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Hot Pockets! Part 2- Adding Flat Piping to a Pocket

Hello everyone! My name is Kelle and I usually blog at, but I have paired with Amelia Lane Designs to bring you a series of pocket tips! Pockets in our house are necessary, but also provide the unique opportunity to add a little design element to handmade garments. I plan to share tips on matching prints for inset pockets, matching prints for patch pockets, adding flat piping, and adding faux piping.

One of my favorite additions to pockets is piping. It adds a little pop of color, helps set off the edge of a pocket and- don’t tell- but can also help hide slight imperfections in print matching. Plus, it looks super impressive and everyone will think you are a sewing master.

Traditional piping is actually a thin cord covered in fabric which is used to decorate clothing and reinforce seams. This can be purchased in retail stores or online. It’s great to have on hand for sewing projects and I often keep a few basic colors in my sewing kit. However, colors are definitely limited. And prints? Very difficult to find unless you want to make your own. Also traditional piping is made from woven fabric. This can be used with knit garments, but requires a little extra effort to conform to curves without stretching the knit.

But I have an alternative for you… and if you sew regularly, I bet you always have some on hand! It’s referred to as flat piping, which is simply piping without the cord. And what is piping without the cord? A folded piece of fabric. That’s it. If you keep any scraps on hand, you have the materials to make flat piping.

My favorite types of knit material are ones that a bit sturdier, but not thick, such as cotton lycra or double brushed poly. However, this is a place you can experiment with any scraps you may have on hand.

There are a couple things you need to know before you make your piping. First, the seam allowance of the pattern you are sewing. Generally, I prefer my piping to extend 1/8 inch from the seam. This is obviously a personal choice and you can experiment with different amounts. However, we will be using my preference because this is my blog post. Ha ha!

Take the seam allowance (we’ll use 3/8 inch as an example), add 1/8 inch, and that would be 1/2 inch. But…. don’t cut yet! Because we are folding this fabric strip in half, we need to cut a strip that is double this width! And because we used some easy math, 1/2 inch doubled would be 1 inch.

For length, you can roughly measure the opening where you are applying piping with a tape measure, or do like I do and just cut a strip the width of the fabric. Then you have plenty and may even have more left over for a different project!

If the piping is made of knit fabric, I cut the strips with stretch going with the longest measurement. If the piping is woven fabric, it should be cut on the bias to incorporate a little stretch when conforming to curves. In this example, I will be using knit fabric.

After you have cut your strip, match the raw edges and iron the strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Ta da! Flat piping.

To add flat piping to a pocket, simply line up the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the pocket curve. I baste my piping on with a long stitch slightly less than the seam allowance. In this example, I’d baste 1/4 inch from the edge.

Pin and sew (using the seam allowance of the pattern) the pocket facing to the pocket curve, with the piping sandwiched in between. Press the pocket facing to the back. Topstitch along the curve and you will have a lovely piped pocket, made from scraps!

In this example, the pattern used was the Love Notions Maxxine Pants. The main fabric is Amelia Lane Designs' Layton liverpool with bright coral double-brushed poly for the piping.

I also used flat piping in these 5 out of 4 Diane joggers made from Amelia Lane Designsnavy houndstooth scuba. Besides the pockets, I also added flat piping to the back yoke and the waistband. Love the detail it adds!

And you may notice the topic of our next Hot Pocket installment, matching prints on patch pockets. Stay tuned.

Missed the first installment of Hot Pockets about Matching Prints on Inset Pockets? Catch up here.

Any questions? Ask below and I’ll do my best to answer!

This post contains affiliate links.  When clicking these links, there is no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission which helps fund my further sewing adventures.  

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