How to Make Upholstery Piping

What You'll Need
Sewing Machine

Upholstery piping enhances the appearance of your furniture, and also strengthens seams and edges that see heavy use and tend to wear quickly. Making your own upholstery piping is a great way to save money while getting the look you desire for your furniture. This is a moderately difficult sewing project, and some past upholstery experience or practice is suggested before completing this project.

Step 1 – Choose the Fabric

Choose a fabric that complements the existing furniture or the material you have chosen for your upholstery. Piping can be made to either match the cushion it lines or to contrast it in an aesthetically pleasing way. Consider using piping that matches any contrast buttons that were used for tufting. Do not use too many different colors; simpler is usually best.

If you are restoring antique furniture, research the colors and fabrics used during the time period the furniture was created in. A more authentic look can be achieved by purchasing vintage materials. Try looking at your local thrift shop and using curtain material, which is usually heavy enough for upholstery projects, and will be much cheaper than purchasing the same amount of fabric from a fabric store.

Step 2 – Create Bias Strips

Cut the material into bias strips. Make sure to use enough material to create the length required, plus a width equal to the circumference of the cording and a few inches for seam allowance.

Step 3 – Lay the Cording

Lay the cording in the center of the bias strip, on the back side, with the side you want to show facing down. Fold the strip over the cording so that the edges meet, and push the cording snugly into the fold. Pin the cording into place to ensure an even result.

Step 4 – Sewing the Fabric

Sew the fabric tightly against the cording. Your sewing machine's zipper foot should be used to ensure that the seam is as close to the cording as possible. Take your time, as the ultimate appearance of your piping is dependent upon how even and tight the cording is wrapped to create the piping.

Step 5 – Attach the Piping

Attach the piping to the material by sewing it into the seam. Lay the two pieces of fabric for the seam with their faces out, so that they create a pocket with the visible surface contained inside. Line up the seam remainder of the piping so that the piping is tucked inside the pocket, and the raw edges of the both the piping and the upholstery fabric are all lined up. Sew the seam, and turn right side up so that the the piping and fabric are both showing their finished side. Finish the project by applying the fabric to the cushion it was intended for. The piping should have clean, tight edges. Enjoy the finished result!