Hot! Piping Hot Wiggle Dress | Veronica Darling



image from

The Facts 

Fabric:  Thrifted Flannel-like Cotton, $4
Patterns: Simplicity 4022
Year: ~1960s
Notions: Vintage zipper, $0.10; bias binding $3; cord $2
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: May 2011
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$9.10

Since I saw Mena's 'Eat Local' Dress during the 'Some Local Colour' week in March I've been thinking about piping! PIPING! It's so little and so simple, but turns a garment from 'nicely made' into 'completely polished', in my opinion. What I loved about Mena's dress was the print being 'framed' by the red piping, and I knew I had to try something similar for this week's 'Embellish This' theme.

Once again (don't I sound like a broken record?), I've *never* tried piping before, so I flicked through a few of my patterns to work out which would suit this tiny floral printed fabric. I had planned a 70s pattern (that had a couple of front panels), but didn't have enough material for the fuller skirt, so I turned to this Simplicity 4022 kimono-esque sleeve wiggle dress. I've made it up a few times with awesome results, but my favourite was a Garden Party Dress for my friend's wedding.


The bodice pattern always needs a bit of resizing for me (in the waist and a smidge off the shoulders) and I scooped the neckline a little more. After watching a bunch of 'How to Make Piping' videos on the internet, I decided to buy some red bias binding (I have every other colour in my thrifted stash, but not red!) and some cord from the sewing shop (instead of making my own) to save time. I had a major deadline this week: to finish the dress before I flew interstate for my brother's wedding!


Most of the videos online showed how to attach piping for cushions (not dresses!), so I worked out I'd need to use the zipper foot to sew the cord into the binding first, and since that worked out ok, I also used the zipper foot to attach all the seams that I wanted to include the piping. Luckily this bodice had sleeve facings and neckline facings, so I sandwiched the piping there and the waistband as well.

It was surprisingly easy to include the piping into my dress, but I did sew very very slowly (hard for me!) as when I sped up a little (for the waistband) I didn't sew as close to the piping, so the original stitching came through. But it was easy to go over again, and stitch closer, so it's a great embellishment with not as many fail options as I'd thought! The dress certainly looks finished, and has a more professional look than it would without the piping. The only issue would be my neckline is a little gaping, so next time I cut this pattern, I'll make that a little tighter. But totally wearable, I just need to stand up straight!

And as you can see, I made it ok to Queensland's Magnetic Island! We took these photos at the resort where my brother had his wedding reception and whilst it's certainly a lot more tropical and humid than my hometown of Melbourne, it's wasn't hot enough for a dip, just a splash!




Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


Comments are closed.

  1. Oh the piping does make this dress look so professional. I love the print and you great in it. I also love the green Garden Party dress. I am sure you look great in that one too. Good job on the piping being that it is your first time.

  2. Gorgeous – the red piping sets the dress off beautifully. And I LOVE the Garden Party Dress!!

  3. I love this dress and the piping really finishes it well!

  4. Very nice – just the right level of embellishment. The fabric is nice and busy and the piping just finishes it cleanly.

  5. margueritedesigns

    That’s perfect – the piping just makes it.

  6. Frockery by the pool *sings* Looooove it! the dress looks fab. I love piping so much so that I even went out and bought a piping foot for my Janome it made the job so much easier. Well done, amazing as always.

  7. Fabulous dress and gorgeous photos. I can feel that sunshine on my skin! The piping detail looks faultless.

  8. I never have sewn piping before either and now I want to try it out too. It looks so lovely on this dress! I love that you picked red in combination to the fabric, it’s a great combination.

  9. The piping really does ‘pop’ on this simple dress! Great job for piping first time, more to come I’m sure, it can get addictive!

  10. That’s such a lovely dress! I tried my first piping installation only last night on my Ginger skirt, its a weird mix of fiddly and hard work and oddly easy! (I didn’t make mine though,I felt one challenge was enough at one time unlike you brave lady!)
    The red looks so cute with the patterned fabric, and I LOVE your red shoes!

  11. I love your piping, it adds just the right polish! And a lovely dress too, very sophisticated! Plus your shoes-I heart!

  12. Oh and your garden party dress-delightful!

  13. i love this dress! its gorgeous, and the red piping makes it so special!

  14. Great dress! I’m inspired to add piping to something now. I’ve done it once, but that was 7 or 8 years ago.

  15. Yea I agree I think that piping really makes that dress stand out! Great job.

  16. Gorgeous :) It looks wonderful and very professionally finished!

  17. Your piping looks great! I’ve never sewn any myself, but I always think it looks so neat.

  18. Super cute. I love the matching piping and shoes and the print you picked is cute.

  19. YAY! The dress is stunning! After trying piping for the first time I was completely hooked as well. It’s such a fabulous embellishment! Congrats to your brother..the resort looks amazing! I can’t wait to hear more!

  20. Such an amazing job and amazing hair as well!!! :D

  21. That last photo is so fun looking! I wish it would turn summery here. The piping looks awesome…glad it turned out well for you!

  22. judy roberson

    I love this dress. the red piping just set it off.. Love the fabric you chose too.. Happy Sewing.

  23. I really like the finished product. This is one of the patterns I have for sale in my Etsy shop!
    It’s great to see it on an actual person, though! I LOVE the piping work- it makes it looks tailored and classy!

  24. You are adorable and so is this dress!

  25. This dress is gorgeous (as always)! Well done you for learning and sticking with corded piping – it looks excellent! I’m a bit scarred by corded piping after making a gigantic dog bed with corded piping around top and bottom (like a giant cushion) for Hunter and doing a total of 15 metres of corded piping for 2 ruffle bum baby suits I’m totally over it for now – too much effort! Hope you had a fantastic time in Queensland for the wedding!

  26. Thank you Sue! And thanks for checking out my Garden Dress, it was certainly a fave. xo

  27. Thank you Debbie! I’m so pleased with both dresses! Such a great shape!

  28. Thank you Gwenllian! Congrats to you on your first quilting! It’s great trying out new things, hey!?

  29. Thank you Jen, my thoughts exactly with the fabric!

  30. I didn’t know there was a piping foot! I have a Brother straight stitch, so perhaps will have a look for one! My zipper foot did the job ok for this dress thought!
    Thanks Kazz!

  31. Aw thanks Karen! ‘Go slow’ is my new piping mantra!

  32. Thanks Karin, I love it too! Red piping is swish! I don’t know if you saw Kazz’s comment above, but there are piping foots (feet?) for your sewing machine, perhaps that’d make it even easier than a zipper foot!? Good luck with yours! xo

  33. I think so Adey! And I love the ‘pop’ of the red!

  34. Thanks babes! I love your piping, and your skirt doesn’t show any of your concerns, it looks stellar!
    My red shoes are always a hit online, they’re getting a little worn unfortunately, hopefully they’ll make it for another year!

  35. Thank you Cathe, my thoughts too re: the piping polish! xo

  36. Thanks for looking! I love it too!

  37. Thank you Chie, I agree!

  38. Cheers Stacyverb, I’m amazed with how lovely it is, and it wasn’t too tricky! xo

  39. Thank you Jessie, yes, like how Adey says (above) it ‘pops’!

  40. Yes, that’s what I thought when I saw Mena’s Eating Local dress – it was so neat! xo

  41. Thank you Collette! I love matchy-matchy things!

  42. Thanks Debi, oh I can see how it’s addictive! I love that it’s easy and just in the seams. xoxo

  43. Thank you darling, glad you like!

  44. Thank you Lisette! It was a dull summer for us here in Melbourne, and now a FREEZING wintertime, so glad we were able to get to Queensland for a bit of warmth!

  45. Happy Sewing to you too Judy! xo

  46. Oh ace Sarah! Hope it sells, I really love it, and I’ve given it a good workout. Next time I think I’ll dart the dress instead of gather it though.
    Thanks for your awesome comments!

  47. Thank you Karen, you’re very sweet xo

  48. Yeah, I can imagine it’s fun in small doses! Like gathering, I get over that if I do it too much. And hems, they are annoying too. Why does everything have to have a hem!

  49. I love this so much! I haven’t tried piping yet either, but I am totally enjoying the red and blue combo. Fabulous job!