Double Welt Piping Tips & Tricks

*This is a sponsored post written by Hearts & Sharts on behalf of  the Online Fabric Store in exchange for free product. All creations, opinions and juvenile poop humor are my own.*

Last week I made over a pair of chairs and went over some of the deets of the reupholstery earlier this week. While the upholstery part of it was pretty simple, the double welt piping was not so simple. Like I said in my previous post, I am not a professional, I only play one on the internet, but…  these are my tips and tricks and what I learned making this blessing/curse of a thing called double welt piping.


Ok. Double Welt Piping. Ready?

Eat a thousand ghost peppers, poke a needle in your eye and stick your face to a hot iron. There, you’re already having more fun than making double welt piping.

Okay, so, not really. It really wasn’t that bad, but since this was my first time, it did take some practice. I’m going to try to do everything I can to help make this easier on you if want to try this. And even though I probably just scared you away from it, I still think you should definitely try it at least once.

Here we go; lessons, tips and tricks.

The practice round was all about cotton piping, which made for a flat, ugly thing that I just couldn’t stand. I went back to the fabric store and picked up some poly blend cord that isn’t so squishy and really holds its shape well. Lesson one: Poly Blend Cord.

I originally had planned on using this fabric for the piping:


I still love it and wish it worked out but it was a quilt weight cotton and the piping was super lumpy and wrinkly after I was done with it, plus the thick upholstery fabric with the thin cotton piping just looked… wrong.

Lesson Two: Use upholstery weight or home dec fabric for piping.

Okay, game time – I had my plan and my cord, time to cut some bias tape. Cutting bias tape is super easy when using a cutting mat. Line up your straight edges and cut along the 45 degree line of your cutting mat. If you don’t have a cutting mat, make sure everything is nice a straight and 1-2-3 eyeball it. 🙂 Cutting on the bias just gives the fabric more stretch allowing you to easily turn corners on your upholstery, if your edges are a bit jagged, it really doesn’t matter, no one will see and this is all about getting the extra stretch out of the fabric.


Once you’ve cut on the bias, you can turn the fabric to line up with a horizontal line and then measure from there. I’ve seen some people continue to cut their strips while the fabric is at an angle and…  I just can’t keep that together. I always screw it up. Turning it helps my tiny brain. I used 3 inch strips. I tried a few with 2.5″ and felt more comfy with the 3″.


Once you’ve cut a couple strips, sew ’em together, with right sides facing each other to make a little V. Once I did one, I had to take a pic to keep referring back to, this got confusing for me. Is my blonde showing yet?


Iron the seams open. This will keep you from having a rando bump in your piping.


The ends of the bias tape will look like this…


Cut the end off to make a straight edge.


Okay, so here’s some bad news for you. So, let’s say your chair takes 20 yards of piping or something like that, you think, oh, ok, I’ll just sew all that in one solid piece, easy peasy. Nah. Sad news. You gotta do each piece individually so you will have enough slack at the beginning and end to make it match up all nice and neat. I mean, you could sew it all in one piece, but, this is the finishing touch on your chair, so this is the last place you want to be lazy. Besides, I would kick you if you did that.

Best bet is to measure each piece using your old piping and then add five inches. I sewed all four DWP for the arms based on the length of the previous, went to glue it on, got to the end, and it was too short. Hot iron to face. I had to rip it off and start over. But it worked out because all my piping after that looked great after all that practice.

Lesson Three: Add five inches

(that’s what she said)

Tape your ends! Goodness, guys. This stuff unravels in a minute! Not like a “Ooooh, gurl! I haven’t seen you in a minute!”, but like, an actual minute. Find the length you want, put a piece of tape around it and cut it right in the middle of the tape.


I used two different sewing feet for this, the regular sewing foot and a universal zipper foot.


Place the cord an inch or so above the the end of the fabric, fold it over the cord and lower your presser foot. Set your needle so that it will stop in the down position.


This next little trick was the key to getting the piping nice and tight and wrinkle free – instead of holding the cord and fabric straight and running it through the machine, I pulled it over to the right about 45 degrees. I made sure to keep the fabric in place as I went, but since it was going in at an angle, the cord had to kind of turn the corner right before it was sewn, tightening it up. Worked like a charm every single time.


Make sure to leave a little cording sticking out past the fabric at the end as well.


Change back to your regular presser foot. Place the second piece of cord right next to the other…


… and roll it over so that the extra flap of fabric is coming out from the bottom…


Get the cord snug in there and line it up to sew right down the middle of the two cords and put your presser foot down  Sew a bit just to get it started, don’t worry about back stitching.


Since your needle is set to the down position, at this point you can let go and re-adjust a tad and the presser foot and needle will hold the end in place. Adjust the next couple of inches of your piping and get your cording in there super snug. It will seem as though you would end up sewing over one cord or the other, but here’s the trick: As the machine is feeding the piping through, use your left pointer finger to get into that cord cleavage. Wiggle your finger down in there a bit. This will create a little ditch as the piping goes under the needle – sew in the little ditch, right down the middle, and it’s all gravy, baby. Continue to hold your finger there to create that ditch for the length of the piping. This will keep the piping as tight as possible with just enough space to sew between the cords.


Trim off the excess…


…and boom. Nice tight piping.


Applying the piping, let’s do this.

Both ends of the piping should have a bit of cording sticking out. Pull on one end of the cording to get it to go about 1/4 of an inch in on the other side. If you’ve sewn over the cord at any point, you won’t be able to pull the piping through, but no worries, since you didn’t backstitch, you can easily open up a small piece of the  end of the fabric and snip the cord. You just want enough slack to fold the fabric over…


…like this.


This will give the front of the piping a good clean edge.


Apply the glue to the cord cleavage – I have idea what else to call it. Work in small sections of about 6-10 inches, put the piping where you want it and then run your finger down the middle seam to secure it to the chair. When you get to a corner, really turn the corner at a 90 degree angle.


To finish the end, mark where the cording ends…


Push the fabric back to expose where the cord needs to be cut and snip it off…


…leaving the excess fabric.


Tuck the end under and secure with glue.




If you are a perfectionist like me, and you spy a little spot like this one that needs to be glued down but you know your hot glue gun wont fit in there without making a giant mess…


Apply the hot glue to the end of a straight pin,


and slide the pin into that little spot, pushing down the piping while pulling out the pin.


Ugh. Hot Iron to the face, anyone?! Needle in the eye?

Okay, I’m taking a piping vacation.


That made me think of cake. Someone pipe some icing into my mouth!

Click here to see the before, after and detail shots of these chairs.

Full Policy


  1. says

    wow!! that piping looks amazing on there!! I’m super impressed! You are featured this weekend at the Create Link Inspire features over at Nap-Time Creations- Emily

  2. Juana says

    Wow. That was amazing. I don’t sew and this is my first time on your blog. The chairs look AMAZING. But I think what impressed me the most was your attention to detail. Lining up all that piping just right and tucking it in. Awesome. You didn’t do a half-hearted job. You did your best and it shows. Beautiful.

  3. says

    Awesome tutorial – you make it look so easy but I’m afraid…very very afraid. Like I said in your upholstery post I have been commissioned to refinish and upholster two 100 year old chairs that has double welt piping so this tutorial will come in VERY handy. Thank you!

    • says

      Thanks, Marie! There was a lot of trial an error, but the tips I gave are what worked best for me. Wishing you tons of luck and smooth sailing through this project! I would love to see the before and after!!!

  4. says

    Found your blog from Dena over at A Handcrafted Wedding. Loved your wedding story and style. Would love if you share your talents with us at the Merry Monday Linky Party on Sunday at 6pm PST.


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