Rooibos with piping: the details

Hello! I’m happy that today’s post finally brings some proper photos of my new Colette Rooibos. Please ignore the flyaways and rejoice that I’m sparing you the sight of my tired face. Here’s the dress:


As Liza Mae pointed out, piping really makes this dress. That is, you can make it without piping and still get a pretty dress but piping is this design’s soulmate. Or whatever the sartorial equivalent of soulmate is.

I had a length of vintage premade piping (scored at a wonderful store that deserves a post of its own) and I used almost all of it on this dress. I did prewash it before use. I’m not sure what level of shrinkage I should anticipate with a poly/cotton blend and I’d rather be safe than sorry.

(Ironing before photos is an ideal that I aspire to.)

Oh, piping. I have tried it once before and it turned out okay but the make was unsuccessful for other reasons. This time I really wanted it to be either okay or more than okay, especially since I was dealing with more serious curves and twists than that first time.

The Colette tutorial on sewing in piping is good, but it wasn’t even really the how-to I was particularly concerned about. It was accuracy. So I measured (my piping was narrower than 5/8″ so that was absolutely necessary), basted, and tried to be patient. That’s all I can say. I wish I had a trick to add here but all I learned from this was to go slow and aim for precision.

I overlapped the piping ends on the back of the neckline like the sewalong post told me to, but on the armholes I decided to shorten the piping so it ended before the side seam. That was to avoid bulk in a spot that is not very visible but that can get potentially very uncomfortable.

In my previous post I mentioned my doubts about the durability of the invisible zipper in the side seam. It does look very nice, but I’m still not entirely certain (though hopeful) that it can do the job.

Finally, the length of the dress and hemming. I lengthened this version by 1″ and I definitely recommend lengthening it at least that much. I hemmed by first version with a ribbon and on this one, thanks to the added length, I was able to get a twice-turned hem of about 1″. It was hand sewn, as chosen by my machine’s refusal to cooperate, but that was actually a great choice because the hand stitching is invisible in this beautiful linen.

I’m pleased, overall. Now I just need to get more serious about ironing the finished garment with at least a fraction of the dedication I’m able to put into pressing the work in progress. Resolutions…

What have you been up to, dear readers? Any piping in your present or planned projects?


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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

6 thoughts on “Rooibos with piping: the details”

  1. Piping 4 ever. Piping 4 life.
    The underarm looks good with the piping fading away quietly below the arm, that was a good plan to solve that problem.
    Another trick, you probably already know this one, is to stitch the piping along the entire armsceye, but pull out 5/8th inch of the actual yarn/string/stuff inside and cut it off, so the piping that continues into the side seam and the seam allowance is empty. You get the look of the piping continuing, but not the bulk.
    I found not piping but vintage double-fold bias in a bright happy floral that I keep trying to find a use for. Someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such a great tip! I hadn’t thought of that so thanks for sharing!

      So do you have some plans for a project with piping detail? I keep coming back to this post from Carolyn’s blog. I’d love to try this technique at some point.


  2. I like this dress. Love the pockets. I had planned two dresses with piping to sew this summer but never got around to them and now summer is ending so I don’t know.


    1. Thank you, Lynn! We still have quite a bit of fall to go, so there are more opportunities for dresses with piping 🙂 I keep wondering if there’s a way to sew up the Rooibos dress so that it could work layered over a knit top.


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