cushions with piping

Interiors - Design

How to add piping to a cushion

Making cushions can look like a difficult task, but with a little planning and forethought you can make beautiful, professional cushions that will liven up a drab room. One of the best ways to make your cushions look really professional is to add some piping around the edges.

Getting started

  • Measure the cushion pad and make a template allowing for a seam allowance of about 5/8th in (1.5cms)
  • Place template on fabric and cut to size

Materials to make piping

1. Piping cord
This comes in different sizes and different materials and is available from haberdashers or fabric shops. Your choice of cord will be dependent on the size of your cushion and how much money you want to spend.

  • The cheapest is paper braided cord, but it can be difficult to use and cannot be washed.
  • Mid price range is synthetic piping cord which again comes in various thicknesses.
  • The most expensive is is cotton ‘twist cord’. Word of warning, even though this is pre shrunk, do allow for more shrinkage if you are planning to machine wash the covers

2. Fabric casing
Your fabric choice will depend on what effect you’re trying to achieve. Piping can be in the same colour as the main body of the cushion or can be in a colour that highlights one of the colours in the main fabric.

To make the piping casing

To work out the required length of cord, measure around the circumference of the cushion pad and add on a generous allowance for seams and joining the ends.

To work out the width of the piping, allow the circumference of the cord plus a seam allowance of at least 3cms.

Step 1 – marking out

cushions marking strips

Using dressmakers chalk mark diagonal strips on the fabric on the bias (diagonal) of the material. This is because the bias has more stretch that the straight of the fabric and will be easier to manoeuvre around the corners. If you have a lot of material you will be able to cut perfectly diagonally across as this will be the greatest stretch, but if the fabric is short you can just use a shallow diagonal, as this will still give you some stretch.

As it’s unlikely that you’ll have enough material to create one continuous strip of fabric. You’ll probably have to join strips of fabric and press flat.

Step 2 – position and fold

cushions fold fabric

Place the cord along the fabric strips, fold the fabric over and pin in place.

Step 3 – stitch

cushions zipper foot

Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch the fabric along the edge of the cord.

You are now ready to start assembling your cushion.

Step 4 – inserting the piping

cushions insert piping

Place the main cushion fabric pieces right sides together. Fold back one side and insert the piping between the main fabric. Starting in the middle of the edge, start inserting the piping.

When inserting the piping, make sure that you place it cord side innermost.

Step 5 – attention to the corners

cushions cut corners

When you get to the corners, snip the edges to allow the fabric to bend around the corners.

Step 6 – trim

cushions join ends

When you get back to the beginning, trim the cord to size and fold excess fabric over and join edges together.

Step 7 – pin and stitch

sara cushion4

Fold fabric back and pin layers together.

Stitch around edges using the zipper foot again.

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Related links

A first attempt at making cushions

A beginner’s guide to making cushions

Designer cushions from fabric scraps video masterclass


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