Finding ways to reproduce elements of historic clothing can be difficult, particularly when it is unusual or when viewing or handling the garment is impractical or not allowed. Sometimes historic handsewing has produced more tricky or fiddly aspects on a garment, which can be harder with a sewing machine. And sometimes it is all about learning something that you haven’t tried before!
This weekend I spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out how to do multiple strips of piping together to form a band. I have been keen to use this on a garment I am making but working out how it might have been done (and then figuring out how I might be able to reproduce it) was quite difficult. I have detailed my efforts below.
Cut a wide bias strip in the fabric you want to have piped. Cut another strip of fabric on the grain for lining. Position your cording along the inside of the bias strip in the same way that you would for normal piping. Pin your lining strip underneath, right sides together, and sew using a zipper foot.
The lining strip is then turned under to form the “underlayer” of the band. The raw edge of the lining should be trimmed and turned inside to meet the other raw edges.
This raw edge will be caught in the next line of stitching.
Pin the next line of cording inbetween the lining and the outer fabric and sew, making sure that the fabric and cord is pushed close to the first line of piping to form a ridge.
The underneath should look like this:
Continue on in the same way, sewing the desired number of rows of piping until you have reached the last one.
Once you have reached the last row of piping you will need to trim your material. Lay your cord against the material to give yourself a guide of how much may need to be trimmed. Once the excess is cut off, fold the material over the cord, tuck the raw edge into the edge of the lining, and handsew it in place.
The band of piping is now finished!
I really like how it turned out, especially because it looks different to the normal things for sale in dressmaking and craft shops. This decorative band can be used as a thicker alternative to ribbon or as a trim on hats or costumes. I will be using this band on the new Regency spencer I am currently working on. I also plan to use something similar on this late Regency bonnet.
Sources and Relevant Links
Image Source: from Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)