How To Sew A Pillow Cover With Piping, The Easy Way
The easiest explanation of how to sew a pillow cover with piping! Even a beginner can do this!
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.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read the full disclosure.
I’m excited to be partnering with my go to home decor fabric source, Fabric.com, to bring this easy-to-do sewing project to the blog!
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. You’re welcome.
Supplies For DIY 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 ½ inch seam.
- Thread in a matching color.
- Pillow insert in the size of your choice
- (Optional) zipper
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How to sew a pillow cover with piping
Step 1: Fold bias tape around cording
Fold your bias tape around your cording. Remember you want your bias tape to cover the cording and leave about a ½ inch extra when the edges of the bias tape are lined up.
Step 2: Start with the front piece
Grab the front piece of your pillow cover and place it in front of you, good side up.
Step 3: Line up the bias tape with the edges
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.
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
Pin it in place about 2 inches from the end.
On to 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: Position the zipper foot
Place your piece on your machine and 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
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.
Step 7: Stop and snip the bias tape
When you get about an inch or two from the corner, stop with your needle in your fabric and using your scissors, make 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: Continue sewing around each side
Go slow and continue and when you are about ½ 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.)
Step 9: Stop sewing on the final side
On the final side, stop sewing about 2-3 inches before you get back to where you started.
Step 10: Position the cording ends
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.)
Step 11: Fold tape around the cording
Fold the bias tape on the side you were just sewing around the cording as if you were going to continue on.
Step 12: Pin together
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.
Step 13: Sew together
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!
You now have piping all the way around the font piece of your pillow cover! Woo-hoo!
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, they will be poking through the front of your finished project, and your corners will be no bueno.
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!)
And once you are all done, it's time to turn that baby right side out, add your pillow insert, and admire your handiwork!
My little lady was really excited to come home to her newly refreshed bed after her first day of school!
A big THANK YOU to Fabric.com for sponsoring this post! As a long time customer it is a true honor!
Frequently Asked Questions - DIY Pillow Cover With Piping
Why don't you cut the fabric bigger than the insert?
Cutting the fabric the same size as the insert makes it fit snugly and improves the finished look of the cushion (plump with no "dog ears"!).
Can I close up the entire pillow and not have a zipper or a pocket?
Yes. You set it up to attach the piping in the same way, then leave about 8 inches open in the middle of one edge (depending on how big your insert is) and after you’ve added your insert, you can hand stitch it closed.
Can I use fabric instead of bias tape?
If you prefer the piping to match the fabric, just cut strips of fabric and put it around the cording the same way you would put the bias tape.
Should I wash the cording first before applying it?
Not usually, but if your cording is thick and stiff, then I would. To keep it from fraying in the wash, you can hot glue the ends together before washing or clip the ends with either a rubber band or something to hold it together in the wash.
Ready to create a home that feels like you without the overwhelm?
Inside my course, Style Your Way Home, I'll teach you my step-by-step approach to discovering your unique design style and how to incorporate all the styles you love into your own home design plan. Plus, you'll learn my simple 4 step process to to apply your decor plan to any room in your home so you can make quick and confident decisions and create a home that feels like YOU.