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Piping around corners and seamless joins (EASY tutorial)

by Elaine Theriault

Now that we know which cord works best with the various piping or welting feet to make beautiful piping, and we can attach it to a straight seam, let’s see how easy it is to pipe around corners and create a beautiful join.

We’ll continue to work with the Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 to see how easy it is to work with piping.

A white sewing machine with black and teal trim; Husqvarna Viking Opal 670

Husqvarna Viking Opal 670

I went out the other day to see what types of cord were available, other than what I had on hand, and the drapery cord is much too stiff to put in garments. I love the cording used in roman blinds (very skinny) for mini piping that works in quilts, garments, or any other project. However, if you want more substantial but softer piping, the next best thing I found was a cable cord in various diameters, which is pliable and works for garments.

As you can see in this picture, turning a corner with the piping looks challenging, and the piping doesn’t want to go around the corner even when using bias fabric strips. For my samples today, I’m using the roman blind cording with the clear Mini Piping foot, and the seam allowance on the piping is ¼”. I’ll start by basting the piping to the base fabric.

Teal piping sitting on a pink fabric square

The mini piping doesn’t want to go around the corner

You have to clip the seam allowance, so you can pivot at the corner. Use your Needle Stop Up/Down feature on the Opal 670 to make it easy to turn the corner.

Stop with the needle in the down position when you get close to the corner. With the needle in the fabric, and the presser foot raised, pivot the fabric and the piping, making it easy to see where to clip.

Use a sharp pair of scissors that cuts to the end of the blades and carefully snip the piping seam allowance — DO NOT cut the base fabric. Snip just to the line of stitching on the piping, but not through it. The snip should be where the piping will lie at the corner. If you’re using a ¼” seam allowance, like I am, then snip ¼” inside the outer edge of the base fabric.

Scissor blades cutting through teal piping that sits on the pink fabric under a clear plastic presser foot on a sewing machine; Husqvarna Viking Opal 670

Snipping the seam allowance of the piping

Continue sewing to the intersection, and raise the presser foot, with the needle in the down position.

Then pivot the piping to make a 90-degree corner which is now possible because of the clip. It can be tricky to get that clip right at the corner, and as mentioned above, I find it’s easier to rotate my fabric and snip before I reach the corner. It’s a challenge to snip right at the intersection, but the more precise the positioning of the clip, the flatter the piping will lie.

Teal piping on the pink fabric under a clear presser foot on a sewing machine; Husqvarna Viking Opal 670

With the needle down, pivot the piping to line up the next side of the base fabric

Line the piping back under the groove in the mini piping foot and continue the seam. You may need to fudge a stitch or two to turn the corner, which is normal, and it’s best to try this technique with small piping before you get to the thicker stuff.

You’ll notice my clip is slightly off from where it should be, as there should be an imaginary diagonal line from the clip to the corner. However, my clip did the job, and you can always add another clip right at the corner if you feel it’ll make the piping lie flatter. You can use a basting stitch for this stitching line, but I used a stitch length of 2.5 and gray thread.

Teal piping on pink fabric with a 90-degree corner and a clip in the seam allowance of the piping

The clip at the corner allows the piping to turn a 90-degree corner.

The next step is to add the top layer. Wait – I’ll talk about joins in a minute.

Lay your top layer of fabric over the piping and the base fabric and match the raw edges. It’s best to pin all the layers in place.

I’m using the clear Mini Piping Foot to sew this seam, and a stitch length of 2.0 or 2.5, whatever is appropriate for my fabric.

I also moved the needle a notch closer to the piping using the Stitch Width setting, so the stitching is snug against the piping but doesn’t sit on it.

Don’t start at a corner.

A pink fabric under a clear plastic piping foot on a sewing machine; Husqvarna Viking Opal 670

Preparing to stitch the layers together using the clear Mini Piping Foot

As you can see in this photo, I have one line of stitching to baste the piping, and the second line of stitching is to secure the two layers of fabric together. I did not use a basting stitch length for the basting process.

Pink fabric with two lines of gray stitching

The stitched corner with the piping inserted between the two layers

You may want to grade or trim down the seam allowances in the corners to reduce some bulk.

Teal fabric inserted between two layers of pink fabric

Trim or grade the seam allowances in the corner to reduce bulk.

And when you turn it inside out, the corner is perfect. You’re looking for an even width of piping even at the corners, and this is pretty darn close. I also used a gray thread to sew the last seam, and no gray thread is showing. The tension on the Opal 670 is spot on, and if the tension is good, we should not see the construction thread from the outer side of the project.

Teal piping inserted between two layers of pink fabric

A perfect piped corner

Let’s move on to the join, which can be troublesome if not done correctly. There are two ways to make the join. One method requires trimming the ends of the piping even when you get to the final join and overlapping the piping fabric, and I find this method very fiddly. The second method is the overlap method, which I’m showing you today.

After prepping your piping, it’s time to sew it on. Start along one of the edges, never the corner, and it’s preferable to start on a spot that gets the least attention – the bottom of a cushion, for instance.

Start by placing the piping at an angle, as shown in the photo. Line up the groove on the piping foot with the piping cord and stitch the corners as described above.

Teal piping stitched at an angle on a piece of pink fabric

Start the piping at an angle when stitching a continuous line of piping.

When you get back to the beginning, end the stitching line by running the piping off the project at an angle. It overlaps the start of the piping, and that’s how it should be. I don’t worry about removing any cord from inside the piping.

Two pieces of teal piping overlapping on a pink fabric

Overlapping the piping to finish the continuous line of stitching

The back of the project looks like this once the two layers are together. Trim the excess piping away to eliminate unnecessary bulk.

Pink fabric with the end of teal piping sticking out in the seam

The join where the two layers are sewn together

Then turn the project inside out and double-check the join to make sure you’re happy with the results. The join is perfect and is not visible, especially since this join is on the bottom edge of the cushion.

The join of two ends of teal piping within a pink fabric

The join of the mini piping is almost invisible

The goal is to keep the join the same diameter as the rest of the piping.

A strip of teal piping enclosed in a pink fabric

The join is the same diameter as the rest of the piping.

Even looking at it head-on, the join is pretty neat. If I wanted it a little less noticeable, I’d shortened the amount of the overlap. The piping is tiny, so it’s not a huge deal.

A join in the teal piping enclosed in pink fabric

Looking at the piping join head-on

So, what about thicker piping? I made this overlapped join on a cushion using the Mega Piping Foot and ¼” piping cord, and you can read about the technique if you wish. Just overlap the two ends and stitch off the fabric. Make the length where the two ends overlap short, so it’s less noticeable.

Two ends of green piping overlapped on a green and white fabric

Using the overlap technique to join thicker piping

The techniques highlighted today also work for purchased decorative cording, with the seam allowance attached, essentially piping. The techniques also work for packaged fabric piping.

Two strands of red cord with a fabric seam allowance

Decorative cording with a seam allowance to use as piping

Are you ready to try out the corners and the join? Dig out your piping feet and make a sample or two, and don’t forget to test out different diameters of the piping cord!

You’ll have professional-looking piping, especially when using the right tools.

With the Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 and the correct accessory feet, whether you use the clear Mini Piping Foot, the Piping Foot, or the Single Cord Welt Foot, you can do any of the above techniques with fabulous results.

Tomorrow, I’m exploring double welt, something I’ve wanted to experiment with for a long time. Who knew piping could be such an exciting and huge topic.

Have a super day!!!

Ciao!!!

This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: The beauty of perfect piping: Here’s how, PLUS tips for success

Go to part 5: What is welting? Here’s how to make it a DOUBLE and how to USE it!

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