Skip to Content

Sewing With Cording for Beginners: Tips, Tools and Techniques for Adding Definition (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

how to sew cordingPicture a stylish blouse, its neckline elegantly adorned with a contrasting cord, subtly drawing the eye and adding a touch of sophistication.

Imagine a chic cushion, its edges outlined with a vibrant piping, creating a striking visual appeal that elevates the entire room.

Discover the art of sewing with cording, a technique that transforms ordinary projects into extraordinary creations.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore:

  • The benefits of using cording
  • The essential tools and techniques
  • Step-by-step instructions for incorporating cording into your sewing projects

Empower yourself to add definition, contrast, and a professional finish to your handmade treasures.

Key Takeaways

  • Use a piping or zipper foot when stitching over cording to prevent puckers and ensure proper insertion
  • Cut and join enough cording strips to cover all edges and align them precisely before stitching
  • Preshrink cording and clip ends at an angle for smooth sewn finish
  • Sew cording with loose long basting stitches first before going over it again to secure and create defined edges

Benefits of Sewing With Cording

Benefits of Sewing With Cording
Adding cording to your sewing projects can really make them pop!

Using piping, welting, or other types of cording elevates the aesthetic of any item, adding eye-catching definition and contrast.

A neatly stitched cord gives clothing, décor items, and accessories a crisp, professional finish.

Elevates Project Aesthetics

The simple cording elevates your project’s aesthetics by adding definition, contrast, and visual interest with minimal effort on your part.

Whether using ready-made or custom piping made from fabric strips, this trim enhances any project through decorative edging.

Creative piping ideas like contrasting colors or varied widths give a polished, professional finish.

Adds Definition and Contrast

Since cording stands out against the main fabric, you’ll add stylish definition and contrast when sewing it into seams and edges.

The eye-catching piping techniques create decorative trims and fabric edging accents on any DIY sewing project.

Consider using store-bought or handmade piping on clothing, cushions, bags, and more.

With the right zipper foot, it’s simple to neatly stitch this fabric accent along edges for visual interest.

Creates Professional Finish

Adding cording creates a professional finish for your sewing projects.

You’ll find your items have more polished details that elevate the overall look.

Incorporating piping techniques like using the right tools, carefully stitching seams and curves, and adjusting stitch length gives your projects crisp, defined edges reminiscent of couture fashion.

Attention to professional finishes makes the difference between homemade and expertly crafted.

Cording Feet and Tools

Cording Feet and Tools
Once you decide to add piping or cording details to your sewing projects, you’ll need the proper tools to achieve professional-looking results throughout the construction process.

Invest in a piping or zipper foot to easily insert cord into folded bias tape when making your own, or to neatly stitch ready-made piping into seams.

These specialized presser feet have a center groove to accommodate the cord, keeping it straight as you sew piping with perfectly straight stitching right alongside the inner cord.

With the right cording foot, you’ll find working piping into curved seams or sharply angled corners frustration-free.

Guiding smooth piping around tricky spots prevents frustrating puckers.

Whether relying on store-bought or homemade piping, a quality piping foot effortlessly yields couture outcomes.

Preparing and Cutting Cording

Preparing and Cutting Cording
Two key steps will help you correctly prepare and cut cording.

First, preshrink all cording before beginning your project to prevent shrinkage wrinkles after stitching.

Clip cording ends at an angle before inserting into bias-cut fabric to aid smooth stitching around corners.

Next, cut and join enough cording strips to cover your project’s edges, adding a few extra inches.

Use a zipper foot when stitching over cording for best results.

Take care to align cording strips precisely along edges as you baste before topstitching.

Proper preparation and precise cutting enables lovely stitched cording trims.

Should issues arise, consult troubleshooting tips regarding joining ends or maneuvering corners before unpicking stitches.

With practice, handcrafted cording elevates your sewing.

Joining Cording Ends

Joining Cording Ends
Now that your cording is cut and ready, it’s time to master the art of cleanly joining cording ends.

This step ensures beautifully finished seams where the eye won’t detect any flaws or gaps in your trim.

Let’s review proper end joining in 4 key steps:

  1. Unstitch the bias tape from around the cording about 1-2 inches back from the end.

Clip the cording so it stops short of the unstitched section.

  1. Fold under and press the raw edges of the bias tape.

Insert the end of the cording into the folded section so the ends align neatly.

  1. Pin the folded section in place and re-stitch the bias tape back around the cording using a zipper foot up to your original stitch line.
  2. Carefully trim away any excess bias tape so it aligns perfectly with the originally stitched trim.

With practice, you’ll achieve expert-looking results, with no gaps or imperfections in your decorative cording.

This trim finishing complements any project, from apparel to home décor.

Now, let’s move on to stitching techniques for neatly inserting cording into seams.

Sewing Cording in Seams

Sewing Cording in Seams
When sewing cording into seams, you’ll need to baste the cording first.

Align the raw edges with your fabric.

Next, stitch carefully right alongside the cording for best results.

Finally, press your seams, clipping curves and corners beforehand so the cording lies flat.

Basting Cording

You’ll baste the cording facing inwards, matching the raw edges with your project piece before stitching.

Use basting techniques like loose long stitches to temporarily hold the cording, allowing adjustment.

Proper alignment creates clean finished seams, elevating your project’s aesthetics.

Careful basting enables easily joining ends later.

Stitching Over Cording

To sew cording into seams:

  • Stitch over the cording to secure it in place and create a defined edge.
  • Keep your stitching line straight and centered over the piping for best results.
  • Avoid pulling or stretching the fabric as you sew to prevent wrinkles.

Use an appropriate piping foot and go slowly around curves:

  • Check alignment frequently and make minor adjustments as needed.
  • Clipping the seam allowance can also help ease fabric around corners.

Pressing Seams With Cording

After stitching over the cording, press your seams open using a tailor’s clapper or seam stick to flatten the area without imprinting the cord onto the fabric.

When pressing fabric with cording:

  • Allow seams to cool completely before removing clapper.
  • Use a press cloth to avoid cord impressions.
  • Press gently along the length of the seam.
  • Don’t press directly on top of the cord.
  • Check the seam after pressing to ensure the cord hasn’t shifted.

Making Your Own Cording

Making Your Own Cording
When making your own cording, choose lightweight fabrics like cotton or silk for the bias binding.

Cut your fabric on the true bias for the easiest wrapping and crispest corners.

Then insert purchased or handmade cording into the bias binding, aligning the raw edges and stitching close to the cording for best results.

Choosing Fabric for Bias Binding

One key aspect is selecting the right fabric for homemade bias binding to use in piping.

Consider fabric type, thickness, and stretchiness when making bias strips for piping.

Preshrink your fabric and cord using the same method to prevent differential shrinkage.

Steam press bias strips before assembling to ease working with them.

Bias binding helps piping curve smoothly around corners.

Choose a lightweight, tightly woven fabric with a bit of stretch for the easiest homemade piping that holds up well.

Inserting Cording in Bias Binding

Once you’ve cut your bias binding, you’ll thread your cording through the center of the binding, encasing it before stitching the binding closed.

To insert cording into bias binding for homemade piping:

  1. Cut bias strips to your desired width plus seam allowance. Common widths are 3/8, 1/2, and 5/8.
  2. Thread cording through a bodkin, safety pin, or large tapestry needle.
  3. Carefully feed the cording through the center of the bias strip, leaving a few inches free at each end.
  4. Fold and press the bias strip around the cording. Stitch close to the cording using a zipper foot for best results.

Troubleshooting Sewn Cording

Troubleshooting Sewn Cording
Troubleshooting sewn cording can help you achieve great-looking results. Carefully examine your work and make adjustments as needed.

To fix common piping issues, consult this table:

Issue Solution
Puckered piping Clip seam allowances before turning corners.
Wrinkled piping Pre-shrink cord and fabric, use bias binding.
Gaps near piping Use proper foot (piping/zipper) to stitch close.
Twisted piping Pin carefully, stitch slowly.
Exposed cord Trim seam allowance after stitching.

Taking time to prepare materials by preshrinking and using bias-cut binding helps create smooth curves. Adjust stitch length to make undoing easier if necessary. Clipping seam allowances enables piping to bend cleanly around corners.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of fabric should I use for making my own cording?

When making your own cording, cut bias strips from lightweight woven fabric like cotton, linen, or silk.

Using fabric cut on the bias allows the cording to curve smoothly around corners without wrinkling.

Can I sew cording around curved edges and corners?

Yes, you can sew cording around curved edges and corners.

Carefully clip the seam allowance and gently ease the cording around curves.

For sharp corners, make small snips to release tension so the cording lies flat.

Take it slowly, pin often, and handle the fabric gently.

How wide should the seam allowance be when sewing in cording?

When sewing in cording, use a 1/4 seam allowance. This allows the stitching to be close to the cord for a neat finish.

Going narrower risks stitching directly on top of the cord.

Stay consistent with this seam width throughout your project for properly aligned cording around edges and corners.

What stitch length and tension should I use on my sewing machine for cording?

Use a longer stitch length around 3-4mm.

Reduce the tension slightly when sewing in cording.

This will allow the fabric to move more freely around the cording without puckering.

Check the stitching as you go.

Adjust as needed for smooth sewing.

What causes puckering when sewing in cording and how can I prevent it?

Technological changes always cause anxieties. Past innovations like the printing press and train networks disturbed labor markets for certain groups. Today’s advancements around automation and artificial intelligence are similarly causing worries.

Will machines displace many types of jobs? It is a pressing debate. There are reasonable arguments on multiple sides. Some tasks seem susceptible while others less so. Predictions see robots doing more functions.

We cannot fully forecast the future. But getting defensive or obstructing progress also does not help. There will be challenges in job transitions. Though opportunity can emerge amidst difficulty. With care and wise policy, society can guide technology’s course more positively.

Many roles will transform rather than disappear. Education, training programs, stronger safety nets, incentives, all have roles to play.

There are always groups that struggle with change more than others. Concern and compassion for them is valid. Anger and despair less so. All transitions generate anxiety, but panic assumes the worst. Steady pragmatism aligned with ethics serves us better. If we lose openness or optimism, backlash can have high costs too.

Revolutions often disappoint by overpromising. Evolutions predicated on human dignity need not. The ultimate test is how much we enable human flourishing versus undermine it. With shared purpose, we can pass that test.

But we must discuss and work tirelessly to realize such vision of common progress.


You now hold the keys to transform plain projects into sophisticated statements.

Experiment with cording until your distinctive flair emerges.

Let your creativity run wild, unhindered by self-doubt.

Your enhanced vision will reveal potential in the ordinary.

Boldly embrace this empowering technique, and each cording you sew infuses passion into your craft.

The only limit is your imagination, so unleash it by sewing cording on your next creation.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.