How to sew Corded Piping

Corded piping gives a raised 3D finish

How to sew Corded Piping

A length of cotton cord can be sewn inside a bias strip to make the piping more 3D


Corded piping gives a really firm detail to garment and looks great around the edges of collars or even along the top edge of a corset.

To work out how wide the bias strip needs to be, decide on the size of piping cord to be used. Most cords are described by diameter so it could be 4mm or 6mm cord. Multiply this by 3 to give the amount of fabric required to encircle the piping cord itself. Then double the seam allowance required. For example –  a 4mm cord will need 1.5cm to encircle it plus 2 lots of 1.5cm will give you 4.5cm of cut width bias strip.

By working out how wide to make the piping in the beginning and cutting the bias strip the correct width to start with, you can leave the right amount of seam allowance or ‘flange’ to be able to sew the piping to the garment accurately.

Follow the Bias Strip Videos to find out quick and easy ways of cutting and making Bias Strips.


Making the piping cord

The cord needs to be stitched nice and tight into the bias strip. A single toe zipper foot works well for this as it can get up close to the edge of the cord. But you can also use a specific Piping foot. this has a groove in the underside of the foot so the cord is able to run in the groove and sit in exactly the right place for the row of stitching to enclose the cord.

Attaching the Cord

To attach the piping cord to a garment lay the piping cord along the garment so the raw edges of the flange are flush with the edge of the garment. It is tempting to pin the piping to the garment but it is actually much easier to sew without pinning it in place first.

Just lay the piping cord onto the garment and use your fingers as pins to hold small sections in place as you sew. This will allow the cord to sit and ease into position as it’s sewn.

Finishing the piping cord

There are different ways to finish off the ends of the piping cord.

Method One

Finish sewing the piping cord to the garment about 10cm from the end of the piping. Pull out about 3cm of the cord and trim off so it slips back inside the bias strip casing.

Fold the empty bias down at 45 degrees to create a neat end to the piping.

Carry on stitching to the end of the piping and over the folded end.

Method Two

To sew a tapered finished end to the piping, stop about 10cm before the end of the seam. Pull out about 3cm of cord and trim it off so it slips back inside the casing level with the end of the seam.

Pull the bias casing down so it gently curves into the seam allowance.

Sew across to the end.

Sewing Piping Cord into a Seam

Once the piping cord has been attached to one side of a seam, the other side may be added.

Pin the garment together along the piped seam. Using the original row of sewing as a guide, sew the two layers together. Again using a single toe zipper foot or a piping foot to sew close to the cord.


Finished Piped seam