Tutorial: How to Insert Piping on a Western Shirt

I’ve begun work on my mister’s Christmas gift and I thought I would put together a quick how-to. I had originally planned on adding black piping, but I realized with the orange and black fabric and the “spider-webiness”  of the yoke design it would look Halloweenie. And by realize, I mean that I woke up in a panic thinking about how I was making a Halloween shirt for Christmas. What would Michael Kors say? Oh the horror!! The solution was simple, switch to white piping.

When you purchase store bought piping there are two sides. One that is flat and one that sticks out. You want the part that sticks out to be on the right side of your fabric. The best way to attach the piping is to hand baste it to your fabric. I have used machine basting as well as tried Wonder Tape and you just don’t have the control you need to get around tight curves. Hand stitching is the only way to have total control of where your piping will lay on the finished garment. I like to use an obvious mismatched color so that it can be removed easily later.

Once your piping is basted on and you’re ready to start sewing on your machine. It’s easiest if you switch to your zipper foot. This foot allows you to get as close as possible to the piping. Go slowly around the curves, and make sure that you always leave the needle in it’s down position whenever you lift the presser foot.

As soon as you’re are finished sewing your piping in with the machine, it’s time to pull out your handy dandy seam ripper.  I’m intimately acquainted with mine. Get to work removing your hand basting. Go slowly and try to not catch any of the fibers of your fabric.

Voilà, you have perfectly placed piping.

In sad news when I got around to basting the front band to the sew-in interfacing this is what I saw. Yikes! The bias really is stretchy. Now the band is about 2 inches longer than the pattern piece and about half an inch too thin. It’s now too skinny to work as the front band so I will have to recut those pieces tomorrow morning (yuck! I *hate* cuting). Good thing I bought a little extra fabric. I definately reached the end of my sewing patience when I saw that. Adios!