Piping on the overlocker

I recently refreshed the decor and sewed this 12 inch pillow for my front room. I had a lot of fun trying out the different piping feet on my serger and love how a few extra minutes on my machine gave my homemade pillow a designer look. The embroidery pattern comes from Hymnspirations collection by the OESD.

Piping is an embellishment sewn into a seam to add a pretty detail or to define the edges of a project. A strip of fabric is usually cut on the bias and then wrapped around a cord of varying sizes, depending on the project. Striped and checked fabrics are fun to use, as well as contrasting colors, to add that ‘something extra' to your design. WAS_Piping_on_the_Overlocker_02_Striped_Piping_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1200x.800px

Perhaps you have made piping on your sewing machine using your zipper foot or a cording foot. Once sewing is complete, you then need to cut the piping to the desired seam allowance, which can get quite tricky when working around thicker cords.

Making and inserting piping on the overlocker is quicker and easier. The fabric is wrapped and sewn around the cord and the seam allowance is cut and finished to the desired width at the same time. It is then ready to be integrated into any project. The groove that runs the length of the bottom of the foot guides the piping straight for perfect piping. Once the piping is complete, use the same foot to tighten it into your project.

I used the BERNINA L 890 to make my pillow.


I like to create piping using a narrow 3-thread overlock (straight needle). I switch to a 3-thread Overlock Wide (left needle) or a 4-thread Overlock to insert the piping. This way I don't have to worry about the first set of stitches appearing on my project. You may wish to increase the stitch length to 3-4mm when making the piping to reduce thread buildup and return to a normal stitch length of 2.5mm when inserting the piping. Of course, this varies depending on your fabrics.

I decided to use all three sizes of L 8 series piping feet to make my pillow.


I used Piping foot #C16 S (3 mm) to make the small piping that frames the central embroidery motif.


The small piping foot uses cords up to 3mm in diameter. A little piping adds a nice pop of color along the necklines, sleeves and pockets of the garments. You can also use small piping to define or reinforce the style line of a garment. A little piping is also a very nice accent along the binding of a quilt. WAS_Piping_on_the_Overlocker_06_Small_Piping_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1200x1600px

Piping foot #L16/C16 L (5 mm) uses a larger cord up to 5mm in diameter.


Large piping is bolder than small piping. Add it to a seam of a bag or chair cover to add a pop of color. I also find it to be the perfect foot size for inserting standard zippers. The zipper teeth guide all the way along the groove. It was super easy to add a zipper to the back of my pillow. I added a contrasting colored flap to cover the zipper to add some visual interest, just in case my pillow gets turned inside out!



Did you know that you can now make extra-wide piping on your L 8 overlocker? THE XL piping The foot will allow you to make piping of 6, 8 or even 10 mm in diameter! WAS_Piping_on_the_Overlocker_10_XL_Piping_Foot_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_300x200px

The XL piping foot does not have any letters or numbers associated with it and can be used with the L 850, L 860 and L 890. To be ready for use, remove the presser foot from your machine. Then use the Torx screwdriver that came with the XL piping foot to remove the presser foot shank.


For easier access, remove the needles and turn off the knife. Next, slide the XL piping foot into place, lower the presser foot bar and tighten the retaining screw. WAS_Piping_on_the_Overlocker_12_Attaching_XL_Foot__BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1200x800px

Note for the L 850 and L 860…you will NOT be able to use the built-in needle threader once this foot is attached as this may damage the needle threader head. There is an easy-to-use tool Needle Threader/Inserter in the threader cover of the machine.


The foot has a built-in adjustment tool above the guide groove that can be adjusted for different cord sizes. Press the white parts together and adjust up or down, depending on the thickness of the bead.


There are three markings on the front to guide you. Special note: The adjustment tool is NOT removable. WAS_Piping_on_the_Overlocker_15_Front_XL_Piping_Foot_Guidelines_Circled__BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1200x800px

As you sew, make sure the piping is fed evenly and smoothly, without puckering. It is recommended to use a longer stitch length with this foot. When you sew the finished piping into your project, you may need to adjust the groove to account for the thickness of the fabric added to the cording. WAS_Piping_on_the_Overlocker_16_Stitching_XL_Piping_Piping_on_the_Overlocker_BERNINA_WeAllSew_Blog_1200x1600

I have found that if I make the largest possible piping (10mm), it is easier to switch to the sewing machine to sew it into my project. I use either the Zipper Foot n°4 Or #4D or the Leather roller foot #55. I increased the cutting width when creating the piping on the overlocker to give me a little more seam allowance for working on the sewing machine.




I used the XL piping foot to make piping with 9.5mm cord, then attached it to the edges of the pillow with the same foot. I rounded the corners and slowed my sewing speed while I serged everything together. Take your time and you will succeed too!


I hope you have been inspired to try piping on your next project.

Until next time, happy overlocking!

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