Piping tutorial, huzzah!

Yippedy doooo daaaaa, the piping tutorial made it into this week! Cor blimey it’s been a tight squeeze but I managed to sew and take picture quickly enough that it managed to be part of this week. Phew. 

So, looking for a little project for this weekend? Got nowt planned for this Friday eve? Well, why not make over a cushion of yours with some posh piping? Go on…you know you want to!


I was originally inspired by this heart cushion (or pillow, if you please) tutorial that I came across online (why, thank you Pinterest). The colours really grabbed me, but I knew the heart wouldn’t fit into our home so wanted a way to get these colours into a new cushion cover. I love making new covers for cushions but have been using the same old envelope fold technique for years and it’s high time I tried something new. This tutorial may be a little wordy, but pay attention and you’ll be darn pleased with what you can accomplish. You could mix this up with so many cool fabric choices, but this time I opted for a simple natural muslin with a red trim and candy cane stripe detailing on the back.

For this little project you will need:

  • A sewing machine
  • All the necessary sewing tools (scissors, pins, thread etc)
  • Fabric of your choice for the main body of the cushion
  • Fabric for the piping
  • Fabric for finishing the envelope fold (optional)
  • Welt cord or piping cord

Begin by gathering your materials



Measure your cushion. My cushion is 18 inches square. From the fabric you have chosen for the main body of your cushion you will need to cut:

  • one square (each side the length of your cushion plus 1-1/2 inches depending on how much wiggle room you like to have, in my case 19 inches per side)
  • 2 rectangles to make the envelope fold. Each should measure the same as the large square across (19 inches for me) and then you will need to decide how deep you want the envelope. I chose one rectangle to be 14 inches wide and the other (of which edge you will see on the outside) 10 inches.



You will need to ‘finish’ each of the rectangles. You can finish both of them simply by turning the fabric back over itself twice, pressing and sewing in place, like so:





Or you can make a trim for the edge by cutting a piece of fabric 2 inches wide in the same length as the sides of your large fabric square ( for me, 19 inches) and folding the two edges into the middle, pressing, then folding that in half and pressing. 


You can then slip the smaller rectangle’s longest edge into the middle of this strip on fabric, pin it in place and sew. (Tip: If you put your pins in as shown below you won’t have to remove them until you have finished sewing, the machine will hope right over them)


Okey dokey, now you’ve done that part, you can move on to making your piping/cording. You will need to measure out a piece of fabric 2 inches wide (to give you some margin for error) and the total length of your cushion plus 1 inch. So, my cushion is 18 inches wide, 18 x 4 = 72 + 1 = 73. Pop the cording into the middle of the fabric like this:


As you sew (no need to pin) fold your fabric in half lengthways. You can see that I’ve changed the foot on my machine here to make it easier to get closer to the piping. It is worth not getting too close to the piping at this point as it is helpful to have a little room for when you come to sew it all together. Also…use thread the same colour as your fabric…I have used white so that it shows up in the photographs, but it will look cleaner if you can use thread of the same colour…especially if you miss any parts 🙂

You need to make a continuous strip of the piping, that is why the length is so important. When you get to the end, snip the cord on one end and slip the tail from the beginning into that end. Fold the fabric under itself to make it look nicely polished and then simply sew closedImage

Ok, this is where my pictures are not sooo easy to follow because you can’t clearly see the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ sides of the fabric. However, hopefully the instructions will be easy enough to follow.

Place your large square of fabric right side up and carefully arrange the piping around the inside. Pin in place, but don’t over pin. You’ll find that the corners aren’t doing what you want them to do (darn corners!)



But ah-ha! There’s a cheeky little trick to sort those corners out. Carefully (and I really mean carefully) snip into the fabric around the corners. Don’t snip too far…you will regret it! I have learnt that lesson the hard ways on project previous! You’ll find that the corners open up as you snip.



You might need to do a bit of rearranging now that everything is lying flat. Once you are happy with how the piping is sitting, you can go ahead and put the other pieces of fabric on top. First the smaller rectangle right side down, then the second rectangle, also right sides down. Pin in place making sure you are sandwiching all the layers together. It is wise to put your pins in lengthways this time so that the fabric doesn’t wiggle around underneath the foot. As you sew around, trying to as close as you can to the piping. Really snuggle up to it to get the tightest and cleanest finish possible.

It is really important that once your square has been sewn all the way around that you turn it inside out before finishing it. This way, if there are any holes from where the fabric didn’t quite sandwich together: Image

Also, if you want to try and shimmy even closer to the piping, it will be easier now that you have the fabric in place and it’s not going to budge anywhere. Once you have fixed any holes, just to be certain that it is absolutely smashing on the outside, turn it inside out again. Inspect it really closely. If you’re happy that it is finished as nicely as it can be, you can fold it back inside out finish the edges. This is where the serger would come in handy (you will be mine one day, mr serger!) and if you’re not lucky enough to have such an item, zig zag stitch will do just as well… Make sure you trim your edges first!


Now, turn it right sides out and admire your handy work!


Voila! It’s as easy as that!






This entry was published on August 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Piping tutorial, huzzah!

  1. That’s great, think I recognize the red and white striped fabric!

  2. Pingback: Confession time… « fromtwelvetotwofifteen

  3. Pingback: Insert zip here…TUTORIAL « fromtwelvetotwofifteen

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