Piping….Let’s Make some!

Let’s Make the Piping today! You can use these instructions for making piping on any project you are working on.

(If you’ve decided not to use piping on your cushion, stay tuned for the instructions on putting the cushion together in the next post to follow.)

You’ll need that cording I mentioned in the How to Make a Cushion Cover..Bench Seat..Part One post. I found some made of cotton in the upholstery section of my local JoAnn Fabric store. It looks like this (top of the picture):

sewing blog 092

As you probably noticed, I am switching the fabric that I used yesterday because I realized it is so dark that you can’t see it. Yes, this one is dark too, but I’ll use contrasting fabric and thread and you’ll see it better.






Now take the fabric that you are going to make piping with and fold it at a 45 degree angle. Can you see that I just took one corner and matched it to the opposite side?  (Refer to the above photo).

Now, looking at the photo below, use a straight edged ruler (see through rulers rule!) and  line it up on the folded edge (the diagonal edge of the fabric). Do you see that I lined it up on the 1″ mark? This is so that when I cut it, I will actually get a 2″ strip (because it os on the fold.) That is what I want is a 2″ wide strip. If you don’t have a rotary cutter, go ahead and mark right on the fabric and make a straight line and then cut it with scissors. Otherwise, cut it with the rotary cutter on the mat (not on your countertop or carpet or anything you value!)

sewing blog 093







Once you have that strip cut out, move the ruler over to the TWO inch mark  and cut again. (Be careful not to cut at the one inch mark anymore because you no longer have a fold).

sewing blog 094








Cut as many strips as you need to get the length for the top and bottom pieces of the cushion. That means for this cushion, I need 204″ for the top and 204″ for the bottom.

You may need to join some strips together to make the total amount you need. To do that, position them like I have them in the photo below:

sewing blog 095








Mark a dotted line 1/4″ from the edge as shown. This will become your stitching line. Do you see how the top strip is perpendicular to the bottom strip? That is most important. Next, line up the dotted line to the edges of the strip that is underneath. Now, stitch on that line. (You may want to pin it in place before you stitch.)

sewing blog 096







Now, trim off that extra fabric to the right side of the seam so that you have a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Press the seam open and lay it flat:

sewing blog 097







You don’t have to have the edges perfect; this is close enough.


Now, turn the strip over and place the cording inside. To clarify, cording is the “string” inside the strip of fabric. Piping is what you call the strip of fabric with the cording inside, all made up. Place the cording down the middle of the strip and fold the strip over the top and pin it.sewing blog 098 Now it has become the piping!






You are ready to stitch the piping to the top piece of fabric. In this photo, the main fabric is solid gold. Leave about 3 inches of the piping unstitched. We need that loose right now so that when we stitch all the way around the fabric, we need to have some left to join the beginning to the end pieces. So, start sewing the piping to the fabric at about halfway down one side. This makes it easier to join the end pieces together later. Use either a piping foot or a zipper foot. This is a piping foot:

sewing blog 100








As you can see, the piping fits in the groove under the foot. I move the needle one position to the right when I sew piping in. It gives it a tight fit.






This is the zipper foot:

sewing blog 102








When using the zipper foot, you’ll want to make sure your needle is positioned all the way to the left side or it will hit the foot and break.

Stitch all the way down the side of the fabric and stop when you are 1/2″ away from the end. Remember, we have 1/2″ seam allowances, so that’s why we are stopping here. Looking at the photo above, you’ll stop with your needle down into the fabric.

Then, with the needle still in the fabric, lift the presser foot and pivot, or turn, the fabric and the piping toward you:

sewing blog 104








You’ll want to clip a little snip into the fabric right at the corner so that the piping lays flatter, like this:

sewing blog 106








As you can see, once I turned the corner, I put the presser foot down and continued sewing on the next side.

Continue those same steps all the way around your fabric top.

To finish the two raw edges, match up the ends as shown:


sewing blog 107








This process may look familiar. It’s the same thing we did when we joined strips together to make one long one. Once you figure out where the end should end up, put a pin there. You may have to pin the two pieces together where the marker line is and check to see that it’s a snug fit. If not, adjust the lower strip until you get it right where you want it. Now, mark the top strip as shown with a marker showing the 1/4″ seam allowance.

Stitch along that line being careful not to catch the cording in the seam.

sewing blog 108







Trim the cording so that when the 2 pieces butt up together they lay flat against one another like this:

sewing blog 109







Now, stitch the rest of the seam closed like this:

sewing blog 110







Follow the instructions in exactly the same way for the bottom piece.

On the next post, we’ll cover how to put the cushion together. You’re almost done now!

After the next post, I’ll go back to teaching some quicker techniques. So stay tuned!!!


3 Responses

  1. How do I stop the material from twisting around the foam once we sit on the bench

    • Please send me a photo so I can see where it is twisting. I would love a photo of one of your corners from the view of the edge so I can see what happened. Thanks!

  2. I know a lot of time has passed now, but for anyone else who might stumble upon this post like I did ….

    Regarding Anon’s question above, I am wondering if maybe the fabric was twisting around the foam because there wasn’t a layer of batting or Dacron wrapped around the foam? The foam might be gripping onto the fabric and pulling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s