For quite a while now I’ve been telling the students in my Mariner’s Compass workshops that I would do a blog tutorial on a fun technique for using corded piping to attach circles to a background. Once I made my 60 degree compasses – I knew it was time!
To begin you’ll need 1 1/4″ bias strips – last week’s post should be helpful concerning this – click here if you’d like to access it again.
You’ll also need cording to fill the piping. Cordings like this are sold at your local craft store in a variety of sizes. People also use yarn, drapery gimp, perle cotton, etc.. It all depends on the size you want your corded piping to be. For this project I used rayon rattail because I had a bunch leftover from a previous art quilt challenge and it was just the right size (it’s being red, like the cording I was making, was a happy coincidence).
Corded piping can be made using a piping or zipper foot for your machine. I find that the zipper foot can be a bit squirrely, and many machines don’t come with a piping foot. For this project I grabbed the buttonhole foot that came with my old Bernina (foot #3). It worked like a charm.
My cording was just the right size to fit into the groove on the left. I folded the bias strip in half and inserted the cording into the crease. Then I placed it under my machine and adjusted my needle to stitch snuggly against the cording.
With the needle down I ran my thumbnail along the cording to make a nice crease (a great tip I learned from Ricky Timms), And gently continued to crease the fabric as I sewed:
Once I had made enough corded piping for my needs, it was time to trim. I absolutely love Susan Cleveland’s “Grooving Piping Trimming Tool”. It will trim a 1/4″ or 1/2″ seam allowance almost effortlessly.
The corded portion fits into the groove on the bottom of the tool, the excess fabric is trimmed with a rotary cutter, then the strip is simply pulled under the tool to trim the next portion – quick and easy!
Since I had six circles to pipe, I need a lot of piping:
When the piecing of my compasses was complete, I trimmed the seam allowance around the outer edge to 1/4″:
I removed the first 1 1/2″ of stitching on the corded piping and placed it, raw edges even, along the right side of the compass. I made sure my beginning/ending join wouldn’t be on top of a seam. I began stitching 1 1/2″ from the end of the piping, leaving the end free for the joining step, and sewed it on with the same foot to keep everything in place. You’ll be sewing on top of the previous stitching.
When I reached the start, I stopped stitching 2″ from the beginning stitches, cut the piping 1″ past the end of the beginning tail, and removed 1 1/2″ of the corded piping stitching to expose the cording, as I did with the beginning tail.
Next I laid both ends in place so I could trim the cording ends to butt up with one another (be careful not to snip the fabric when you do this – ask me how I know ?).
Fold in a 1/4″ hem on the beginning tail.
Lay the bias strip against the circle, place the ending bias strip evenly on top of it, and allow the cording ends to meet (butt).
Fold the strips in place and pin.
Finish stitching the piping to the circle.
Fold the seam allowance to the back of the circle so the corded portion sits at the outer edge.
Pin the circle onto a background fabric and stitch in the ditch between the circle and the piping to attach it. I used the same foot for this step too.
And it’s done!
At this point I cut away the background fabric from behind, 1/4″ from the stitching to expose the paper pieced pattern, and removed all the paper.
There are so many great advantages to this technique: no hand-stitching needed, it works with any circle or other gently curving shape, and it adds a spectacular effect!
Next week I’ll share how I put the wedges together and finished the project!