Today I re-learned lessons I KNEW when I was 20 but haven't used in ...uhhhh a long time. I am adding a line of piping between my quilt and the border -- it needed just a teeny bit of something. My friend Jody (Goddess) gave me some tips, and indeed it is not hard, but takes time, but the end result is so snazzy! Thanks Jody. (BTW, I call her "Goddess" because she's so danged good at so many things!) 8-))
First thing, get the RIGHT foot!! I was told my zipper foot would work - NOT! My zipper foot is flat on the bottom, by design, whereas the piping foot is rounded underneath. The right foot makes all the difference in the world. ($10.99). Sewing is almost done by itself -- I just had to fold the fabric over the piping. There are 2 rounded grooves - I haven't figured out what the right one is for. My machine is a Janome 6500.
Here is my pile of cording and piping, all sewn together. I cut my fabric strips at 1 1/4 in., and for this use, straight of grain. This process goes easily.
Now, I am trimming it. My LQS had the neatest gadget/ruler for trimming where the piping slips into the groove in the ruler and then you can easily trim, protecting your fingers from the blade, but I passed that up and used my bias bar. Kinda dangerous, but it did the job - not nearly as well, but it's done.
Here is the border with the attached piping, on top of the quilt, ready for sewing. I learned this from a Ricky Tims DVD -- see the crease to the left of the thread? Use your fingernail on your right hand (I was holding the camera with my right hand) to make a crease very close to the piping. Somehow that crease gives you another bit of space to sew closer, so no (dark) threads show when you are finished.
The entire side was nearly perfect, with only a few inches in one place that needed a tighter resewing. Like many new projects, it was easier than I thought! This is my present Pinwheels and 4-Patches.