How to Make Piping for Sofa Covers

Updated April 17, 2017

Piping gives a neat, finished look to pillows and cushions. The cording used to make piping is available in many sizes. To determine the correct size for the project, look at examples of the finished product in stores, and decide what size looks best. When picking out fabric to cover the cording, decide if a matching or contrasting colour would achieve the desired effect. If using a printed fabric, it will be necessary to match ends and orient the pattern correctly, which can complicate the cutting of the covering strips.

Measure the seam that is to be decorated and add 4 inches, using a measuring tape. Cut the piping cord to this length.

Wrap the ends of the cord with masking tape to keep it from unravelling during the project, and set aside.

Spread the fabric used for the piping cover on a flat surface, and fold the fabric diagonally so the long, straight edge is parallel to the selvedge edge. The selvedge edge is the edge where the fabric was originally attached to the loom, and is usually printed with manufacturing information.

Mark strips that are twice as wide as the cord, plus 1 inch, using a chalk and ruler and the diagonal edge as a guide. The extra inch allows for a 1/2-inch seam allowance on each side of the cord. Cut out the strips.

Sew the strips together, matching opposite-angled ends, until the combined strip is long enough to cover the length of cord.

Spread the strip on a flat surface wrong-side-up, and place the cord in the middle. Fold the strip over until the two cut sides are even, and pin the cord as far into the fold as possible.

Sew the two sides of the strip together as close to the cord as possible, with the zipper foot on the sewing machine. Leave the last inch or so of each end unsewn.

Spread one layer of the material the piping will be attached to on a flat surface, right-side-up. Run the covered cord around the edge, with the seam allowance facing away from the centre of the fabric. Pin in place.

Cut notches in the seam allowance at curves and corners until the piping and the seam allowance both lie flat.

Sew the piping in place, using the zipper foot on the sewing machine.

Uncover the very ends of the cording, pushing back the fabric covering. Trim the ends of the cording so the raw edges meet exactly. Do not cut the fabric. When the box panel is sewn onto the top panel, the excess fabric ends on the piping can be tucked neatly into the seam and sewn in place.


If using a printed fabric, cut extra strips to allow for proper pattern matching. Using a zipper foot allows the seam to be as close to the cording as possible. Do not use a different kind.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Cotton piping cord
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Matching or contrasting fabric
  • Rigid ruler
  • Marking chalk
  • Sewing machine with zipper foot
  • Cushion panels
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