piping covered with self fabric

Adding piping to your seams can add such a special touch. It's totally worth the extra bit of work as it can make your seams more prominent and beautiful. 

Piping comes in lots of different colors and is generealy covered in a basic cotton fabric but it looks extra fancy when you create piping covered with self fabric. Whether your pattern calls for it or not, you can add piping to seams if you want to spruce up the design a little. Here's a little tutorial to show you how to cover store bought piping with self fabric.

self covered piping on Simone dress

I used it here in the Simone dress because I wanted to add prominence to the seamlines of the front placket. I broke up the monotony of the blue fabric by added a running stitch in anchor threads to match the piping in order to integrate the colours.


  • Store bought piping
  • Self fabric
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • thread
  • Regular zipper foot
  • Pins


cutting fabric for self covered piping

  • Cut a bias strip of self fabric, long enough for the length of your piping. The width of the strip is determined by the  piping diameter and the garment's seam allowance. If the piping is 1/4 thick, and the seam allowance is 5/8", then calculate: 1/4" + 1/4" + 5/8" + 5/8 = 1 3/4" 

offsetting piping strips

  • If the piping is very long, you may need to cut muliple strips and piece them together. In that case, the ends of the strips should be cut at a 45 degree angles.  Lay the strips together and offset them by the seam allowance, which should be about 3/8". This way, once you've sewn them together, the edges will be flush

trimming piping strip seam allowance

  • Trim off the seam allowance edges

wrapping fabric strip around piping

  • Place the piping onto the wrong side of the bias strip. Wrap the strip around the piping, matching raw edges and pin along the length of the strip

sewing self covered piping strip

  • In order to sew close to the piping, use a regular zipper foot with the needle set to the right side. Sew along the lenth of the strip

piping covered with self fabric

  • Voila, you can now use it wherever you like!

decorative cord piping

  •  But we're not done yet! You can also purchase decorative cording that has seam allowance

sewing decorative cord onto garment

  • You'll often find the the cording seam allowance won't match that of your garment. To get around this, draw a chalk line marking your seam allowance on the garment piece where the cording will be sewn. Place the cord along the chalk line, and using a regular zipper foot, staystitch the cord in place

decorative cord piping sewn onto garment piece

  • It will be perfectly positioned for when you sew the adjoining garment pieces together

Comments (7)

  1. Annabel Vita:
    Dec 03, 2012 at 04:56 PM

    Good tutorial! Thank you. I was wondering, is there an advantage of covering store bought piping over covering piping cord (the stuff that looks like this:http://www.sewessential.co.uk/category.asp?CategoryID=182&NumPerPage=5&page=1&gclid=CMHr0_LZ_rMCFaTMtAodejYATw) ?


  2. Kristiann Boos:
    Dec 03, 2012 at 07:18 PM

    Thanks Annabel! I've used cording to make piping before, and it works just fine. The only thing I would say it that it has a rope texture, and sometimes that shows through the fabric. Store bought piping is more smooth and I feel it give a nicer effect. However, if you're using more sturdy fabric, that wouldn't likely be an issue. I hope that helps!


  3. maddie:
    Dec 04, 2012 at 06:13 PM

    great tutorial! I love the striped piping!


  4. Ginger:
    Dec 05, 2012 at 04:32 PM

    This looks amazing! I love that the yoke detail on the Simone dress is hand-stitching-- thanks for showing us a closer look! That dress is first on my list when warm weather returns!


  5. Kristiann Boos:
    Dec 10, 2012 at 04:02 PM

    Thanks Ginger, I love making those little special touches on handmade garments. The extra effort goes such a long way! I look forward to seeing yours when you get around to it. I'm already dying for summer and the snow isn't even here yet!


  6. Annabel Vita:
    Dec 10, 2012 at 04:43 PM

    Ah, good point! I'll bear that in mind. Thank you xx


  7. kara:
    Apr 12, 2013 at 03:49 PM

    I agree with everyone here. It really looks great.


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