Wednesday, April 14, 2010


(I don't know why this picture keeps being loaded sideways, sorry)

This is how I do piping for my pillows and around the furniture cushions.

First of all you need to cut your fabric on the bias, this aides in bending around curves and corners. I have used piping cut on the straight or cross grain in a pinch or if you like the pattern better on the straight grain, but it's a little harder to handle. That's in pictures 1 and 2.

I use Coats and Clark Knit Cro Sheen for the inside of the piping. It's a crochet thread, I think a pretty standard size. I am sorry I can't tell you a size number. Just remember, you are in miniature don't go too big. Cut the crochet thread a little longer that what you need. I use a fabric glue, tacky would be all right to use. Picture 3.

Apply glue to the bias edge of the fabric. Spread out to about a quarter of an inch. If you get any on your table, wipe off. Press the crochet thread into the glue on the very edge of the fabric. Picture 4.

In picture 5 you see that I have turned the fabric around to roll the edge towards me. Make sure you keep the crochet thread at the edge, don't let it move forward. Roll the fabric and thread just so the edge touches the other side of the fabric, don't overlap. Picture 5.

Turn the fabric over and use your thumbnail or fingernail to press very close to the crochet thread. Pictures 6 and 7 show this.

Cut with sharp scissors very close to this pressed edge, snuggle up close to the roll. Lay the piping onto scrap fabric to do the next step. We want to piping to be round. DON'T roll it in your fingers, this will sometimes make the seam spiral around the crochet thread. I will admit on some fabrics this wouldn't matter, but on most it does. I want you to lay it on the fabric, the fabric is for friction to get the piping to roll. Use a couple of fingers or the heel of your hand and roll the piping back and forth only for a half of an inch, just short strokes or the seam will spiral. Press the fabric into the glue. Pictures 8 and 9.

That's the piping. I have used cloth covered florist's wire for the inside of the piping, too. You can bend the piping to stay in place while gluing.

The next pictures are of how I make a pillow.

I cut a piece of card stock the size of pillow I want, this was 1 1/4". I trace around the card stock. Pictures 10 and 11.

I then cut out the fabric adding a seam allowance, don't cut on your drawn line or your pillow will be smaller. Cut a front and back. The drawn line now becomes the guide line to sew on. Picture 12.

I sew my pillows by hand, I think the machine goes too fast for miniatures. I leave a little opening on one side. Don't knot off the thread. Run your needle through one layer of fabric to that it comes out between the two sides of the pillow. Picture 13.

I trim the sides and corners. I apply a dot of glue to each corner on each side so the corners won't blow out when I turn the pillow to the right side. Picture 14.

I apply a line of glue along the sewing guide line on the opening, both sides. Fold the seam allowance down to seal. Picture 15.

Turn the pillow out to the right side, I use forceps. Pull your corners out, you can do this by inserting your needle between the layers of fabric, catch the sewing thread and work the corner out. Don't catch the fabric or you might blow the corner. I am sorry I don't have a picture of this, I was alone when I photographed all of this.

Now for the big secret, are you ready? Nobody is looking over your shoulder are they? I fill my pillows with polystyrene balls. Tiny, tiny, as small as the head of a pin or smaller. A couple of years ago pillows filled with this were popular, they were usually covered in a very, very stretchy knit. When you felt these pillows you couldn't keep from squishing them. I don't see these pillows around anymore. I found one at the Goodwill store. I haven't gone on the Internet, yet. Depending on the fabric you use, pillows filled with these balls can get pretty scrunchy. You can fill your pillows with stuffing, some people use sand or seeds to get them to "set" right. Sew the opening closed.

Apply a thin line of glue in the pillow seam and press the piping into the glue. Picture 16.

The last picture is of the pillow setting on a sample of the last custom piece I made. Picture 17.

I hope you all make some piping! Let me know if you need any help. TTYL Kris

P.S. This does not work on all fabrics, you have try them out. I was making a couple of chairs from plain old cotton broadcloth and thinking that I was going to use the piping. Piping generally works on plain old cotton broadcloth, I don't know if it was me, the fabric or the moon and stars, but I was not going to get piping from that fabric. I had to use the old stand by, twisted embroidery floss. Another thing, when you are finishing the piping, rolling it, try rolling it just towards you or away from, which ever is comfortable for you. Sometimes you need to just roll in one direction to keep it from twisting too much. You can't keep it from twisting. Kris