The Great Piping Escape aka Saved By The Zipper Foot


It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, in my case, procrastination is the mother of invention. I have a never-ending list of future projects to sew, dozens of quilt tops waiting to be quilted, and many containers filled with half-finished quilt blocks, patterns, already cut block pieces and trims, and fabric yardage. This has caused issues when I have finished piping rolling around in the mix – similar to that of a fried onion ring coming out of it’s breading when being eaten. It’s tedious work to try shove any size piping back into several yards of folded and sewn fabric through its very small casing opening. The other options are to unpick all that sewing (who wants to do that?) or measure and cut new fabric (if you happen to still have enough). I’ve come up with a great way to keep the piping in its casing, no matter what, using my Bernina Zipper Foot. This staystitching technique also has the added benefit of halting the cut end of cotton piping from fraying any further.

I prepare my piping and fabric as normal, adding anywhere from 2 to 3 inches extra to the project’s required amount. I snap on my zipper foot and place the piping and folded edge of the fabric to the left and the cut edge to the right. I sew forward as close to the piping as possible for at least an inch then backtrack a little. While my needle is in the down position I lift the presser foot and with my right hand swivel everything up and to the right. I then lower my presser foot and sew across the piping trying not to run off. I sew backwards until my needle is back to the pivot point and I return the piping back into the normal sewing direction, then continue sewing as normal. In other attempts, I started sewing across the piping first and then down the side (the multi colored fabric piping shown in the photo) but found it took a little longer to return the sewing line tight up against the piping. Either way works, and is just a matter of preference, but I’ve found the latter to be more fidly and difficult to control. I hope my Zipper Foot technique helps keep your piping from making its great escape.

Carbonated Creations

Leave a Reply