Thursday, November 7, 2013

Adding piping to your Bubblegum (Swing) Dress

 A Bubblegum Swing Christmas Dress!

Have you started Christmas sewing yet? I hadn't, but as Kristen asked a question about adding piping to the bodice of the Bubblegum dress on the Candy Castle Pattern Group, it got me thinking about Christmas and how I really, really wanted to make another Bubblegum Swing Dress and add piping, too... I had ordered this hi-la-ri-ous Christmas doggy fabric at Skye Reves Fabric weeks ago, intended for a sweet outfit, but I had no red polkadot fabric left over, which I was certain was needed to match with this print.

I found some leftover pale green polkadot fabric and figured it would suffice, and I think it looks superb! Less flashy than it would have probably been with red, don't you think? It looks like a very modest Christmas dress, that doesn't yell "HO HO HO HO HO HO HO HO!!!!!" through the room.

So, two birds, one stone: I started Christmas sewing, and also took pictures to make a tutorial on how to add piping. You can use this method on both the regular Bubblegum dress as the Swing version. Let's get to work, shall we?

Firstly, if you do not own the Bubblegum Dress PDF pattern yet, you can find it here. To create the party dress version of this dress, with a full, gathered skirt, as I did for this dress, you'll also need the Swing Dress add-on, found here.

Now, let's work all the way up to step 29 of the Bubblegum Dress pattern, and if you're making the the Swing Version, you will sew up until step 11.
You have a bodice, and a skirt, whether it's a gathered skirt or an A-line skirt.

I have used my ruffler foot to gather my skirt, so neat!

As you can see, the piping has a raw edge, and a finished edge, that has a cord within. I've used silver piping (my own silver lining!) for this dress, as red would have probably 'broken up' the dress too much to my liking.

The raw edge of the piping will be hidden within the seams when we are done; only the finished edge will show.

Starting at the very edge of the bodice, pin the piping all the way around the bottom edge. You will align the raw edges of the piping and the bodice.

Let's see that in close-up.
As you can see, the raw edges of the piping meet the raw edges of the bodice, We will keep pinning until the whole bottom edge of our bodice has piping pinned to it.

Now we need to stitch the piping in place, not only to keep it where it should be and not have it slip out under your presser foot when we attach the skirt, but also to make a stitching line for guidance.
You can use a cording foot if you have one, but a zipper foot works just as well.
If you have neither, you can use your regular presser foot too, but it requires a bit of maneuvering, so make sure you go slowly.

The zipper foot is shown in the picture above. As you can see, the foot will allow you to get your needle really close to the piping, which is exactly what we want!

And in this picture, you can see that you can, if needed, use your regular foot as well, as long as you make sure that you stitch right next to the cord of the piping. Go slowly and maneuver the fabric when you need to; it will be fine, too!

Stitch the piping in place along the whole bottom edge of the bodice. Make sure you stitch as close to the cord as possible (the red line in the pictures indicates how close you need to be; your needle really has to hug the cord inside the piping!).

The bodice now looks like this.

If you flip over your bodice to the wrong side, do you see your line of stitching there? That will be your guideline when we sew the skirt to the bodice.

Now, we will pin the skirt to the bodice as per the pattern's instructions; there is no difference, besides that now, your piping is sandwiched in between the layers, and the piping's raw edges are aligned with the skirt's raw edges, too.

Still using your zipper foot, sew right over the line of stitching (your "guideline", remember?) to attach the skirt to the bodice.

When you have attached the whole skirt, whether it's the A-line skirt or the gathered skirt, flip your dress over and admire your beautiful piping, sewn in the traditional way!
If you notice any parts where you haven't quite sewn close enough to the cord, just go back over them and stitch a closer line.

Don't forget to finish the seam allowance by zigzagging or carefully serging! It would really be no fun after all this work to have your piping stuck in your serger seam!

Return to your pattern and catch up with step 32 of the Bubblegum Dress pattern! Enjoy and add piping to everything!


  1. Where did you get that fabulous bias tape with the crochet edge? I love it!

    sorry it posts hubby's name

    1. Hi! So sorry for this late reply. We sell those bias tapes in our store here:

  2. Good sharing !! Good technology!! but if you feel tied ,i share you a good way to buy christmas swing dress,here is the site.i believe you will like it, both quality and design are pretty good.