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Easy as Pie: Making Your Own Piping

Sure, you can buy piping, but it’s one of those things that’s easy enough to make yourself. And by making it yourself, you can customize it to your heart’s desire, which can really elevate the project you are attaching the piping to.

Making Piping

This tutorial will show you how to make piping with a seam allowance, so it easily be added to garments or home decor projects (like pillows!)

Step 1: To begin, you’ll need bias tape equal in length to how much piping you need. You can either use pre-made bias tape or get extra fancy and make your own. I highly recommend making your own if you have the inclination, that way you can use fabric in a small stripe or print. It will add a nice contrast to your garment.

The bias tape also needs to be wide enough to encase the cording you will use, with enough left over to create a seam allowance. To get the total width of the bias tape, you can double the width of the cord and double the width of your desired seam allowance. Add the two numbers together and you’ll have the width.

Cording comes in various widths, so you can choose based on how much of a focal point you want the piping to be. For this tutorial I used 1/8” piping.

Step 2: To assemble the piping, lay your bias tape right-side down. If you are using store-bought bias tape, you’ll need to iron the folds out. Center the cording in the middle of the tape.

Fold the bias tape over the cording, pinning in place as you go. The two edges of the bias tape should match up.

Step 3: Using the zipper foot attachment, sew down the length of your piping, getting as close to the cording as possible. You might find it useful to baste the short ends of the cording to the bias tape before you begin sewing to avoid pulling the cording out as you go along.

That’s it! You now know how to make piping.

There is such a thing as a piping foot, but I’ve never used one so I can’t comment on if it makes the process easier or not. Regardless, your zipper foot should do the job just fine.

Have you made piping before? What did you attach it to? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for a new sewing project to add piping to? The Carefree Fly-Front Coat would look great with some piping detail!


Susan M J

This is a great idea and Thanks for sharing


Any item with piping always catches my eye, but I have never added this design element to my sewing. I think the Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch class will be a good opportunity to try it.

Gayle R

Shouldn’t the bias tape be wrong side up if you are wrapping it around the cord?

Susie Kasper

The instructions say, “right side down” which is the same as wrong side up.


I have made my own piping once, and was very happy with the outcome. I hadn’t read this tutorial, but I used my own bias strip and some cord I had on hand, and basically did it just like the tutorial says! I was making a small clutch-sized pouch to hold some diabetic supplies, but wanted it to be pretty. So I used two contrasting quilt fabrics, making the piping and lining from one fabric, and the outer bag from the other print. It turned out very nicely! Making your own piping from your own fabric is such a worthwhile endeavour! It is certainly worth the effort in terms of making the project really special.

Carrol Downey

Hi Julia, I love reading your posts. I’ve used many of the tips you’ve written about. You’ve helped to demystify some things that perplexed me for ages.
In this post about piping I think there might be an error. Step 2 says to lay the bias tape right side up and then put the piping on top of it, but that would leave the wrong side of the bias tape showing after it’s sewn. Is that what you meant to write?


Yes, I agree that the bias tape in step two should be wrong side up, unless you are using the wrong side for effect.

Aside from that, the tutorial is good. I love piping in everything from pajamas and nightgowns to jackets, pillows, totes and bedspreads, sometimes light and delicate, sometimes bold and obvious.

I just watched the linked video. When making your own bias tape for piping, don’t press the edges as she does. Just continue on with step three of this tute.


Correct, it should be right side down, and wrong side up. We’ve updated the post. Thanks for your help everyone!

Ann George

I made piping to go round the replacement cushions I made for a chair, own contrasting binding and shop bought cord. It could have been a bit tighter but I was reasonably pleased.

Sue Barnum

I love this tutorial!! I have made my own piping for an upholstery project. My husband created two beautiful oak chairs for our library room and I made the cushions for them and used piping to dress them up. My first try and I was amazed at the outcome. One thing I know for sure, try anything in sewing. It is great to sew new things!!!! And using bias tape for light weight items is just a great idea and I will try it also. Thanks!!

Nancy Kane

Step 2 does say right side down–not up as some have indicated. Just sayin….. 😉


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