Faux piping is also known as flat piping
In this post I’ll show you how to make your own faux piping and how to sew it into a seam 3 different ways.
For this tutorial I’m using my sewing pattern A Skirt for All Seasons for the 18″ dolls to make the faux piping (flat piping) as I thought it would be easier to demonstrate and photograph as it’s much smaller than my women’s A Skirt for All Seasons sewing pattern.
A Skirt for All Seasons is a great sewing pattern to have fun with adding flat / faux piping due to having 2 front and 2 back seams. You could if you like just sew the faux piping to the 2 front seams or to both the 2 front and the 2 back seams. I actually quite like having the faux piping on both the front and the back of the skirt.
The best thing about making your own faux piping is you can let your imagination run wild as your fabric choices are limitless!! You can choose coordinating fabrics, a contrast fabrics, or even the same fabric as the project you are making.
How to prepare, measure, and cut your fabric to cut bias strips to make faux piping
Measure how wide to cut the bias strips.
NOTE: If your seams are perfectly straight you can cut the fabric strips along the grain of the fabric instead of on the bias. But if any of your seams have a curve (even a slight curve) then I highly recommend cutting the fabric strips on the bias as you’ll get a much smoother finish.
– Determine how wide the seam allowance is where the faux piping is being used. In my example on the Skirt for All Seasons for 18″ dolls the seam allowance is 1/4″ (6mm)
– Determine how wide you want the faux piping to be. In my example I used 1/4″ (6mm)
– Add the seam allowance 1/4″ (6mm) to the faux piping allowance 1/4″ (6mm) = 1/2″ (12mm) and times this by 2 as the fabric faux piping is folded over. 2 x 1/2″ (12mm) = 1″ (24mm)
– Formula is (Seam Allowance ___ + Width of Faux Piping ___ ) x 2 = Cut Width of Bias Strip ___
For my example I cut my bias strips 1″ wide
Prepare and cut the fabric into bias strips
Before we cut into our fabric we need to find the true bias grain of our fabric. We can do this in a couple of ways.
Use the selvage edge of the fabric as a guide and fold up the side of the fabric at a 45 degree angle.
Or use a quilting ruler with 45 degree angle markings.
Or a cutting mat with a 45 degree angle line
I followed the same steps as above to prepare my fabric and cut off the folded fabric piece to make my fabric strips.
The following step is not necessary but I find it helpful if you’re working with a bigger piece of fabric. Fold the fabric in half lining up the folded edges on top of each other. Now you’ll have a smaller piece of fabric to work with to cut your strips.
Cut off the folded edges of the fabric. Here I’ve cut off approximately 1/4″ (6mm).
How to join fabric strips together to sew faux piping
If your fabric strips aren’t long enough for the section of the garment you are sewing them into you can easily join the fabric strips together.
To join the strips all you need to do is to lay one strip on top of the other with right sides of the fabric facing and pin and stitch as shown below.
TIP: If you find it easier to ensure you stitch a straight line going from corner to corner draw your self a guide as shown in the image below.
Sew the two strips together from corner to corner as shown below
Trim the seam to 1/4″ (6mm)
Press seam open and trim off the little ears so they’re level with the fabric strip. For this example I just finger pressed the seam open.
Next up fold and press the strip/s in half with wrong sides together.
TIP: Be careful not to stress your fabric… it will stretch quite easily when it’s been cut on the bias.
To make it easy to identify the wrong and the right side of the fabric I’m using I’ve marked the wrong sides of the fabric with chalk. This way you’ll be able to see which side of the fabric I’m attaching the faux piping to as I’m sewing.
I’m using 2 of the skirt panels from A Skirt for All Seasons for the 18″ dolls
Stitch/baste the faux piping to the fabric just inside the seam allowance. This will secure the faux piping in place so it doesn’t move.
TIP: What I like to do is place the fabric lined up for the actual seam allowance I’m using (in this case 1/4″) and then move my needle position a few clicks over towards the right so the needle sits inside the seam allowance which I’ll use as a stitching guide in the next step.
Faux piping basted to skirt panel (stitching just inside seam allowance)
Place the next skirt panel on top of the skirt panel with a faux piping with right sides of the fabric together and raw edges lined up.
The faux piping will be sandwiched in between.
Flip over the sandwiched skirt panels so you can see the previous stitching line. We’re going to sew on this side to ensure the basting stitches won’t be visible when the skirt panels are turned out to the right side.
Stitch the two skirt panels together using your seam allowance. I’m using the 1/4″ seam allowance which is approximately 1/16″ (1mm) on the left side of the existing stitching line.
Open up the two skirt panels and admire your fabulous faux piping 🙂
Press the seam allowance to one side. For this skirt I’m pressing the seam allowance towards the side seam of the skirt.
I repeated the same steps to add another strip of faux piping other front skirt panel.
Finish the raw edges with either a zig zag stitch or serger (here I’ve shown both seam finishes)
Another option is to sew the skirt panels together using a serger if you have one.
To do this method I still baste the faux piping to one of the skirt panels before serging the two skirt panels together as this ensures the faux piping strip doesn’t move out of place.
Place the two skirt panels together with right sides facing and serge. Be sure to use the correct seam allowance along the length of the seam. This will ensure the right amount of faux piping is exposed on the right side of the fabric. Here I’m using my 1/4″ seam allowance on my Babylock Evolution serger.
Serged seam finished using 1/4″ seam allowance
Press the seam allowance towards the side seam
Repeat the same process for the other front skirt panel.
Another option is to sew the two skirt panels together sandwiching the faux piping in between in one go without basting the faux piping first
TIP: If you’re new to sewing or embellishing seams I would recommend basting the faux piping first so as it doesn’t accidentally slip and move out of alignment on you.
Here you can see one seam that I used the serger to sew the two panels together (the bottom seam) and the other (the top seam) sandwiching the faux piping between the two panels in one go without basting. The main thing to getting an even finish with the exposed faux piping is to keep the all the raw edges evenly aligned and the same seam allowance distance along the seam you are sewing.
And here’s my gorgeous Australian Girl doll Belle wearing her Skirt for All Seasons made in this tutorial. She doesn’t seem to mind that the inside of her skirt two different seam finishes LOL. To make it up to her I made a cute little reversible crop top to complete the outfit and I think she looks adorable wearing it :). I also added the faux piping to the 2 centre back seams as well so it’s just as pretty from the back as it is from the front.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful especially if you are fairly new to embellishing seams with faux piping.
Oh by the way I’ve used this same technique to embellish the seams on my women’s skirt sewing pattern A Skirt For All Seasons too and I love it!!
If you have any other tutorials you would like me to share with you please let me know in the comments below.