Sewing piping into a seam is a great way of drawing attention to unusual style lines, such as the raglan seams on the Francoise dress. It’s so easy to do and can lift your dressmaking project from ordinary to extraordinary!
You can buy ready-made piping, or you can make your own by cutting a strip of fabric on the bias (ie. at a 45 degree angle to the selvedges), wrapping it around some piping cord and sewing it in place.
Here’s how to pipe a seam:
1) Cut the piping so it’s a bit longer than the seam you want to sew it to. Trim the seam allowances on the two seams that the piping will be sandwiched between so that they are the same width as the fabric part of the piping.
2) Pin the piping to the right side of one of the seams (ie. the side that will show on the outside of your garment), with the cord running along the stitching line and the raw edge of the piping aligned with the raw edge of the fabric.
3) Attach a piping foot or adjustable zip foot to your sewing machine and set the stitch length to 4mm. (You can use a regular zip foot if you don’t have a piping or adjustable zip one, but I find the latter much easier to use.) Baste/tack the fabric part of the piping to the garment within the seam allowance.
4) Re-snip any notches that have been hidden by the piping. Pin the seams of your garment together as normal, with the piping sandwiched between them, matching any notches.
5) Using the piping foot or adjustable zip foot, stitch the seams together, with the needle as close as you can get to the piping cord without sewing over it. Like, really close, which is where the piping or adjustable zip foot comes in handy because the foot doesn't get in the way of the needle – push the piping cord right up against the edge of the presser foot as you sew. If your first attempt isn’t quite close enough, no worries – just try stitching another line even closer.
6) Trim the ends of the piping, and finish your seams as normal. And you’re done!
Here's one I made earlier!