How to Sew Custom Piping

by | Sep 30, 2009 | Sewing, Tutorials | 5 comments

First of all, I have been featured with some other fabulous furniture makeovers on The DIY Show Off, so make sure you check it out!

I have had several questions about how I make my slipcovers & pillows, so I thought I would share some sewing tutorials. I am a self- and book-taught seamstress, so I am not a sewing expert, but I can share with you how to sew pillows, slipcovers, and curtains for your home. This tutorial is on how to make your own custom piping (trim) to be used in your home decor sewing.

First of all, you need a zipper foot attachment for your sewing machine. You can get these anywhere sewing machines or supplies are sold.

You also need some piping cord. You can purchase this in 10 yard bags at Wal-Mart (if they still have a sewing section) or at a place like JoAnn Fabrics. You can also buy it by the yard off of a roll.

Choose a fabric that either matches or coordinates with the main fabric you’re using for your project. Cut it into 2-3″ wide strips. A lot of people cut their piping fabric on the bias (at an angle), but I like to use every bit of my fabric, so I just cut it length-wise.

Lay your fabric right side down and place your piping cord centered on top. Fold the fabric over the cord, making sure the right side of the fabric is on the outside. If you feel the need, you can pin the fabric to hold it in place. You won’t see the edges, so they don’t have to be precise. I’m impatient, so I don’t pin.

Make sure the needle is adjusted, so it’s on the side closest to the piping cord. You can move the zipper foot on either side of the needle, which is nice.

And here’s how it will look.

When you run out of fabric line up another strip of fabric overlapping on the outside of the one already sewn around the cord. Fold the fabric in, so you don’t have any exposed raw edges.
Fold it over the cord and the end of the other fabric strip. Sew away!
When you run out of cord, just put another piece of cord up against the end, fold the fabric over it, and keep sewing.
Here’s an example of piping used in an ottoman slipcover. I hope this tutorial was helpful. I have two pieces of furniture that need to be slipcovered for our shop, so I will show detailed tutorials of that process as well. Keep checking back!


  1. Debra from Bungalow

    I have been sewing practically all my life and have never done piping. I think I was afraid to try! Thanks so much for sharing this and the great pictures! I am now totally inspired.

    Love all your makeovers and your blog. Stop by soon and read my story of the mustard seed necklace, click everyday blessings.

  2. Aimee

    My gosh, is it really that easy? I can't wait for you to do the slipcover.

  3. Susie Q

    Oh boy, thank you! I have a sofa that needs to be recovered (cushions have piping) as well as the ottoman (needs piping also). I have refrained as I just didn't want to do the piping on the bias…short funds and I hated the fabric it would waste so I was considering doing it the way you mentioned…so yes, I WILL do it that way. Now to see if I have the nerve to remove the inside from that comforter we don't care for and use that for a new one…

  4. cheryl

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't use the bias when making cording. I usually sewthe reqired lenth of strips together before I sew in the bias – yours is an even easier way! I will try it next time – love shortcuts – impatient sewer here. I just love cording, adds the professional finished look!

  5. Susie Q

    I did want to ask you if the piping should be treated if you are going to wash the covers….toss i in a pillowcase and wash?


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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