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5 Tips for Sewing Piping to Neckline

pink piping on bodice neck back
As I show-off in my Pink Brocade Peplum top, piping can be a really fun way to spice up a neckline. It can add an extra bit of polish or help bring out a contrast color. You can find a great variety of colors and sizes of pipings in the upholstery section of your fabric store. Here I have an selection of tips for how to get the perfect piping insertion!

pink edge of piping

1. Pink the raw edge of your piping. Upholstery piping often comes on a very wide tape. You don’t need all of the width to get a stable insertion and you don’t want that extra fabric stiffening up your neckline. While you can use standard shears, I recommend trimming it with your pinking shears because it makes the edge of the piping tape less likely to show through as a crease on the right side of your fabric.

stay stitch neckline

2. Stay stitch your neckline. This is something that you should technically do on most projects, but it’s really easy to overlook. In this case, don’t overlook it! It’s easy to stretch the neckline out without stay stitching and the weight of the piping on a stretched neck will make it gap-ey and obviously misshapen. I staystitched at a scant 5/8″ (meaning just less than 5/8″ as my seam allowance was 5/8″) and at 3/8″.

lots of pins on piping neckline

3. Pin the piping in place, paying attention to ease. Again, this is probably something that’s really obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. I often don’t pin things or use minimal pins, but in this case it’s really important to pin the heck out of your piping. You want to have the piping barely tenser than the fabric so that the neckline doesn’t gape and instead gently curves in. Be careful not to add too much tension to the piping or it will look like your fabric gathers into the neckline.

sew piping with zipper foot4. Sew the piping on using your zipper foot. You want your stitching to be as close to the edge of the piping as possible and a zipper foot with the needle moved over is an easy way to do this.

lined bodice top with piping

5. Sew a facing or lining into your top. To ensure that the tape on your piping won’t show at all, line your top or use a facing. After sewing on your piping, you can sew your lining (or facing) on using the same seam, with fabric and lining right sides together and the piping in between them. I strongly recommend sewing the piping and then the lining instead of trying to do them together.

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