How to add piping to a curved seam



We’ve discovered a few issues with Rue that are currently being fixed. A corrected pattern will be available soon. Read more here.

Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? We’re really excited to be a part of Sew Your Hart Out September, a month-long sewing celebration hosted by one of my favorite fabric stores—Harts Fabrics! All month they’ve been posting helpful tutorials, projects featuring some of the latest and greatest fabric, and giving away fun prizes.

To celebrate Rue along with Sew Your Hart Out September, I stitched up my dress in Robert Kaufman’s new Euclid line designed by Carolyn Friedlander. I had a really hard time choosing which fabric from the collection to use, but I settled on the cotton/linen blend in Earth, and it was a joy to sew. For the piping I used Robert Kaufman’s classic Essex linen in a great shade of blue. It’s my favorite fabric to use for piping and bias tape, because it comes in so many colors and feels much better than the store-bought stuff.

My (modified) Rue


As much as I love vintage dresses, I don’t actually have any in my wardrobe. The truth is, I don’t wear dresses very often, unless they are sack dresses. When I saw Anna’s design for Rue, I knew I had to give it a try, so I decided to step outside of my comfort zone. But just a little bit.

Since Rue would be my first dress featuring piping and a more fitted waist, I decided to ease into the vintage spirit by keeping the silhouette a little bit more “me.” All I did was eliminate the tucks at the front bodice and skip the sleeves. Since my fabric was rather thick and sturdy, I skipped the lining as well, otherwise the dress might have been a little too heavy for warm weather.

I have to admit, I think I like wearing a more fitted bodice as well as a pleated skirt, two style choices you might not find in my everyday wardrobe. So I definitely tried something new, right?

Need some piping help?


If you’d like to make your own piping, and need some help sewing your piping into a curved seam, check out my piping tutorial over on the Harts Fabrics blog.

Don’t worry, adding piping to a curved seam is just as easy as adding it to a straight seam. It just requires some extra trimming and notching! You can read the step-by-step instructions here.

What about you—do you have a favorite project that featured piping? What are some creative ways that you’ve used piping in your seams?

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.

Comments 16


I love your version of Rue! It’s nice to see that it can have a more modern look without the bodice tucks and sleeves, the seams and piping give it pizazz.


I love this version. Will there be a tutorial for eliminating the tucks?


Thanks! To eliminate the tucks, I just pinched them out, kind of like how you would remove a dart. I folded them over as if they were sewn (all the way up to the neckline) and retraced the bodice. Since I didn’t use a lining, I just scooped out the neckline a bit more and used bias tape for a finish. It’s easy!


Hello Meg,

You think you can share a photo of your pattern sans tuck with us?



I’m afraid I don’t have the piece as I made changes to my muslin and then traced it back out to paper. If you can find a tutorial for removing pleats, the only other thing you would need to do is redraw the neckline.


I love your simplified Rue, Meg! I do like the original design, too. But I have to admit that your adaptation would probably work better for my life. (So off to Pinterest it went as a potential idea for next summer.)

A few months ago I finally muslined the gorgeous Rooibos. And while the original neckline idea really appealed to me in the photos I’d seen online, the muslin revealed that some simplifying would be in order for me. I was hesitating a bit about this change but in the end I decided to go with it. I have loved the finished dress and worn it a lot. So much in fact that I’m finishing up my third simplified Rooibos right now :-)


Thanks so much! I would love to see your Rooibos as I’ve been thinking of making one myself.


Thanks, Meg! Here are the two Rooibos dresses I’ve already worn a lot:
the first one, in lovely Cotton and Steel Sprinkle fabric:
the second one, in linen:
The one currently in progress is in a dark denim.
I’ll be honest, the pattern took some patience in terms of fitting but it’s a gift that keeps on giving :-)


I love this version! Everything about it is great.

My favorite use of piping is to use it to finish a shift dress neckline, either in a contrast piping or self piping. Something about the simple silhouette and understated detail works really well together (especially if you favor eye-searing prints the way I do! I call it the simple-subtle-bold combo)


That’s a great idea! I bet it would look really good in white against a solid color, too. Hmm, I might borrow your idea :)


Brilliant! Rue is going back in the queue.


Ooh, can’t wait to see :)


It’s a relief that you changed Rue. I adored her as soon as I saw her and bought the pattern immediately. When I saw your Rue I thought, “Dang! I guess I don’t like her as much as I thought!” I don’t mean that as offensively as it sounds; I’m glad you could change her to suit your tastes, but so glad that she’s still the fitted, feminine dress of my dreams. Sewing is such an amazing thing to me. There really is no limit to how much we can make a garment our very own! Good job!! But don’t scare me like that again!!


I love this version – the fabric is fab! I’m in the middle of making my own version and have decided to ditch the lining as well – too hot for an Australian summer! I might make a second version without the tucks and sleeves!


I love the rue without the tucks! Way better for my style/body. One question though, I understand taking the tucks out, but do you need to add any kind of a dart back in, for shaping? I don’t see dart lines in your pic, but just checking.

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