The Piped Jacket

The Piped Jacket

This jacket was made a number of years ago for an article in Threads Magazine – the focus, as you can pretty easily see, was piping – so I incorporated it wherever I could.

The fabric is gorgeous – at the time, heavily embroidered fabrics were first appearing – in fact, I liked this one so much I used it later for a mother-of-the-bride outfit for a private client (a tunic was made from the embroidered silk, and there were matching silk doupioni bell-bottom trousers.  Quite the outfit!!!)

Anyway, back to the jacket at hand.  I decided to use a band around the entire jacket – around the neckline, down the fronts, and around the hem.  The idea was carried further around the base of the sleeves.

And defining both sides of the band gave plenty of opportunities for inserting piping.  As I recall, things got a little thick in the shoulder area, especially at the sleeve end of the seam - much of that work was done was hand - it was just easier to manipulate and place all of the piped bands exactly where I wanted it.

Piping can be purchased, of course, but options are limited – and it’s easy to make your own.  The trick is to cut the fabric strips exactly on the bias; if they’re off even slightly, drag lines will form, and they’re impossible to get rid of.  Piping can be filled with a number of fillers – I like to use rattail.  It’s a smooth rayon cording, easy to find at any fabric store.  Cording can be used, but sometimes the twist that are a part of the cords are visible through the fashion fabric – and that’s not good. 

Piping is only lovely if it’s of a consistent width, even around inner and outer curves.  Outer curves require a lot of clipping in the seam allowance of the piping; inner curves, you’ll see, are formed from overlapping pieces of piping.

The entire lining’s been inserted by hand, including the sleeves; there’s an ease pleat at the center back, to give a bit of extra movement in the lining.

The treatment of the inside of the bound buttonholes (they’re piped, of course!) is interesting; it’s always tricky to line bound buttonholes beautifully, I think….and one option is to create a vertical seamline in the facing.  Openings in the seamline match the openings in the bound buttonholes – the layers are fell-stitched together.  It’s a neat, clean, secure finish.


  • Nancy Karpen

    It’s a beautiful jacket and since I’ve recently been interested in adding piping to some of my garments, timely. I’ll have to look back and see if I have this issue of Threads. I love your method of finishing the back of your buttonholes. It’s always a trial, but this looks so perfect!

  • sally backus

    After 60+ years of sewing I thought I had tried every method of bound buttonholes—why on earth did I not think of a two piece facing with a slit doe back of buttonhole before? Ingenious!

  • Debbie

    Your handwork is amazing!!!You are such a talent and I aspire to learn from articles such as these.

  • Terri

    Amazing détail work – please, please : a Craftsy class

  • Sara

    What a beauty! I join the others in their request for a class and a pattern for this jacket. Oh the possibilities…

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