it’s all about piping and assembling the five cushion covers. I’m working with the print fabric, which is for the 20” cushion forms. I use the word fabric loosely as it feels like plastic, yet I could iron it with a hot iron. Weird!

I was able to use my 20½” ruler to cut the covers. Super easy!

A green and white fabric with leaves under a quilting ruler

Cutting a 20” square with a large quilting ruler

I needed some cord for the piping, and wouldn’t you know it; I had a bundle of cord in my stash. Now, why and when did I buy that? I knew that it was there, or I would have ordered it a while back since it’s not convenient to hop in the car and pick up last-minute supplies. These cushion covers are big so that they can handle large piping. I’m not even sure what size, but it will have to do.

A large bundle of white cord on green fabric

Cord for piping

I used the solid green fabric for the piping and wasn’t sure how wide to cut the strips, so I went for 2½”. In hindsight, I could have used 1¾” strips, but it’s often easier to make the piping larger and trim it back. Note that the strips are cut on the bias.

A large quilting ruler placed on a green fabric; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Cutting bias strips for the piping

Remove the selvage from the ends, if there is one, and that all ends are cut at a 45-degree angle. Join the strips together. Here’s a tip: Ensure that you join the rights sides together all the way along. After I got all the strips joined, I realized that one seam allowance was on the right side! If you have a definite right side to your fabric, this shouldn’t happen. Offset the strips so the seam will start and stop in the notches.

Two angled pieces of green fabric pinned together for sewing

Offset the ends of the bias strips to prepare for sewing

I offset them by ¼” and used the Quilter’s ¼” Piecing Foot P to sew the strips together.

Two bias strips of green fabric are under the metal foot of a sewing machine

Sewing the bias strips together

Press the seams open to reduce bulk.

A seam allowance for the bias strips pressed open

A seam allowance for the bias strips pressed open

There are several different piping feet that you can use. You would choose the one that corresponds to the size of piping you’re using. My piping is large, so I’m using the Mega Piping Foot. It’s quite different from the Piping Foot.

A metal foot for piping on the sewing machine

The Mega Piping Foot

Here’s a side view of the Mega Piping Foot. I can snap it on the sewing machine in two ways to sew on the left or the right.

A side view of a piping foot on a sewing machine

The side of the Mega Piping Foot

Fold the bias strip in half with the wrong sides together. Insert the piping cord so it’s next to the fold.

A strip of green fabric with a piping cord inside stitched on a sewing machine

Stitching the cord inside the bias strips

For the first pass when making piping, do NOT stitch super close to the piping cord. You are just getting the cord inside the fabric; you’ll sew closer to the piping cord later.

A bias strip of green fabric with piping cord stitched on a sewing machine

Securing the piping cord inside the bias strips

I used the Stitch Positioning function on the Designer Sapphire 85 to move the needle to the left as needed to stitch this first line of stitching. The setting is now -2.0, as you can see by the highlighted number in the photo. I LOVE the stitch positioning, and there are 37 needle positions, so you know you’re going to find one that works. And did you notice that the Utility Stitch A2 is no longer in the center relative to the presser foot at the top of the screen? I get to see exactly what and where my stitch is, depending on my chosen options. I LOVE that. Because this fabric is heavier than quilting cotton, I used the default stitch length of 2.5 for Woven Medium as set by the JoyOS Advisor.

A menu with stitch options on a computerized sewing machine

The stitch settings for sewing the piping

Within a few minutes, I had miles of piping made. OK – so not miles, but enough for two cushions.

Green piping on a cutting mat; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The piping for two cushions

I decided that the seam allowance on the piping was way too large. Next time, I’d cut the strips a bit narrower, as I mentioned above, or know that you have to trim them. I don’t have a trimmer with a large groove to accommodate the thick cord, so I used a regular ruler. Let’s say that the seam allowance of my piping wasn’t pretty, but thankfully, it’s the seam allowance, and no one will see it.

A quilting ruler on the piping for trimming; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Trimming the seam allowance on the piping

I rounded the corners of the cushion covers, the same as I did yesterday.

Slight wedges of green fabric are removed from the corners of a square of fabric; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The corners of the cushion cover are rounded

Start sewing the piping at the bottom of your cushion cover as you don’t want the join to be visible. There are several ways to join the piping, but I went with the quick technique of overlapping the ends. Start with a small tail of piping that is loose. I didn’t pin the piping, and I used the Mega Piping Foot to stitch with approximately ¼” – 3/8” seam allowance.

Stitch closer to the cord but not super tight against it.

Green piping stitched with a metal piping foot; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Stitching the piping to the cushion cover Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

You’ll appreciate those rounded corners when adding piping. And because I used bias strips to make the piping, it was super easy to go around the corner. You’ll have to put a small clip (or two) in the piping seam allowance. It’s super easy with the Exclusive Sensor System, including the Presser Foot Down and Pivot feature, as well as the Needle Stop Up/Down to go around these corners. I could use both hands to control my fabric and not worry about lifting the presser foot to pivot. That is one of my favorite features on the Designer Sapphire 85.

A piece of green piping sewn to a green and white fabric; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The corner of the piping sewn to the cushion cover

When you get back to your starting point, overlap the piping and stitch across. I love the penetration power on the Designer Sapphire 85 as it had no problem going through all those layers.

Two pieces of green piping overlapping; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The final join on the piping

If you’re happy with the join, trim off the excess piping.

The overlap of two pieces of green piping on a green and white cushion cover; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The final join stitched in place

As I was getting ready to sew the zippers in the remaining cushion covers, I realized that I had forgotten a step yesterday. After I stitched the zipper to the bottom half of the back, I usually topstitch it. I forgot that step in my excitement to get the cover finished. So use that zipper foot and stitch close to the edge. I topstitched with my fabric to the right of the needle. The fabric is a bit challenging to get a nice crisp press, so I pulled on the zipper with my left hand and the fabric with my right so there would be no tucks as I topstitched.

A black zipper with topstitching on green fabric; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Topstitching the zipper in place

Here’s the topstitching. It looks awesome. I did manage to find a green embroidery thread that somewhat matched my fabric.

A black zipper topstitched to green fabric

The topstitching on the zipper

I also have another picture of placing the bottom half of the cushion cover with the attached zipper to the fold on the top half. I missed that picture yesterday, so if that step confused you, here’s how to line up the two pieces.

A black zipper stitched to green fabric is positioned on green fabric with a fold; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Lining up the bottom half of the cushion cover with the top half

I’m making five cushion covers in total. With the four remaining to assemble, I chain-pieced the zippers. I know – chain piecing zippers!! People often shy away from inserting zippers, but this way of putting a zipper in is so easy. And here’s a much neater picture of closing down the flap on the side. I don’t want to stitch over the ends of the zippers, so I peek underneath the flap to know where to start, or I mark it with a pin. Use your FIX function to secure the one end.

A square of stitching on green fabric; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The side flap of the zipper overlap

I even had company while I was sewing. As I was trimming away the excess fabric from the covers, I threw it on the floor. Yep, that’s Murphy who decided that any scraps, even small ones, belong to her!

A golden retriever laying on green fabric; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Murphy taking advantage of my scraps

I didn’t show you the embroidery process for this cushion, but the design came from the mySewnet Library. Can you believe that it’s a WAVE design? There are three waves in the design, and there was a fourth element that I cut out in the MODIFY in the mySewnet Embroidery Software. It was challenging to hoop this design as it required eight separate hoopings using the Large Embroidery Hoop. Because of the design style, the hoop size, and the position I wanted the design to appear, I had to draw a “few” reference lines. Design Positioning allowed me to get the designs precisely where I wanted. Super EASY!!!

A green cushion with a white machine embroidered starburst; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The second machine embroidered cushion cover

Here is the third of the embroidered cushions. This design is the created cutwork machine embroidery. Two different cutwork designs were pulled from mySewnet Library, as mentioned in Wednesday’s post. I was going to use the print fabric behind the openings, but that print was too large, so I went to my stash and found something that worked. WOW – I love it as the cutwork came out EXACTLY how I planned it.

A green cushion cover with white cutwork designs; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The cutwork cushion cover

And here’s the cushion with the piping. WAIT – I forgot to show you how I attached the front to the back. Because of the piping, I had to use the Mega Piping Foot to sew the back to the front. I pinned the back to the front in the seam allowances. Then I stitched them together with the front up to see the line of stitching that had attached the piping. When I sewed, I stitched even closer to the piping so none of the previous stitching lines would show and tighten up that piping, so there was no gap between the cord and the seam.

A white material under the foot of a sewing machine; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Sewing the cushion cover together

And now you can see the finished cushion with the piping. I LOVE it.

A green and white floral cushion cover with green piping; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The cushion cover with the piping

Thank goodness for rounding off those corners. They look so much better with the excess fabric removed. It’s easy to turn this one inside out as you can tug on the piping to make the cushion flat.

The green piping on the corner of a green and white floral cushion; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

The corner of the piping

Here are all five patio cushions. That was quite the exercise to make them as there were many techniques involved and things to learn and supplies that – well, I had to use what I had on hand. But I think they turned out fantastic and my daughter loves them.

Five green and white cushion covers on a bench; Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Five cushion covers using various techniques

And that wraps up the week! I had so much fun with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85. I was able to do some fantastic large-scale embroidery with designs that I created (well – I used existing designs), but I got creative with using them. I chain-pieced zippers and had fun making piping – loads of fun. I hope you enjoyed the week as much as I did. And now, get online to find some decorator fabric so you can make cushions for your balcony or backyard.

Have a great day!

Ciao!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Easy zipper insertion and tips for outstanding cushion covers

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