How to make a pillow with piping

Even piped, pillows are the simplest thing ever.

You will need:

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • 1/4″ cord
  • A sewing machine
  • A zipper foot
  • Stuffing or pillow forms
  • The usual suspects (scissors, straight pins, etc.)

If you’re trying to decide between two colors of thread, choose the one that shows the least (in this case, the one on the right).

Choose the least visible thread

Cut two pieces of fabric, right sides together, of the size you need for your pillow forms plus 5/8″ all round.

Cut front and back

Then cut 1″ strips of fabric on the bias (diagonal) for the piping.

Cut strips on the bias for the piping

Sew the ends of the strips together to make one looooong strip. To know how much you’ll need, add up the edges of your pillow forms (for example, to pipe a 15″ square pillow, you’ll need 4 x 15″ (60″) plus a bit).

Change out your regular foot for a zipper foot and thread your machine.

Zipper foot

A zipper foot is important because it allows the needle to get closer in to the cording so you get a nice tight seam.

Make your piping first: just fold the piping around the cord, right side out, and sew a seam.

Piping looks hard but it's not

Then, baste (turn the sewing machine to its longest stitch) the piping to ONE SIDE of the pillow. The edge of the piping should match the edge of the pillow fabric with the corded side in. You’ll want the pins to point in as well so they don’t get caught.

Overlap the piping where the ends meet

Take the pins out and put the two pillow sides right sides together and pin with the cording in the middle. Sew (don’t forget to adjust your stitch length to normal), making sure to leave an opening big enough to get the pillow inside. Sew as close to the piping as you can. How big a hole to leave is a judgment call. Too small and it’s really hard to stuff the pillow in; too large and you’ve got a long way to sew by hand.

If you make the hole too small, stuffing the pillow in is really a pain, kind of like trying to get a python to swallow a pig

When you’ve gone around once, flip the pillow cover over and sew again on the other side. Trim the excess fabric at the corners and then take the pins out and turn the cover right side out.

Stuff the pillow in.

Match up the edges and sew the opening up by hand with small stitches.



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