Piped Circles Made Simple

A few years ago I put together a lecture entitled “Going Round and Round”. In it I shared many ways to add circles and curves to quilts. One of the methods used a flange, piping, or rick-rack, to attach curved edges to a background by machine. I knew it would work for circles too, but hadn’t done it. Since then, when I teach my Mariner’s Compass class, I tell the students the compasses can be attached using piping, and this would be a blog topic soon. The time has come! And this will work for any circle – not just compasses  🙂 .

Here is a compass made by my friend Ida Porzky. She made me a number of different shaped compasses to use as samples when I wrote Compass Capers.

For this tutorial I’m using pre-packaged corded piping, but homemade would work just as well.

Whatever piping you use, measure the distance from the long raw edge of the piping to the stitches holding the cording in place. It should be about ¼”. Trim the seam allowance around the circle to this measurement:

On the right side of the circle, place the piping along the curved outer edge, with all raw edges even. Using a cording foot or a zipper foot on your machine, stitch on top of the stitches on the piping, all the way around, leaving about a 3″ space to connect the tails:

To connect the ends of the piping, remove an inch or two of the piping stitches to expose the cording. Overlap the cording ends:

Cut through both, and butt them together:

Pull the piping fabric back over the cording, trim the excess, turn under a ¼” hem on the outer piece, and wrap the fabric back around the cording. Pin in place:

Sew the remainder of the piping to the circle. Fold the raw edges to the back, rolling the corded portion to the outer edge (I drew the stitches in in white so you could see them):

Place the piped circle on the background fabric, with the cording around the outer edge. Pin in place:

Stitch in the ditch all the way around, in a color thread to match the piping fabric.

And you’re done!

No hand sewing and everyone will wonder how you got that skinny bit of piping in there so perfectly  😀 ! Please give it a try and let me know what you think!

Thank you Ida for making your wonderful compass. I hope you like the background fabric I chose.

And by the way, I’ve added my Circle lecture to my list of offerings on my website: http://www.chrisquilts.net/classes/. If your guild is looking for a speaker, I’d be thrilled to make a visit! And, if you’d like to learn to make an off-center mariner’s compass, you can purchase my book at: http://www.chrisquilts.net/books/.



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