How to Make Welt Cord or Fabric-Covered Piping

  • 01 of 05

    Choose Your Fabric and Cord Size

    Selecting Fabric for Welt Cord
    Selecting Fabric for Welt Cord. Leah French

    Making welt cord, or piping is simply the act of covering plain cording with a decorative cover, usually fabric. The cord itself is available in different diameters, from the size of the thin string to that of fat ropes. Double cords are also available.

    Welt cord, often called piping, is one mark of good quality upholstery. Welt adds strength to seams and gives any upholstered piece a finished, professional look.

    Welt cord is also used as a design element. For example, by using a ​contrasting fabric for the welt, different from the fabric you are using for the body of the piece, you can pop a specific color from the main body fabric, or emphasize the lines of a piece.

    For a good idea of how the finished piece will look, fold the welt fabric diagonally. Then placing the body fabric on top of it. Allow just the folded edge of the welt fabric to show beneath the body fabric.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Cut the Welt Fabric

    Cutting the Fabric on the Bias
    Cutting the Fabric on the Bias. Leah French

    Fabric covered welt should always be made with strips of fabric cut on the diagonal, or bias. The reason is that a bias cut gives and stretches as needed, and welt usually has to curve and wrap around corners to follow the lines of your project.

    Your strips don’t have to be perfect, but make sure they are wide enough to fold over your welt cord and leave you with a 1/2 to 1” lip. I tend to like a small lip, but you may want a full inch to work with if you are new to upholstering.

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Connect the Fabric Strips

    Connecting the Fabric Strips
    Connecting the Fabric Strips. Leah French

    You'll need one continuous strip of fabric to make your welt.

    1. Right side down, fold back the edge of a strip. Pin into place.
    2. Place the end of another strip, also right side down, on top of the first one. Pin into place.
    3. Continue until you have one long strip of fabric.
    4. Sew the strips together with right sides together.
    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Pin Fusing Tape to the Strip Edge

    Pinning Fusing Tape
    Pinning Fusing Tape. Leah French
    1. Pin some no-sew fusing tape, paper side up, along one edge of your fabric strip.
    2. Use a hot iron, according to the instructions on your fusing tape package, to fuse the tape to your fabric strip.
    3. Remove the pins.
    4. Peel off the paper, leaving only the part now fused to your fabric strip.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Finish Your Welt by Fusing the Strip Edges Together

    Using Iron to Fuse Fabric
    Using Iron to Fuse Fabric. Leah French
    1. Place the uncovered cord down the center of the wrong side of the fabric strip, leaving at least an inch of cord past the end of the strip.
    2. Fold the strip over the cord and pin the edges together.
    3. Use a hot iron, according to the instructions on your fusing tape package, to fuse the fabric together, containing the cord and creating the lip. Continue down the entire length of your fabric strip, until the welt cord is complete.

    Note: I've described the no-sew method. You can use a sewing machine instead of the fusing tape. If so, skip instructions regarding fusing tape. Put your cord in place, pin the lip, and sew the strip closed. Stitch as close to the cord as possible for a tight welt; sometimes I remove the foot from my sewing machine for this.