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How To Make Piping – Perfect For Cushions & Bags

Piping is a simple way to add another level to many things from furniture, clothing and bags. But I want to stress that piping isn’t a wondrous thing that only the super-advanced sewists know. It is something everyone can create even if you are a beginner, you can learn this and perfect it in no time. Here is everything you need to know on how to make piping.

A finished sample of piping in white and blue floral fabric on a green cutting mat

Equipment And Materials

  • Tape Measure
  • Fabric
  • Piping Cord
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Narrow Zipper Foot
  • Matching thread
  • Chalk Pen/ Tailors Chalk

Tips & Tricks

The piping cord comes in different thickness and you can get as much or as little cut as you require.

Remember to keep your piping cord and bias tape in proportion as to not have too little or too much bias tape to cover your piping cord.

zipper foot, chalk pen, scissors, bias mouse and fabric laid on a green cutting mat

If you are only needing to make a small amount cut a square of the fabric from the bulk so that you are only using what you need of the fabric. This will make better use of your fabric and mean making piping will be easier.

How To Make Piping

To get started on how to make piping, you need to measure the amount you are going to require. I often take that measurement and add 10-15 inches depending on the project.

Step One

To start to lay your fabric on your surface, either side down as this doesn’t matter right now. Fold over the corner from one side over on a diagonal to create a triangle.

blue and white floral fabric laid in half to make a triangle on the bias on a green cutting mat

Your fabric doesn’t have to be extremely neat on both sides but if you trim down at least one edge you can use that as a guide for making bias binding.

Step Two

Following the edge of the fabric on the diagonal, measure your desired length of the bias. I wanted to create a finished bias of 1 inch so I cut bias strips of 2 inch wide.

You can alter your width depending on how thick you want to make your own bias tape. I chose 2 inches on how to make bias tape guide to show you in more detail the steps.

a quilting ruler laid on the folded edge of fabric at 2 inches wide to cut on the bias.

Measure along keeping your width at 2 inches, mark along with your chalk pen. Go over the lines joining up the lines with a ruler to create a solid line.

blue and white floral fabric with blue chalk pen lines marked at every 2 inches intervals.

I found using a quilting ruler and lining up the edge of the fabric fold and using the 2-inch line on the ruler give you a really accurate and precise measurement. If you don’t have a quilting ruler measure along at intervals to create a line.

Step Three

Cut along the line to create your strips of fabric. You will know that you have done this right as when you pull the fabric it will stretch and bounce back. You should end up with something very similar to the image below.

fabric folded on the diagonal to create the bias with blue lines marked at 2 inches intervals.

You can use scissors to cut the lines or you can use a rotary cutter with the quilting ruler to give you straight lines. The rotary cutter is also great for being easy to use creating fast and simple lines.

fabric folded on the bias to create bias tape with a quilting ruler and rotarty cutter.
Remember to have a firm hand pressing down on the ruler so it doesn’t move while cutting.

Step Four

Now you have the individual strips you want to take the folded piece and cut it in half. You can do this the same way as you created the other strips using the chalk pen and scissors or with the rotary cutter and ruler.

a unfolded end piece of fabric of a bias tape ready to be cut.

Once you have all your strips, you need to join the strips together.

bias strips in blue and white floral fabric on a green cutting mat.

Lay your first piece down with the right side facing up. Lay your second piece over the top of the diagonal edge, when doing this make sure your fabric is right side down.

the right angle of joining bias tape with ride sides together.

You want to create a right angle with the 2 pieces to look like an L-shape. You can pin this in place so you don’t loose the shape while you sew it into place.

a pinned piece of the joint of joining two pieces of bias tape together to create a continuous line.

Step Five

Once all your strips are connected and pinned together. To know that your strips are going to line up you can simply pull the top piece to create a line. If the line doesn’t continue to create a smooth strip you can adjust the position and re-pin into place.

joint of bias tape for making piping.

This will get easier each time you place the corner together. If you pin on the line you are going to sew you will get an accurate line.

Step Six

Once all your strips are pinned into place, take to your sewing machine. Sew the strips together following the diagonal line of the pin and fabric edge.

sewing together the two pieces of bias tape to create a long strip.

This is the finished seam, I would say to always use 1/4 inch seam as to give you plenty of fabric to work with. This will also keep the seam from fraying or coming apart.

A sewn seam of two pieces of bias tape together at right angles.

Step Seven

Once you have your bias tape ironed and ready lay your piping cord down the center of the tape, think of laying a hot dog in a hot dog bun. You want to create a nice even amount of fabric either side ready to pull together to sew.

bias tape laid flat with cording running through the middle.

I always leave a little of the piping out the end loose. I do this as sometimes the fabric can move and the piping can move down into the fabric. This way you can see the end clearly and makes it easier when joining to the other end if you need to in your project.

If you don’t feel confident sewing straight away you can try by pinning the piping in place, placing the pins right next to the piping to hold it firmly in place. Remember to change over to the narrow zipper foot on your machine for these next steps.

cording pinned into the middle encased with blue and white floral fabric bias tape.

Sew with your needle pushing down next to your cord, this will create a firm hold. Remember to be as close as you can but don’t sew over the cord as this will affect the flexibility of the piping.

a zipper foot sewing the cording into place within the bias binding to create piping.

How To Make Piping

How To Make Piping

This tutorial will teach you how to make piping. Piping is perfect for cushion edges and other soft furnishings.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost £0.40 per metre

Materials

  • Chosen Fabric
  • Piping Cord
  • Thread

Tools

  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Ruler
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk Pen
  • Pins
  • Cutting Mat
  • Narrow Zipper Foot

Instructions

    1. To start to lay your fabric on your surface, either side down as this doesn’t matter right now. Fold over the corner from one side over on a diagonal to create a triangle.
    2. Following the edge of the fabric on the diagonal, measure your desired length of the bias. I wanted to create a finished bias of 1 inch so I cut bias strips of 2 inch wide.
    3. Measure along keeping your width at 2 inches, mark along with your chalk pen. Go over the lines joining up the lines with a ruler to create a solid line.
    4. Cut along the line to create your strips of fabric. You will know that you have done this right as when you pull the fabric it will stretch and bounce back. You can use scissors to cut the lines or you can use a rotary cutter with the quilting ruler to give you straight lines.
    5. Now you have the individual strips you want to take the folded piece and cut it in half. You can do this the same way as you created the other strips using the chalk pen and scissors or with the rotary cutter and ruler.
    6. Once you have all your strips, you need to join the strips together. Lay your first piece down with the right side facing up. Lay your second piece over the top of the diagonal edge, when doing this make sure your fabric is right side down. You want to create a right angle with the 2 pieces to look like an L-shape. You can pin this in place so you don’t lose the shape while you sew it into place.
    7. Once all your strips are connected and pinned together. To know that your strips are going to line up you can simply pull the top piece to create a line.
    8. Once all your strips are pinned into place, take to your sewing machine. Sew the strips together following the diagonal line of the pin and fabric edge. This is the finished seam, I would say to always use 1/4 inch seam as to give you plenty of fabric to work with. This will also keep the seam from fraying or coming apart.
    9. Once you have your bias tape ironed and ready lay your piping cord down the center of the tape, think of laying a hot dog in a hot dog bun. Remember to change over to the narrow zipper foot on your machine for these next steps.
    10. Sew with your needle pushing down next to your cord, this will create a firm hold. Remember to be as close as you can but don’t sew over the cord as this will affect the flexibility of the piping.

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That is everything on how to make piping. You can use piping in a number of things from cushion edges, clothes, kitchen placemats and so much more. If you have another way of making piping or you know a useful tool let me know in the comment below.

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Piping is a simple way to add another level to many things from furniture, clothing and bags. But I want to stress that piping isn't a wondrous thing that only the super-advanced sewists know. It is something everyone can create even if you are a beginner, you can learn this and perfect it in no time. Here is everything you need to know on how to make piping.