Sometimes you need just one little addition to trim a project. Piping is a great finish to pillows, children's collars, and--in this case--A Christmas stocking. Satin piping is getting harder for me to find, so I decided to take some scrap fabric and some rat tail I had on hand to finish off this cross stitch project for my beautiful daughter-in- law.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
For the piping to trim a stocking, I'm using a 14" square of leftover satin and some nylon rat tail I had in my sewing bucket. I'll use white thread and my sewing machine. I wouldn't recommend doing this by hand. Ever. Under any circumstances.
Step 2: Cut Bias Strips
The magic of piping is its ability to bend around corners. That works only if the fabric is cut on the bias. To get a bias strip, fold the fabric diagonally. Cut the diagonal fold and measure a 1.25" width for the strips. Cut the length of the diagonal. I wanted a long strip of satin, so rather than rue the fact that I didn't have a big piece of fabric, I cut several strips to be sewed together.
Step 3: Make a Long Strip
My brain doesn't process things like diagonal cuts attached at right angles to make a straight strip, so I always have to play around with this step. I can't even describe it, so the photos will have to suffice. Match your strips the way I have here and you'll be fine. I sewed three of the pieces together and had plenty; the number of strips you have to sew together will depend on your project and the amount of fabric you have to work with.
Step 4: Make the Piping
Place the rat tail (you can use cotton cording; for other projects I've even used twine) in the middle of the wrong side of the fabric. Fold the fabric over and match the edges to give you an even piping product to work with. I used the zipper foot on my sewing machine and adjusted the needle to give a snug fit to the rat tail. Then sew the length of your strip, using a medium length stitch.
Step 5: Attach the Piping
Sew the piping to your project, staying right on the stitching you made as you sewed the piping. This will keep your lines clean and really sharpen the finished look. Clip the fabric edge when you need to work around curves. Finish your project by adding the backing, and enjoy a polished look!