4.16.2014

How to Sew Piping (or Trim) onto a Sleeve

I love using piping or trim in my sewing.  I've added it to necklines, bodices, and faux cap sleeves.  {This tutorial offers a great explanation on how to do it.}  But sleeves are different.  The technique for adding piping or trim to necklines and bodices doesn't work for sleeves.

When I wanted to add piping to the sleeves of this dress, I googled how to do it.   But there wasn't a lot out there.  So I created my own technique.  It was easy and came together beautifully.  I thought I'd share how I did it here, in case you were looking, too.

1.  In order to avoid the trim showing on the inside of the sleeve, you'll need to either create a hem facing for the sleeve or line it.  I chose to line the sleeve with a lightweight fabric which matched my main fabric.

Simply cut 2 sleeves in your main fabric and 2 in your lining fabric using your sleeve pattern piece.

how to add piping to a sleeve


 2.  Next you will baste your piping onto your main fabric aligning the raw edges.  But first let's talk about seam allowances for a moment.

Here's a piping tip: Anytime I sew piping onto anything, I trim the seam allowance of the piping to match the seam allowance of the pattern.   For example, if I'm using a pattern with a 3/8" seam allowance, I will trim the seam allowance of my piping to 3/8".  That way I can line up the raw edges of the fabric with the piping, making it a breeze to sew on, while still being precise.

In this case, the sleeve was finished with a 5/8" narrow hem, which matched the seam allowance of my piping exactly.


how to add piping to a sleeve



 3.  After you've sewn on the piping, fold your sleeve in half, right sides together and sew the side seam.  Doing this will enclose the raw edges of your piping.  Then you can trim the piping (and seam allowance, if you wish) to reduce bulk.  Repeat with the sleeve lining.

how to add piping to a sleeve


4.  Turn your main sleeve fabric wrong side out and place your sleeve lining inside it so the right sides are together.  Match the seams and notches (if applicable).  Then sew the sleeve to the lining along the sleeve edge, sewing as close to the piping cording as you can.  I like to use a zipper foot for this step, but if you don't have one, it can be done with a regular foot.  Just be sure that you sew very close to the cording of your piping.

how to add piping to a sleeve



5.  Turn the sleeve right side out and check to be sure you sewed close enough to the piping cording.  Sometimes I have to go back and get a little bit closer to the cording in certain spots.  When it looks good to you, you can trim the seam allowance to 1/4" if you'd like. 

how to add piping to a sleeve
how to add piping to a sleeve


6.  Then turn your sleeve right side out and press.  To retain the shape of the sleeve and avoid creases you could use a tailor's ham.  But I just roll up some fabric or a dishtowel, place it inside the sleeve, and press.  That's works well for me.

hide and seek dress sleeve


And there you have it - two piped and lined sleeves!

how to add piping to a sleeve
hide and seek dress

8 comments:

  1. Yes! When I saw this dress, I wondered if you had lined or faced the sleeves. I have thought that you could use simple bias strips as a facing, but lining is even cleaner and then you don't have to hand sew it down or machine sew it. I love this detail - so sweet.

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  2. What a great tutorial! Helpful to have the accompanying pictures too, as I'm learning I'm a visual learner:) I need to become braver with adding piping and trim to my sewing - looking at your outfits and reading this tutorial inspire me!

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    1. Thanks, Lucinda! What a nice thing to say! Adding trim is so much fun - and a little bit addictive, too. ;)

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  3. Thanks, Rachel - this is so great! I've been meaning to attempt this after seeing yours, and now I have no excuses :)

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  4. This is fantastic! I'm still in love with the mint piping/hounds tooth combo!

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  5. Thanks for the tutorial and the links on how to add piping. One of these days I'll give it a try!

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  6. Thank you so much! I've recently lost 115 pounds very quickly, and have been scrambling to put together a wardrobe. I bought a beautiful, printed dress, and the "matching" cropped blazer later. The jacket is a bright red with a single hook and eye and metallic dot embellishment at the collar....very pretty, and the print does have the same color in it, but it's not very pronounced. The solid jacket, either closed or open, totally overwhelms the print. I'd just go without, but my arms are very saggy and hideous.

    Given the metallic detailing and bold print, the whole ensemble is already somewhat busy. So...to get to the point {sorry}...I was trying to think of a way I could use the excess fabric from the dress after I take it in as a trim on the jacket to tie the two together and balance the overpowering red--but it has to be fairly subtle to avoid adding to the business.

    YOUR IDEA IS PERFECT!! THANKS SO MUCH for restoring my sanity! At least in part. Truth be told, insanity is kind a normal state of being for me, but your idea does help me feel less frantic and more organized. :)

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