Monday, October 28, 2013

When Good Pillows Go Bad, A Lesson on Piping

This past week I decided to try two new pillow sewing projects that I'd never done before. The first one was attempting piping on a pillow. After sewing many basic pillow covers I felt ready to tackle this fabulous detail. How hard could it be right? Well...I made a few mistakes and hopefully any new sewers out there can learn some things not to do.

There are lots of tutorials out their with great details on the specifics for this type of project like this one and this one. For the most part I followed them so here is just a basic rundown of what I did.

Making the piping was very simple. I saved the cording from this curbside rescue that wasn't reused on that project. A few strips of fabric were cut on a 45 degree angle and sewn together to create one long continuous strip of fabric.

Using my zipper foot which came with the sewing machine, I sewed the fabric close to the cord.

The piping was then pinned to the front facing fabric. Little cuts on the extra piping fabric were made on the corners to allow for it to bend.

Next a basic 14" zipper was sewn onto the 2 pieces of fabric for the back of the pillow fabric. I used the same fabric as the piping since the front fabric was on the expensive side.

The front and back fabric pieces right sides facing each other were then sewed together staying as close to the piping as possible. Here is the finished pillow.

So where are the mistakes? There are 3 main things that really bother me about this pillow. First, when pinning the piping onto the leopard fabric I should have rounded the corners more. Also the piping shifted when sewing onto one of the corners. Doesn't it look like a little peninsula sticking out on the top right?

Next, I don't know what I was thinking when attaching the zipper on the two back fabrics. I sewed as close to the zipper as I could with the zipper foot attachment. That's fine with piping but not with zippers! Well, now it is so close the zipper won't lay flat under the fabric and the thread is not in a straight line. Look at this mess. Isn't it lovely? Not.

Lastly, some thread is visible if looking closely between some piping and the front fabric. In the future I would not sew quite as close when creating the piping. This would allow room for the final round of sewing and no previous stiches would peak through.

I learned a lot from creating this pillow cover. Piping is not very forgiving so take your time and be precise about placement. Go slowly when attaching zippers, it's not a race. And don't use expensive fabric when trying out new techniques.

With a little fluffing and arranging this pillow cover still looks pretty good all things considered.

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