Keeping things on the straight and narrow just got a whole lot easier. The Janome Narrow Piping Foot is designed for piping with a cord diameter of about 3mm or less. It can be used to create beautiful narrow piping tape in your choice of custom fabric as well as to then attach that tape along an edge by simply guiding the fabric through the foot. In addition, it works perfectly to attach packaged narrow piping.

The foot is designed for Janome machines with a top loading bobbin and a 9mm stitch width. It is specifically engineered for light to medium-weight fabrics, like batiste, quilting cottons, and voile. 

Here at S4H, we love the “outlining effect” piping can add to a project, such as on the edges of a pillow, the perimeter of a pouch, or as a decorative dividing line in a bag or tote (as highlighted in our backpack sample). 

If you’re a garment sewer, piping is often the go-to finish for collars, lapels, princess seams, and pockets. Because of its narrow sizing, this foot is definitely one heirloom sewers will appreciate for intricate embellishments, like the delicate collar of a christening gown or party dress. Our sample below features tone-on-tone piping with contrasting topstitching around a tiny collar on the sweetest floral frock.

The Janome Narrow Piping Foot has two tunnels on the underside of the foot to guide the cording. The line of stitching is placed to the left or the right of the cording depending on which tunnel is used. The two tunnels also allow a line of topstitching to be stitched along a piped edge. 

As mentioned above, a narrow foot means narrow cord. The recommendation is approximately 3mm or less. Our samples were made with 3/32″ (2.4mm) cording.

Using the foot to create custom piping tape

  1. Cut your chosen fabric into bias strips two-times the width of the seam allowance plus the diameter of the cord. Using this formula with our selected ½” seam allowance, we cut our lightweight strips at 1¼”. The length would, of course, be determined by the project on which the piping is being sewn.
  2. Attach the Narrow Piping Foot. 
  3. Set up the machine with all purpose thread in the bobbin and the needle. The stitch length used in our sample was 2.4mm.
  4. Cut a length of cording to match the length of your bias strip.
  5. Wrap the bias strip around the cord, wrong sides together. Align the raw edges.  
  6. Place the wrapped cord under the Narrow Piping Foot, using the tunnel on the right, which means the aligned raw edges of the bias strip are to the left of the presser foot. Start stitching about 1″ in from the end of the strip. As you gently move the fabric forward, the foot will guide the line of stitching right along the cord.

Using the foot to sew piping tape into a seam

For this stage of our test, we are showing our sample backpack in progress. 

  1. Following the same steps as outlined above, create your custom piping tape.
  2. Place the finished piping tape along the edge of your main fabric panel, aligning the raw edges of the piping tape with the raw edge of your panel. Your main fabric should be right side up. 
  3. Slide the fabric under the Narrow Piping Foot, using the tunnel on the left for the placement of the piping. As you start stitching the piping to the fabric, the foot will guide the piping while you guide the fabric.
  4. The clever design of the foot makes it well suited for sewing curves. The left tunnel is slightly shorter than the right, which lets the foot more easily follow a curve. In preparation, clip into the seam allowance of the piping approximately every ½” along each curved area, allowing the piping tape to more smoothly ease and flatten.
  5. To show layering, let’s go back to our lighter-weight test. 
  6. Place your piped layer right sides together with its lining layer/facing, sandwiching the piping between the layers. Work with the piped layer facing up so the line of stitching holding the piping in place is visible. Lightly pin if needed.
  7. Place the layered fabric under the Narrow Piping Foot with the piping positioned in the tunnel on the left. Sew the seam, following along the piping cord along the original seam.
  8. Once stitched in place, fold the layers wrong sides together to reveal your perfectly piped edge.
  9. Leave the edge as-is or add a line of topstitching as explained below.
  10. Depending on your project application, you could just as easily press the seam flat, with the seam allowance to one side, to create a line of piping along a seam, such as along the base panel accent of our backpack sample.

Using the foot to add topstitching to the piped seam

Topstitching along your piping adds a perfect finishing touch, but it can be tricky to keep the stitching straight. Problem solved with the Janome Narrow Piping Foot. 

  1. Position the piping in the tunnel to the right of the foot. Adjust the needle position to the left so the needle is about ⅛” from the piping. Start your topstitching and the line of stitching will run perfectly straight and even.
  2. This works for topstitching a piped edge…
  3. … and works equally well for a piped seam, again as shown along our backpack’s base panel.
  4. But the surprise comes when you turn the seam over. The stitching on the reverse side of the piped edge looks just as perfect as it does on the front!

The sample backpack we made to feature the Janome Narrow Piping Foot is S4H’s Stylish Drawcord Backpack. Seamstress Michele Mishler made a few alterations, including the addition of piping along the edge of the flap and between the base and body of the backpack, as well as moving the zipper application so the pocket is inside the backpack, which allowed for a front magnetic snap and reduced the need for pattern matching.  

Check with your local, authorized Janome America Dealer for more information. 

Our thanks to S4H seamstress team member, Michele Mishler for her work on both the testing of the foot as well as the construction of the finished sample.

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