How to Make Your Own Piping

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Back when I showed you my screen porch tour, I told you it really wasn’t 100% finished. Why? Well, I really wanted to sew a cushion for the garden bench.

As I was looking for piping for my cushion, I was getting VERY disappointed! Why? Two reasons:

  1. I couldn’t find a simple piping cord in a white color.
  2. Anything that might work (off-white) was VERY expensive!

So, I decided to teach myself how to make my own piping for the cushion. I can tell you now, I WILL NEVER BUY PIPING AGAIN! It was that easy.


  • Cotton rope
  • Inexpensive cotton/poly blend white fabric
  • White thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine with a zipper foot
  • Iron


1. Start by measuring your fabric and put a snip at 3″.

2. Tear the fabric along the length. The strip should stay approximately 3″ along the rip.

3. To add more length, cut two pieces at a 45˚ angle.

4. Pin the two angled ends together as shown (at a 90˚ angle).

5. Stitch the two pieces together along the angled edge.

6. Open up the fabric and press the seam.

7. Lay your rope in the center of the fabric.

8. Line up the raw edges and pin next to the cord.

9. Using your sewing machine and zipper foot, stitch very close along the edge of the rope but not on top of it.

And this is your finished product! I actually like how the thin fabric shows the spiral pattern of the rope through it.

Now, head on over to my tutorial for sewing the bench cushion cover!

52 replies
  1. Holly Kennedy
    Holly Kennedy says:

    Hey there! I just “found” you via the CSI project, and I am DYING over all the fantastic stuff you have done! I have spent an inappropriate amount of time reading many of your past posts! I look forward to watching what you create next, and learning how you do it! Great job!

  2. Linda
    Linda says:

    Thank you SO much for this tutorial, I am no longer afraid to try piping a cushion cover.

    The fabric you chose is just lovely and finishes off the bench!

  3. Alice
    Alice says:

    Talk about teaching an old dog new tricks, you just taught this one a big one. Thanks so much I will certainly try this for the cushion on my chair and a half I want recovered. You’re awesome PHG.

  4. Nikole cutler
    Nikole cutler says:

    Thank you for posting! I have been nervous to try this – I even have the cording and everything. Your pictures and explanations make it look so easy.

  5. Celine
    Celine says:

    I am so glad I decided to look for a tutorial on piping cushions! I have cushions to re-cover for a sailboat and this tutorial on piping and making the cushion covers is both easy to understand and most helpful. Thanks so much!!!

  6. Crystal @ 29 Rue House
    Crystal @ 29 Rue House says:

    Hi! I wanted to show what I made with the help of you piping tutorial and box cushion cover tutorial over at the CSI Project. I tried to work an envelope closure on the box cushion but it still needs the velco (I haven’t done that yet). Great tutorials – couldn’t have done it without them!
    Here’s the first post on it:
    And the second with the finished cushion (minus the velcro)

  7. Emily
    Emily says:

    Everywhere I’ve seen piping made, they had to cut their fabric on the bias. Was it more difficult to get it to go around the edges, or did you not really notice a difference?

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Sue, you have to do a little math. Figure about 3-4″ for the strips of fabric and multiply that width x the number of strips you can fit on your width of fabric (usually fabrics are 45 – 60″ in width.) To figure out how much piping total, figure out the linear edge(s) of your cushion. Does that help?

  8. Trish Davenport
    Trish Davenport says:

    This made it all clear for me. Making piping has always been something I tried and never got quiet
    right. I think I was attaching the new lengths of material all wrong. Thanks for your great help.

  9. Joy
    Joy says:

    Great tutorial, easy to read through it. Now in the process of making seat covers. Question: What size cord did you use? Cord #5 is .5 inch and Cord #4 is .38 inch. Thanks

  10. Beth
    Beth says:

    Thank you soo much! I just used your tutorial and made a great (for a novice) cushion cover for an antique bench that was gifted to me.

  11. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Do you have a problem with mildew and your outdoor cushions. I’ve been afraid to put pillows or cushions outside on my porch in this humid, humid southern weather.


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