How to Make Welting for Your DIY Upholstery Project

This custom trim adds a beautiful finishing touch to furniture.

Welting, also called piping, is a type of fabric-covered trim commonly used on upholstered furniture. It outlines the fabric seams along the edges of furniture, helping to distinguish the contours of the piece. Although this detail is mostly decorative, welting also adds extra strength to seams while giving upholstered chairs, sofas, ottomans, and more a tailored look. If you're taking on an upholstery project yourself, you can easily make your own welting to match your upholstery fabric of choice. Coordinating the welting with the rest of the furniture's fabric offers a classic look, but you can also choose a contrasting color for added definition.

chair ottoman reading nook
Kim Cornelison

How to Make Welting

Follow the instructions below to learn how to make your own welting using cotton piping and upholstery fabric. The exact measurements for the piping and fabric will vary by project, so you might need to adjust as needed. For example, a larger upholstered item, such as a sofa, will require much more welting than a small upholstered ottoman. If you run out of welting halfway through your sewing project, remember that you can always make more and continue attaching it where you left off.

What You Need

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Cutting mat
  • Pins or clips
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Cotton piping cord
  • Zipper foot
  • Thread
  • Tack strip

Step 1: Cut welting fabric.

Cut a square of upholstery fabric. We used an 18x18-inch square, but you can cut yours larger or smaller depending on the amount of welting you need. Flip the fabric square over so the wrong side is facing up. Mark a line from corner to corner, and cut along the line to create two identical triangles.

Step 2: Sew fabric pieces together.

Overlap right sides of the fabric and pin the pieces together. Sew along the edge using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press the seam open with an iron.

Step 3: Create bias strip.

Mark lines on the back side of the fabric every 2.5 inches. You might need to adjust the width between the lines according to the thickness of your piping. (Thicker piping will require more space between lines.) Bring the ends of the fabric together to align lines and pin together, skipping the first line. Sew with a 1/4-inch seam allowance and press the seam open. Cut along the lines to create one continuous bias strip.

Step 4: Sew bias strip around cording.

Fold your bias strip around a piece of cording, cut to length, with the right side out. Pin or clip the edges together. Sew next to the cording using a zipper foot ($15, Michaels).

Step 5: Attach welting to furniture.

Use a staple gun to attach welting to your furniture piece along seams. Trim the end of the welting and overlap fabric to cover the end as needed. If attaching welting along the underside of a piece, secure an upholstery tack strip ($10, Joann) along the edge to prevent drooping.

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