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Video Slipcover Series Part 1 – Custom Piping


It’s finally here!!  At long last!  I know I have been dragging my feet on this one and I finally took the time to make the first segment in my promised video slipcover series.  (I told you I would get a lot done with my mom here!)

We’re going to start this journey where I always start when making a slipcover – sewing the custom piping.


Click HERE for a transcript of this video.
If you’d like more information on working with drop cloths, check out these posts…

Working with drop cloths

More on drop cloths

Since writing the posts above, I have stopped bleaching the drop cloths I work with.  I have found that I don’t mind the natural color and it saves a whole lot of bleach and wash cycles, but bleaching definitely does lighten them, if that’s the look you want.

Up next in the series…

I have two Parsons’ chairs and a wing chair I will be walking you through, so purchase your drop cloths and get ready!

The Lettered Cottage

Related posts:


  1. Thank you so much for doing a tutorial on slipcovers. I started my first one a few days ago and decided to put it away until you did your tutorials.

  2. oh my gosh, aren't you just so stinkin' cute! that's exactly how i make my piping, complete with the "lazy girl" seams and the ripping. lucky girl to have your mama there to care for your angels while you tackle your to-do list! thanks for this series, looking forward to the rest.

  3. Oh my!! I have been sewing for over 30 years now (wow! that makes me sound old! I'm not even 40 yet!)and I have avoided doing piping because I get hung up on the bias thing!!! I was so taught that you can't do it any other way, but I think you are convincing me to try without it! My couches need slip covers so bad!!!

  4. I am so excited about this! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips and tricks with us.

  5. Je vous remercie pour cette vidéo,
    en attendant de l'utiliser pour ma confection…

  6. Okay, it's late and I haven't watched your video yet…but THANK YOU! I was JUST thinking about my need to sew some piping. I have a few sofas and a bunch of chairs crying out to be reupholstered or slipcovered.

    Happy Valentine Weekend,

    : )

    Julie M.

  7. You're so cute! I LOVE that you don't make yours on the bias. What a PITA that is. I knew how to make it, but I enjoyed your video (and the sounds from the peanut gallery) and look forward to the rest of our series.

  8. oh my…i too (being a fashion design major & a sewer for over 40 yrs.) was taught that binding HAD to be done with a bias cut of fabric with bias seams. thanks for showing us that its not so (sew!) i have been wanting to recover a buffalo check wingback loveseat but didn't want to spend the money on the reupolstery. i think a trip to HD is in the works for some canvas dropcloth so i can get started on this slipcover project.
    thanks marian!

  9. What a great teaching video Marian! Thanks so much….you took the fear away!!

  10. Glad to hear you say you'd stopped bleaching. I just bought some drop cloths and read that you bleached them and thought – who could be bothered with that? so I will now follow suit and not do it either! I like the colour too! Thanks for sharing your advice. :-)
    PS. I think you look a bit like Doris Day! 😉

  11. What a great tutorial and wonderful resource. You make it look so easy that I think even I might be able to do it!! Thank you so much!!!

  12. Thank you for the tutorial and advice- I love that you make things beautiful with readily available materials. It's great to hear your kids in the background, too – aren't grandmas the best?!

  13. Marian,
    you are the best! Great tutorial on the piping. Worth the wait.
    I am looking forward to the wing chair you will be doing. Your series may just give me the kick in the butt I need to get my wing chair slipcovered.
    Have a great day!

  14. Hi- Found your blog recently and have been busilly reading the back posts. You are so talented!! I have been sewing for many decades, and just recently did a slipcover, leaving off the piping because I used a vintage drape and did not have enough fabric. Love the no bias thing, I am so cost conscious, I just did not want to buy the extra yardage for bias.
    I did find out the cheapest way to buy piping is to buy the large rolls at joannes (100 yds or so) using a 40% off coupon. My joannes is the supersize store, so not all joannes have those rolls. You can get them online too.

  15. I love your work! Your post are very inspiring. My favorite new/old fabric is drop cloth.

  16. Great tutorial. Thanks a bunch!

  17. Number 1, why in the world am I so interested in this slipcover thing? I don't know unless it's that my furniture is dated and worn but still so good structurally, and I can't afford to buy new. Slip covers seem to be my answer, but store bought or custom made ones are too expensive. Miss Mustard Seed I am a garment sewer, but since finding your blog I'm find that I am strangly being drawn into the world of home dec sewing. So you see, this is ALL your fault! Secondly, I'll just go ahead and tell you – "I'm in LOVE with you!". You are so nice in sharing your knowledge! I have always wanted to know how to make piping. You made it seem so effortless. I can just see my livingroom all done up with drop cloth slipcovers. THANKS!

  18. Thank you so much! I will definitely be following this series, as I am also covering a wing chair. I look forward to seeing how you will actually incorporate the piping which for me, is the scary part!

  19. Gah! Not on the bias?! You are livin' on the edge. I love it and can't wait to try it.
    One question. I have slipcovered mulitple pieces in my home hence comments like "Mommmy I "found" Grandma's green couches (underneath a new slip)!" I know drop cloths make great drapes but how do they wear on furniture? Recently I resolved to only use cotton duck after one too many tears on the seat or armrests of my cotton slipcovers.

  20. awesome Marian! i've made piping so i'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the process!! have a great weekend! susan

  21. I never knew you were supposed to sew piping on the bias! Oh well, at least I'm doing it the Miss Mustard Seed way! 😉

  22. You are so BEyoooooond adorable. I have made slipcovers but never, ever, have attempted piping. I need to go see if one of the several feet that came with my sewing machine is a zipper foot, no idea?! I'v always been a straight line stitchin' gal, hoping to broaden my skills and work wonders !! Thanks for your help in that matter, grin!

  23. Hi Marian!!!!! I am still looking for your German or French sheet music no luck yet but now that it's warmer it's time for more markets. I did locate some vintage & I do mean vintage linen(?) fabric & immediately thought of you. The lady wanted way too much for it & it was kinda musty smelling so I'll wait til next weekend & see if she's ready to deal in my price range lol. Thanks for the video I'll be needing these soon enough lol. Take care & enjoy your mom. Shell

  24. What an awesome blog!! It's no wonder you have over 4200 followers (you can count me in as one more). I just can't say enough about this post. I've been wanting to use drop cloths for some time and now I know how. AND I'm also going to be doing some parsons chairs in the near future.
    Thank you so much!
    Patricia :o)

  25. Thank you so much! I can't wait for the rest of your videos. You are giving me so much confidence to do this, and not be so scared to make mistakes. Blessings, Susan.

  26. Thanks for the seam tip! I was doing it another way & this will be much less noticeable. I'm finishing up my sofa this weekend and this has definitely been an experience – how I manage to poke my fingers so much is beyond me!

  27. Marian I just want to tell you that you ARE a MARVEL!! This is really so wonderfully generous of you!
    I found myself a couple of frenchy chairs today and I'm gonna reupholster them and dedicate em to you! *winks* A BIG fat *SMOOCH* on the cheek!….Sorry bout the red lipstick girlfriend. Vanna

  28. Thanks for taking the time out to do a tutorial Marian, a lot of work but very appreciated!

  29. Wow! I've never seen anyone sew that fast before! No wonder you get so much done every day. Enjoy having your mom there to help you and thank you for the wonderful tutorial!

  30. Gypsy Brocante says:

    Sending you a HUGE thank you and HUGS from NJ … I will TRY this ; )


  31. Thank you so much! This was the inspiration I needed to start covering my thrifted wing back chairs. Let me just say, you have THE BEST drop cloth/slipcover tips on the entire internet. Thank you so much for the bleach tip!!!! I'm only about halfway done one chair, but for my first slip cover ever, it is looking fabulous. :)

  32. I can't sew at all! I have a machine, I just don't have anyone that has time to teach me to use it! haha! I love how you can hear your babies in the background! :) I have a 3yr. old son, so I know how it is! God bless you!

  33. thank you, thank you, thank you! You always make things so much easier than everyone else does. I am so excited to make some cording now. i have tried it once before, measuring, sewing at an angle, it took so long i dreaded it. I love your tip on ripping the drop cloth. Our local big lots sells them for eight dollars a piece, i am going to go stock up!

  34. The funny thing is that I've been sewing for years, and I know how to do this, but I still watched your video all the way through. You're such a joy to watch on video…you're a natural in front of the camera, and great at giving clear instructions. Very well done!! Can't wait to see the next part. :)

  35. I wanted to let you know that Harbor Freight has drop cloths for REALLY cheap and they are almost always on sale. I don't know where the closest one to you is, but there is one in York.

    Just thought I would pass along some "thrifty" info! 😉

    Have a great V-Day!


  36. Much thanks for this video. Custom piping isn't something I've done before, and while I could muddle my way through, I'm quite happy to watch this instead! 😉

  37. You are the BEST!!! Thanks for posting the slipcover tutorial… I have tried it before and was frustrated because I did NOT use the zipper foot… who knew?!? I am now anxious to try it again. Thanks for the inspiration!!! – Becky

  38. I don't understand how it is possible to go around the curves of furniture with piping that is not cut on the bias. Doesn't it buckle at the edge of a square pillow?
    I have been sewing for 40 years and I just cannot get my head around straight of the grain piping.

  39. I've been making lots of piping!!!!!! Can hardly wait until the next video! Is it coming soon??

  40. Thank you so much for all the information so generously give! You are such an inspiration. I am new to blogging and so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I visit your blog everyday since I started, you get me motivated! Thank you again.

  41. Thanks for the tutorial, it's great! It was funny when I read this post because I had just put my own sewing machine away after sewing piping. I did a post on sewing knife pleats (2/15/2011) and at the end of the post said I had also sewed my piping. I added a link to this post so others can see your tutorial. I really enjoy your blog!

  42. Thanks for the tutorial! However I am having problems with my computer viewing the video. What size piping do you use? Thanks.

  43. This post has been sitting in my reader for weeks because I do almost all of my blog reading on my phone, where I couldn't watch the video. I'm so glad I finally took the time to watch it at my desktop–this is a GREAT tutorial and I am so looking forward to the rest of the slipcover series! You are such a pleasant teacher!

  44. I notice you pre-shrink the canvas dropcloth, but you did not pre-shrink the cotton cording. Doesn't it bunch up when you wash it?

  45. Wow – u r so awesome – thanx for taking the time to make FREE tutorials! I'm so excited I bought a sewing machine today (my old hand me down keeps breaking) and can't wait to get started reupholstering a chair I found in the trash! I can't wait for the next vimeo!

  46. Anonymous says:


    I am deaf and cannot understand your video on drop cloth slipcover without captions. Do you have any links or a transcript of the post or something that I can follow more easily?

    I just followed your drop cloth french chair DYI post and it turned out AWESOME! I get so many compliments and I tell them about your blog. I can send you pictures if you'd like!

  47. I love this dyi! i just repainted my coffee table and would love to make my furniture match with dropcloth slipcovers. thanks you sharing!

  48. Kathie says:

    Hello! I just wanted to THANK YOU for taking the time to record and post your slip cover tutorials. I am a single homeowner in NJ (ugh!), paying off a student loan, and barely keeping my head above water in this new/old house that I bought. I’m doing renos myself and am now at the “fun”, cosmetic point of updating my old but good quality furniture. I’ve sewn before and am anxious to follow your instructions for my very first slip cover project! Again, just wanted to thank you for sharing your talents freely with the rest of us – I truly appreciate it.

  49. I am way late to this post, but better late than never, right? I’m excited to try piping not on the bias. (oh the humanity!) But I would Love Love Love to know how you did the painting on the chair to achieve that great look. I just started sanding a couch with great wood trim in hopes that I would find an answer to what to do next before it came time to paint. Thanks very much!


  1. […] Part One – Sewing Custom PipingPart Two – Cutting the FabricPart Three – Positioning Fabric and Pin Fitting BackPart Four (this post) – Pin Fitting Back, Wings and ArmsPart Five – Pin Fitting Arms, Seat and ApronPart Six – Skirt and Cushion […]

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