Self-piping or self-cording is a length of cotton cording covered with your own fabric to help create a custom look. This can be the same fabric as your project or a contrasting fabric. Most often you will find this trim on pillows, slipcovers and furniture. Here you see it as plaid piping on the dog print pillow.
(The Labrador silhouette pillow – Serena and Lily.)
The cotton cording I am using here is on the small side. I think the size is 6/32. I think. To cover the cording with enough fabric left over for a 1/2″ seam, I cut my fabric 2″ wide.
Occasionally the finished seam allowance has to be trimmed slightly in order to create the 1/2″ seam allowance. I’d rather trim off the excess than cut it too small and not have enough.
When cutting fabric to cover cording, it is always best to cut on the bias. That is, to cut it diagonally across the fabric. This gives the fabric a little “stretch”. Fabric cut straight tends to “bunch” as you sew, if being used for self-piping.
Another great thing about cutting on the bias is when using a stripe, check or plaid you get a completely different look with your piping. Pretty cool!
Using a seam ripper, carefully open the seam of the end of your piping exposing the cording. Match up the length of cotton cording with the beginning of your piping. Being careful NOT to cut the fabric, cut the cording to fit tight against the beginning piece.
Fold fabric, lengthwise back over cotton cording to cover end. Fold together and continue with zipper foot to finish the end of your piping. Complete opposite end of piping with same procedure.