Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fear of Piping?

Fear of Piping?

I should have been excited that the sundress dress I've been making has optional piped seams, but instead I was terrified. Piping is one of my top--if not my top--favorite garment details of all time. I love the way it calls attention to seams and outlines a piece of clothing--especially in a bright contrasting color--almost like cartooning with cloth!

But I've always been too chicken to try it, for fear it will call attention to my less than perfectly sewn seams and make them look like drunken snakes. Also, it involves cutting bias strips, which I've always managed to avoid. Some reckless sewer I am. I'm also afraid of making:

  1. Buttonholes, especially bound ones.
  2. Flat-felled anything.
  3. Boned anything.
  4. Bias anything. (Which brings me back to Fear of Piping).
  5. Pants.

And a lot more techniques and/or garments I'm deliberately not going to think too hard about right now. I do hope to conquer them all eventually but for now I'm taking it slow.

What sewing techniques do you yearn to attack but make you quake in your comfortable yet stylish boots?

P.S. I'm happy to report that my piping-free Tea Party Sundress is going to fit Ms. Z, though what she will wear it to and for how long is dubious--she's been growing like Alice in Wonderland lately. Here she is trying it on (with tape to hold it place as I've yet to attempt those terrifying buttonholes). The hem facing looks weird because it's just basted, not actually sewn or anything:

Ms. Z tries on her half-finished Tea Party Sundress.

Ms. Z tries on her half-finished Tea Party Sundress.


  1. The dress and your wee one are so adorable!

  2. i understand your apprehension, but piping is actually pretty easy! if you have a piping foot, it really does all the work for you. if you don't have a piping foot, you can use your zipper foot & push the needle over... i've also been known to use thin piping & an invisible zipper foot (and then the woman who repaired my sewing machine yelled at me for that.. psh lol).

    and bias strips aren't too bad - i was afraid of those things for yeeeears, but seriously, just take a pencil and draw your diagonal lines directly on the fabric. that will give you control when you're cutting them (as opposed to using a straight ruler & rotary cutter - that's what always tripped me up).

    i recently faced my fear of sewing pants and have been struggling along with those. my body is kind of hard to fit - short crotch, protruding butt, petite - but every little victory makes me feel unbelievably good about my sewing skills :) haha

  3. The dress looks super cute! I love piping too but admit I have been intimidated by it. But recent amazing gorgeous things I'm seeing all over the 'nets may change that.

    I'm intimidated by tailoring of any kind, welt pockets, bound buttonholes, and yes, pants. I'm still just getting the hang of zippers over here, you know?

  4. Cute dress! My areas of hesitation with regard to sewing skills are buttonholes of any kind, bias binding (I have a hard time getting it right), hook and eyes, and gathering (no problems here, I just hate to gather).

  5. Piping is so flipping fun with a piping foot. You just get pretty, perfect seams. Cartooning with cloth? That is an excellent way to look at piping! Z looks really sweet in her dress. I love the Heather Ross fabric on the bottom. I wish Ms. Heather would make something boyish--her designs are so great.

    Bound buttonholes and anything welty are pretty terrifying. I made some single welt pockets on a jacket I made for my son and they're awful. The wool is thankfully wooly enough that it's not obvious to the untrained eye, but I will not be repeating any such detail without practice.

  6. Oh, thanks everyone! that is the last thing I need, another addition to my presser foot collection--or maybe it's EXACTLY what I need.

    I do have a piping foot for my serger, actually--I should see how that works. And I have a bunch of uncovered piping too... maybe next time.

    And I have something called a "sensor buttonhole foot" that frightens me...

    And I realized I'm afraid of other things too--outerwear, especially.

  7. Very sweet dress!

    OK, I did piping for the first time and with much apprehension back in September. It was SO much easier - unbelievably easier - than I thought, that now I have about 10 projects in my brain that demand piping. I just used my narrow zipper foot so I could stitch close to it. Slithery fabrics on the bias are tricky, but nice stable wovens are not so bad IMHO. You can also buy piping in lots of notions shops in NYC (Pacific Trimming for one).

    I also did my first boned garment over the summer and that too was easier than I thought. That said, I am currently struggling with button holes.

    Nice to see you back in the blogosphere!


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