We’re so excited to officially kick off our Crimson & Clover Train Cases Sew Along with the lovely Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness! If you don’t have your pattern yet, there’s still time. Grab it now and join us next week for tips on sewing with handbag zippers. This week, we’ll be covering piping which helps define the train case shape AND provides a clean, professional finish. The technique outlined below explains how to make and attach piping to the train cases and any bag pattern. Take it away, Sara!
To get started making your own piping, you will need:
- 1-1/2″ wide strips cut on the bias (that is, cut on a 45 degree angle – most quilting rulers have this measurement on them). The strips, combined, need to equal the area that you want to cover
- 5/32″ cotton cording, as long as the area that you want to cover
- Pellon Wonder Under paper-backed fusible web tape (or you can use Wonder Under yardage and cut 1/2″ strips)
- Prepared and interfaced fabric for your bag (the front and back of the bag, or the side panels of the bag – for my example, I am applying the piping to the front and back of the bag.)
1. First, you will want to assemble your bias strips. Because I am sewing a bag that has a 1/2″ seam allowance, I have already done the measurements with the 5/32″ cotton cording, and you will need 1-1/2″ wide strips. If you already know to make your own bias tape, you can skip the first two steps. Because you cut the fabric on the bias (so that it has a slight stretch), you cannot just sew the strips end to end. So here I am aligning the strips, right sides together, at a 90 degree angle. You can see by my stitching that I am sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance at an angle.
2. After sewing the two strips, trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. Continue piecing strips in this manner until you have the length you need (for my example, the sides and the bottom of my bag is the area that I want to cover; I measured that and it comes out to 24″. Feel free to make longer strips, it is always better to have more than what you need. I’ve pieced two 24″ bias strips to cover the front and back of my bag).
3. With your iron, fuse the Wonder Under strip to the WRONG SIDE of the top half of your bias tape. The bumpy/tacky side should go face down. Give it a good fuse (several seconds on each segment).
4. Remove the paper from the Wonder Under (I use my finger to pry free at one corner). VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that the Wonder Under is completely cooled before completing this step. If you’re in a rush and don’t let it cool, it will be very difficult to pull the paper cleanly away from the fabric.
5. Lay the cotton cording in the center of the bias tape, then gently fold the long ends of the bias so that the fabric is wrong sides together, making sure to match up both long edges. Using your iron, start at one end and iron slowly, pressing the tip of your iron right against the cotton cording so that it is very snug in the middle of the bias tape.
6. This is what your piping should look like after it’s been ironed. The adhesive from the Wonder Under will hold the cording in place.
7. Now take out the fabric piece that you would like to apply the piping to. In my case, I have already interfaced this owl fabric. I would like my piping to clear the seam allowance at the top, and so I have pinned it so that the last 1/2″ at the top left corner and the last 1/2″ at the top right corner have the piping veering off the edge of the fabric.
8. Sew the piping in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Because my cording is already snug inside the bias tape, there is no need to sew any closer. This is more or less a basting stitch to temporarily hold the piping in place until the rest of the bag is assembled. I used my regular sewing machine foot for this step.
9. In the next step, I will be sewing the front and back of the bag to the side panel as directed in the pattern. Because I’m using a 1/2″ seam allowance and my bias and cording math have already been done for me (by me, lol), all you need to do to get a nice and tight piping is follow that seam allowance. Some sewing machines come with a piping foot, but because my bags use interfacing (in this case, Soft and Stable), I wouldn’t be able to feel the piping through the interfacing even if I did have a piping foot.
10. This photo is the front of the bag from the previous step (right) and the side panel that I am attaching the bag to. See the piping wedged in between?
11. And here’s what the piping looks like when the side panel has been added to the bag. Nice and smooth, right? The beauty of using this method is that the piping looks clean and you can’t see the basting stitches (before I tried the Wonder Under, I was basting the cording in place with my zipper foot, as close to the cording as I could get. Sometimes that results in visible cording stitches in the finished bag).
Join us next week for tips on sewing with handbag zippers! There still time to join – grab the pattern here to get started!
Week 3: Crimson & Clover Sew Along