How to sew a pillow cover with piping, the easy way

Good golly. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve done a simple sewing tutorial right?

Well, today I’m excited to be partnering with my go to home decor fabric source, Fabric.com, to bring some easy-to-do sewing projects back to the blog!

If there is one way I’ve added a ton of color, character, and pattern to my home and saved some cash it’s by taking on the challenge of teaching myself to sew well enough to make my own home decor.

And since pillows are pretty much my favorite thing next to mixing fabric patterns, I thought it was high time I show you the easiest way to sew a pillow cover with piping.

I promise if you can sew a straight line, you can do this. It is that easy.
How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Adding piping around the edge of a pillow is a really fun way to either bring out one of the colors in your fabric pattern or add a really fun pop of contrasting color.

I used to create my piping piece in a completely separate step until I got smart and realized that there’s a much easier (and faster) way to add piping. Not to mention doing it the way I’m about to show you makes it so you will never again have that extra stitch line showing on your finish pillow cover (so frustrating, I know. Your’e welcome.)

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure.

Here’s what you’ll need to make a pillow cover with piping:

  • Fabric cut to the size of your pillow form. (For example if your pillow form is 18 inches square, you’ll need a front piece of fabric cut 18 inches square. The back piece will also be 18 inches square if you are making a zippered pillow cover, but if you are doing an envelope pillow cover your back piece will actually be 2 pieces.
  • Cording the thickness of your choice and enough to go around your pillow
  • Bias tape in the color you want your piping to be. Your bias tape needs to be wide enough to wrap around your cording and still have about a 1/2 inch seam.
  • Thread in a matching color.
  • (Optional) zipper
  • Instructions for a zippered pillow cover here, or an envelope pillow cover here.
  • Pillow insert in the size of your choice

(You can find this really fun flamingo fabric, that my little lady LOVES right here.)

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way


How to sew a pillow cover with piping:

Step 1: Fold your bias tape around your cording. Remember you want your bias tape to cover the cording and leave about a 1/2 inch extra when the edges of the bias tape are lined up.

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Step 2: Grab the front piece of your pillow cover and place it in front of you good side up.

Step 3: Starting in the middle on the bottom edge, place the raw edge of your bias tape along the raw edge of your fabric. You want all 3 raw edges to match perfectly.

(Hint: investing in a rotary cutter and cutting mat to make perfectly measured and straight, clean lines when cutting your fabric was the best thing I ever did.)

Step 4: Pin it in place about 2 inches from the end.

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Onto the machine! You got this!

You will want to use your zipper foot for this so that you can get as close as possible to the cording.

Step 5: Place your piece on your machine lower your zipper foot right after your pin. (You want to leave about a 2-3 inch portion of your piping unsewn for now.

Step 6: Start sewing with a straight stitch right along the edge of the cording. You can see the lump that your cording creates inside the bias tape. Sew right along that line.

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Step 7: When you get about an inch or two from the corner, stop with your needle in your fabric and using your scissors, make about 3-5 snips into the edge of your bias tape. This will allow you to turn the corner without screwing up the cording.

Step 8: Go slow and continue and when you are about 1/2 inch from the end of that side, stop with your needle down into your fabric, lift your foot, turn your fabric and line up the piping on the next side.

Then lower your foot, and continue down the next side.

(You’ll repeat these steps for each corner.)

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Step 9:  On the final side, stop sewing about 2-3 inches before you get back to where you started.

Step 10: Line up the ends of your cording and cut them so that they butt up to each other end to end. (You’ll want to peel back the bias tape for this part.)

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Step 11: Fold the bias tape on the side you were just sewing around the cording as if you were going to continue on.

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Step 12: Take the beginning end of the bias tape and fold over the raw edge, just a little. Then fold it over the piece with the cording already inside. (You can see the beginnings of your super pro looking seam.)

Pin it so it stays just like that.

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

Step 13: Take it back to your machine and start your stitch a little before where you left off and go all the way to where you started!

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

You now have piping all the way around the font piece of your pillow cover! Woo-hoo!

shop pillow forms

Okay. Now you need to make a decision. Are you going to go for it and make a zippered pillow cover? Or are you going to make an envelope pillow cover?

Either way I have you covered. You have the piping on your front piece so now it is just a matter of following the steps in either

my zippered pillow cover tutorial (that is so easy even beginners can do it!)

or my easy envelope pillow cover tutorial.

But a few tips before you head over to those steps…

Regardless of which type of pillow cover you are making, make sure that when you are sewing the back piece on, the little pieces of bias tape that were created when you made your snips at the corner need to be laying flat. If they aren’t the will be poking through the front of your finished project and your corners will be no bueno.

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

If you are going for it and adding a zipper, be sure that when you are sewing the zipper on, you aren’t going through the piping too. To make sure, lower the foot and then lift the fabric and peek under to make sure the piping isn’t pressed down under the foot. In fact, stop and check every little bit.

Also, after you’ve attached your zipper and it is time to use your stitch ripper to undo the temporary zig-zag seam, make sure you are only ripping the zig-zag seam and not the seam holding your piping onto your front piece. (Yes I learned this the hard way 🙁  )How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

And once you are all done, it’t time to turn that baby right side out, add your pillow insert, and admire your handy work!How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

My little lady was really excited to come home to her newly refreshed bed after her first day of first grade!

How to sew a pillow cover with piping the easy way

shop pillow forms

A big THANK YOU to Fabric.com for sponsoring this post! As a long time customer it is a true honor!

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About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

19 thoughts on “How to sew a pillow cover with piping, the easy way

  1. Love it! Thanks for the very clear step-by-step. It came at an appropriate time as I have a quick cushion cover to make in the morning and really wanted to try piping this time. Pinning this now!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      You’re so welcome Nik; glad you found it helpful!

  2. Esther says:

    Hi Corey – Thanks so much for your DIY help. I’ve a question about using decorative trim cording on my pillow covers. I purchased a heavy, thick decorative cording at Hobby Lobby to cover my pillows, however, I am not sure whether I should wash the cording prior to applying it? The cording is really stiff and is going to be a challenge to apply it. Any suggestions?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Esther, great question! I don’t usually wash the cording before using it, but in this case if you think it will make it softer and easier to use, then I definitely would. There is a chance it could fray in the wash, so you may want to hot glue the ends before washing or clip the ends with either a rubber band or something to hold it together while you wash it. Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

  3. I found this web page very successful because I found some useful information about the sewing machines and the project work related to the sewing threads.
    I am researching various information related to textile fibers and fabric printing techniques.
    Many thanks for sharing
    Best regards…

    Akrilik Nedir

  4. Ann says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. My first grader loved her new pillows and she thinks the piping makes them look like the came from the store.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I’m so thrilled that your pillow turned out awesome! Thanks, Ann!

  5. Teresa says:

    Great tutorial! Is there anything you need to do to the ends of the cording to stop it from fraying?? I followed your tutorial and after washing it I noticed the ends of the cording frayed inside and went flat!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hmmmm… I’ve never noticed this happening, Teresa. But a quick solution would be to use hot glue on the ends before sewing the piping in. That should keep it from fraying. Another idea would be to sew the ends of the piping to the bias tape, although that would leave a small noticeable seam, which would be fine I think. Hope this helps keep your pillows happy! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Maggie says:

    Beautiful. I can not wait to try. Could you share the name of the flamingo fabric please. I love it.

    1. Hey Maggie. The flamingo fabric was linked in the post, but in case you missed it it is right here.

  7. I have used piping in many sewing projects over the years. The new zipper foots on most machines makes it so difficult to get close to the cording so that there is not a gap. Any tips on a newer sewing machine with a zipper foot like the ones on the older machines….what a help that would be! My ancient old machine died and ever since getting a modern machine I get upset every time I use the zipper foot.

    1. Kerstin says:

      Deb, are you able to adjust the position of your needle? If so, move it to the left as far as it will go. Then you can get right next to the piping!

    2. Rebecca says:

      Deb – I feel your pain – a zipper foot simply does not work well with thick cording. The good news is that for around $5 you can buy a specialty sewing foot for cording. The foot rests on top of the fabric and has a groove for the cording to run underneath the foot. The fabric flows under the foot as if it is riding on a tiny rail track, giving you a straight line and a close stitch.

    3. Corey Willis says:

      A big thank you to both Rebecca and Kerstin for your helpful suggestions!

  8. Peggy Meyering says:

    I love colorful pillows on my beige couch also! And I change them with the seasons too. If you use double sided quarter inch (comes on a roll) Fusible tape, you can more easily add a zipper. I cut it into a eighth of an inch, as long as the zipper on both sides of it. No pins! You can glue it too.

    1. Thanks for the top Peggy!

  9. Pretty pillows! You did a great job showing us how to do the piping. Thanks for sharing and thank you for your time in taking the photos ,posting and sharing your expertise.

    1. You are very welcome Liz! Thanks for taking the time to let me know it was helpful. Made my day 🙂

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