Step-by-Step Guide: Mastering the Art of Sewing Piping on a Pillow

Ready to give your pillows a professional and polished look? Sewing piping on a pillow can do just that. It’s not as daunting as it may seem, and with a little practice, you’ll be able to add a touch of elegance to any pillow.

Piping creates a crisp edge and a pop of color, making your pillows stand out. Whether you’re a seasoned sewer or a beginner, this guide will walk you through the steps. Get your needle and thread ready, because it’s time to dive into the world of pillow piping.

Remember, patience and practice are key. Let’s get started on transforming your pillows from plain to perfect.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right materials for your pillow project is crucial. Remember, your base fabric should be sturdy but the choice of fabric and piping should reflect your creative style.
  • When preparing the piping strips, the length should vary based on the size of your pillow, typically 1.5 times the perimeter of your pillow. The strip width needs to be double the cord’s diameter, plus the seam allowance.
  • While pinning and sewing the piping onto the pillow front, remember that the piping cord should be facing towards the interior of the pillow. A zipper foot is instrumental for stitching close to the piping cord.
  • Sewing the pillow front and back together requires precision and careful craftsmanship. Always align and pin the edges together to maintain a uniform seam allowance.
  • The final step involves trimming the excess fabric and finishing the pillow. Aim for about half an inch from the stitching line when trimming, and clip the corners to get rid of extra bulk.
  • Simplicity is key when considering additional embellishments. An item as simple as a button or subtle embroidery can add the perfect final touch to your pillow.

Choose the Right Fabric and Piping

Choosing the right materials for your piped pillow project is an important step, one not to be glossed over or rushed. In fact, the fabric and piping you select can make or break your finished project. So, let’s guide you through the process of making the best choice.

Your base fabric should be sturdy, especially if the pillow will have a functional use. Decorative items that won’t see much wear and tear can be made from finer, more delicate fabrics. Some popular choices include cotton, linen, rayon, and polyester. However, do not limit yourself to these options as the world of fabric is wide and varied.

Next step in your selection process is the most colorful part. The piping! Piping provides that pop of color and sophistication you’re aiming for with this project. It should also be durable. Piping will suffer the most stress, as it often defines the edge of the pillow.

Here’s a table illustrating the pros and cons of some common piping materials:

CottonDurable, ColorfastMay shrink
PolyesterStretchy, NonfadeLess crispness
RayonSoft, Vivid colorsNot very durable

Keep in mind that your piping doesn’t have to perfectly match your fabric. It’s allowed to be a feature. Why not choose a contrasting color or pick out a shade from a pattern on the fabric? That’ll bring an element of surprise to your design.

While choosing the right fabric and piping, think creatively but also practically. Reflect on the purpose of your pillow. The choice will come naturally. Plus, with all the options in the market, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Remember, patience makes the process of transforming plain pillows into perfect ones fun and fulfilling. Continue enjoying your journey through the art of sewing.

Cut and Prepare the Piping Strips

Moving on to the next critical phase of your piped pillow project, we’ll jump right into cutting and preparing the piping strips. You can’t underestimate this aspect, as it’s directly linked to the desired final output.

You’ve done an excellent job picking your fabric and piping. Now, it’s time to breathe life into those materials. Start by laying out your fabric on a clean, flat surface. It’s important that you use a sharp pair of fabric scissors, ensuring clean, precise cuts.

The length of each strip will vary based on the size of your pillow. However, a general rule of thumb is to cut the strips 1.5 times the perimeter of your pillow, giving a generous allowance for any unforeseen adjustments.

Next, consider the width of your chosen piping cord. The strip’s width should be double the cord’s diameter, plus the seam allowance. Don’t stress too much about the math here; it’s simpler than it sounds. If your cord is 1/4 inch thick, and you’re using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, your fabric strips should be cut 1 inch wide.

Piping Cord DiameterSeam AllowanceFabric Strip Width
1/4 inch1/2 inch1 inch

Once the strips are cut to the correct size, align one edge of the piping cord with one edge of the strip. Wrapping the fabric strip around the cord brings us to the final step in preparing our piping strips.

Pin and Sew the Piping onto the Pillow Front

Now that you’ve got your piping strips cut and prepared comes the critical step of pinning and sewing them onto the front of your pillow. Your detailed groundwork will pay off with a precise, professional finish that adds a striking aesthetic appeal to your pillow project.

Place your pillow front face up, and lay out your piping strip along the fabric edges. It’s vital to remember that the piping cord should be facing towards the interior of the pillow. Start at the bottom middle and work your way around the pillow. There’s a bit of technique involved in pinning the corners, so don’t rush. You’ll need to clip the seam allowance on the piping strip at the corners to make it bend smoothly around the corner.

Once the piping is fully pinned, secure it by stitching using a zipper foot. The aim is to stitch as close to the piping cord as possible, which will give the best finish.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Align your sewing needle as close to the cording as can be managed.
  • Use a short stitch length to ensure a close and tight sewing line.

You’ll find the zipper foot of great help here – it allows you to get the needle position just right, up close to the piping cord, ensuring a neat, tight stitch line.

Before sewing the ends of your piping strips together, unpick about an inch of the first strip’s stitching. This will allow you to join the two ends fairly seamlessly.

With these steps under your belt, you’re well on your way to adding that professional touch to your pillow project. It not only provides a decorative outline but also adds to the overall structure of the pillow. The satisfaction of seeing the intricacy and perfection of your own handiwork is unmatched.

Sew the Pillow Front and Back Together

After you’ve meticulously attended to the piping on the pillow front, it’s time to bring the other half of your creation into the picture: the pillow back. This stage is crucial in transforming individual fabric pieces into an almost finished pillow. It’s where craftsmanship truly comes into play, with careful precision rewarding you with a professional product.

Start by placing the pillow front (with the piping attached) and pillow back right sides together. This step ensures that when you turn the pillow right side out after sewing, the seam will be neatly hidden inside. However, here’s an essential rule to remember: always align and pin the edges together. Why, you may ask? It ensures that the fabric doesn’t shift as you’re sewing and you maintain a uniform seam allowance. Your pillow edges coming off lopsided isn’t what we want!

Now onto the actual sewing part. Using a zipper foot, stitch along the same line of stitching that you made when attaching the piping. Remember, as you sew, keep the edge of the zipper foot against the piping, and keep the needle positioned as close as possible to the piping. This technique ensures a tight seam that closely fits the piping.

Here’s a key tip: as you’re sewing around the corners, slow down and take your time. Carefully navigate around the curve of the piping, keeping the sewing accurate and consistent. Allow your craftsmanship to shine here and you’ll appreciate the effort when you see the beautifully rounded corners.

Throughout this process, you’ll notice the project beginning to take shape. You’re not just working with detached pieces of fabric and piping cord anymore. You’ve now transformed them into something functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Trim and Finish the Pillow

Having stitched your pillow pieces together, it’s time to turn your attention to the final touches – trimming the excess fabric and adding your finishing touches. This stage is just as essential to achieving a professional-quality pillow, so don’t rush through it.

Begin by trimming the excess fabric and seam allowance around the edges of your pillow. You’ll want to aim for around half an inch from your stitching line. Take care not to cut too close to your seams which could compromise the strength and durability of your pillow.

For trimming, opt for a good pair of fabric scissors. Make sure you’ve got a comfortable grip as achieving straight, clean cuts is key. And, with an activity that’s as detail-oriented as sewing, every tool in your arsenal adds to the precision of the end result.

Let’s talk about the crowning glory – the corners. You’ll need to clip your corners to get rid of any extra bulk. This allows for sharper corners when you turn your pillow right-side out. But remember, don’t clip too close to your corner stitches.

Having done all the above, it’s time to flip your pillow right-side out. Start by pushing out the corners with a blunt tool, such as a chopstick, to ensure a nice, square finish.

Stand back and admire your skills! You’ve tackled piping, mastered stitching, and even neatly clipped corners. You’ve transformed pieces of fabric into a beautiful, handcrafted pillow.

Beyond this, should you decide to add extra embellishments, remember that less is usually more when it comes to design elements. Simplicity often carries the day in terms of elegance and aesthetic appeal. Adding a few coordinated buttons or a bit of subtle embroidery can add that perfect final touch to your newly-sewn pillow. Objects of beauty are created with love, skill, patience, and meticulous attention to detail – and your newly-sewn pillow is a perfect reflection of all these attributes.

Your youngster’s room, your couch, or even the old rocking chair at the porch, your hand-stitched, custom-piped pillow will pour in blushes of compliments from all sides, enhancing the aesthetics wherever it enhances the comfort.

Proceed to the next steps and let your creativity continue to flow unabashedly.


You’ve navigated the intricate process of sewing piping on a pillow, mastering each step with precision and care. You’ve transformed simple fabric into a functional, aesthetically pleasing pillow, showcasing your skill and craftsmanship. You’ve paid attention to every detail, from aligning and pinning the edges, to trimming excess fabric and seam allowance. You’ve learned the value of tools like a zipper foot and quality fabric scissors. With your newly acquired skills, you’re now equipped to enhance your creations, adding personal touches like buttons or embroidery. It’s clear that you’re not just making pillows, you’re creating works of art. Remember, each pillow you craft is a testament to your love and meticulous attention to detail. So, go ahead, take pride in your work. You’ve earned it.

1. How do you sew the pillow front and back together?

After aligning the edges and pinning them in place, the pillow is sewn together using a zipper foot to stitch close to the piping. This ensures a tight seam and is especially important for the corners.

2. Why is maintaining uniform seam allowance important?

Maintaining a uniform seam allowance is crucial in ensuring the pillow’s durability and aesthetics. It’s important to pin the edges precisely for proper alignment.

3. What should you do after stitching the fabric pieces together?

Following the stitching, it’s significant to trim the excess fabric and seam allowance, ensuring there’s about half an inch left from the stitching line for durability. Quality fabric scissors are recommended for this task.

4. How can you achieve sharper corners on your pillow?

Clipping the corners before flipping the pillow right-side out can result in sharper edges. Attention to detail is key in enhancing the final look of the pillow.

5. What embellishments can enhance the pillow’s aesthetic appeal?

Adding elements like buttons or embroidery can elevate the aesthetic appeal of the pillow, showcasing the beauty of handcrafted pillows.