PIPING IN UPHOLSTERY
Andrea Ford, founder of RE:Style Studio RESTYLESTUDIOTORONTO.COM
Piping is one of the key sewing skills used in upholstery, and knowing how to make piping properly – and how to use it diligently requires knowing the difference between common terms and applications.
Let’s start with a glossary of terms:
Piping: Covered cord sewn into a seam. In upholstery we use this a lot in cushion covers and boxy-style sewn arm seams. This beast of a chair was tricked out within an inch of its life with all the kinds of piping!
Welted cord: An upholstery application of topical trim, seemingly a “double piping” on which self-fabric is sewn to an inner cord which is lashed together and the seam is sewn into the welt between cords. This is glued or stapled to the final detail of an upholstered chair with wooden trim to cover fabric layer staples. These chairs feature contrast welted cord made from a tight-weave canvas. Look for my one-stitch welted tutorial in coming posts.
Lip cord: Fabric covered cord stapled to the bottom edge of a chair, ottoman, sofa, etc. This is not needed to be sewn prior to stapling in place. In this ottoman you’ll see a sewn piped edge at the top, along with lip cord stapled to the bottom edge.
- For your own sanity, make sure you stitch an anchor at the start of your piping sleeve – trapping the cord into the seam and attaching it to the fabric – to avoid the annoying pull-through as you work with the unwieldy covered cord.
- Give yourself a tiny margin (1/8”) between your stitch line and the cord, rather than trying to choke up on the cord like store bought piping. That way your stitch will be buried in your final seam and never peak out. There’s nothing worse than hooking your seam ripper into the fabric covering your piping and creating a hole.
- For microfibres and linen sewn into box cushions or rectilinear shapes, cut your fabric strips along the warp or weft and forget about bias strips. Bias strips are key for curvy work and to give a little extra ease in tightly woven fabrics.
Do you have adventures in piping with your home decor projects?
Do you love working with it or avoid it in some instances?
Part 2 coming up next Thursday.