Piping is a really yummy and professional looking way to trim your bags, cushions and collars etc. Another benefit to adding piping to your bags is that it injects even more colour in a subtle but striking way, and piping also add a bit of stability to the opening and sides of your bags ...
To make a piped (or as our US crafting cousins call it, Corded) edge you first have to get you hands of some bias binding tape. Bias binding is cut on the bias so the binding can be applied to curvy edges without wrinkling up. You can either buy packs of cotton or satin bias binding, or you can make your own groovy bias binding tape from your chosen fabrics, it's worth the effort because the results often look stunning.
After getting some bias binding tape together, you need some piping (cording). As a general rule the larger the bag, or bag detail that you are applying the piping to, the thicker the piping needs to be.
NB: PLEASE READ 1ST!! Before we begin this little tutorial, I just wanted to say that on this occasion:
I have not made my own bias binding. I have used a piece of ribbon that I have been dying to use for ages because of the luscious colour.
It's also worth noting that the edge that I wanted to apply the piping to is straight so there are no curvy edges to apply the piping to - this is good because ribbon is not cut on the bias,
Perhaps the most important thing is that this ribbon is really narrow (there's not much clearance left after it has a piece of piping inside it). This will make my piping a bit of A NIGHTMARE to work with, but that's OK because I'm a lunatic, and I've used piping lots. Your binding tape should be a bit wider than the ribbon I have used so you don't end up pulling your hair out!
Here is a pocket-to-be with a scrumptious piped edge on it. I knew that piece of ribbon was going to come in handy... The yummy fabric is this.
Here's How I Put It Together
As much shop bought or homemade Bias Binding tape as you need to trim your pocket, the top & sides, etc. - use a tape measure to measure the length of the part of the bag you want to pipe and add another 5" (13cm) for luck.
The same amount of Piping Cord (Cording) as bias binding.
1. Make up your piping - lay your piping cord down the centre of your opened bias binding (or in my case ridiculously narrow satin ribbon, fold in half, and pin in place.
Wrap your piping and pin as shown. How narrow is this??? 'Gadzooks, is she insane???' I hear you cry... Ideally your bias binding will have at least 3/8" (1cm) clearance from the piping to the bias binding edge.
2. Baste the piping to the bias binding - get your zipper foot out to play. Position the piping just under the foot like I have in the picture...
...right we want our piping cord to be tight and snug into the binding BUT when we baste the piping we mustn't stitch too close to the piping cord (i.e. too far to the left) or our basting stitches will show up in the finished product (you'll see what I mean later). I have positioned my needle a couple of mms to the right for this very purpose, this way the piping is tucked in reasonably tight, but my basting stitches can now be concealed later on.
As I'm sewing my basting stitches I'm using my finger to keep the piping from escaping from under the zipper foot...steady as she goes; take your time.
This should be the result - I know you can't really see that well in the photo, but there is a 2mm space between the piping cord and the basting stitches, that's important for later on. Normal people (like yourselves) will of course have used wider bias binding tape so you will have more tape to play with to the right of the basting stitches!
3. Baste your piping to your bag part - in my case the top edge of my bag pocket. Lay your basted piping onto your bag part, pin, and baste as shown.
I'm still using my zipper foot and I'm making my basting stitches just to the right of my previous basting stitches...oooeerr, tight fit isn't it? Do the same, baste just to the right of your previous stitching.
4. Pin your lining (or other bag part, this for instance, could be the other half of the exterior bag if you wanted a piped edge between the front and back of your bag) to the basted bag part- lay your lining (or other bag part) wrong side up onto the top edge of your basted bag part (in my case the top edge of my pocket). Ensure the top edges of the layers meet and pin as shown.
I'm getting rather nervous now, look how little fabric there is for my seam allowance; there's more room on rush hour Japanese subway train! Lay your lining (or other bag fabric piece) wrong side up onto the top edge of the basted bag part and pin.
5. Sew piping - still using your zipper foot, position your sewing underneath the foot as in steps 2 & 3.
Get your finger out (as in step 2) to butt the piping close to your needle, this will make sure your stitching is as close to the piping as possible. This time we want to position our needle as close to the piping as we can without actually sewing right thru the piping, this will hopefully ensure a snug fir for our piping cord and will conceal our basting stitches...now do you see why our basting stitches made in step 2 needed to be 2 mms away from the piping cord?
Use you fingers and feel your way thru to the piping, to make any adjustments to the position of the piping underneath our fabric, and take your time! Flip your lining (or other bag part fabric piece) over and press.
Ta da!! One piped edge (and no nasty basting stitches in sight!)