Monday, February 6, 2012

Joining Decorative Cord

Ever wonder how decorative lip cord is joined on pillows?  Where's the seam or the joint?  If done correctly no one should ever be able to tell where you joined the lip cord edges.
I made a really cute pillow for a decorator the other day and it was trimmed with Decorative Lip Cord.  I haven't had time to post the whole tutorial yet, but I thought I'd share a tutorial for applying and joining lip cord.

Joining or marrying lip cord can be intimidating if you don't know how, but with the right tools and the know how you can make fabulous custom pillows with all sorts of creative lip cords.

The key to applying lip cord is a Cording foot.  I have just about every size cording foot for my industrial sewing machine.  I know they can be purchased for most home sewing machines too.   Search the Internet and you should be able to order them on line.

The trick is to use a smaller cording foot than your lip cord.  This lip cord is 1/2 diameter and I'm using a 1/4" cording foot.
I know what you're thinking...."but that will make my lip cord smaller" and in all common sense thinking it would but it doesn't.  What it does is "bite" into the cord just enough to hide the lip tape.  I promise your lip cord will still be a 1/2" lip cord when you're finished.

Dab a bit of glue, I use Aleene's Tacky Glue, on the end of your lip cord.  You don't have to wait for it to dry completely.  In fact it's better if you don't let it dry until it gets had, just let it dry enough that it won't smear all over your fabric.

Find the center bottom of your pillow and place the lip cord 1 1/2" beyond the center bottom.  Start stitching 1/2" or so from the center point leaving approx 2" of lip cord  unstitched.
 Stitch all around your pillow with the cording foot riding up on top of the lip cord.  Clip into the tape to go around corners.
When you get within a few inches of your starting point, pause with your needle down.  Cut the lip cord 1 1/2" past your starting point and dab with glue.
Separate your cord from the lip tape 1 1/2" or so from each end.
Carefully unwind the cord as shown.
Unwind the beginning cord only enough to lay over and join this cord.  If you unwind too much, you will see a gap in your finished cord.  If you unwind too little, your finished cord will look cramped  and uneven.
Making sure the lip tape is out of the way, stitch over the joined/ over lapped cord.
Look how perfectly the cord looks where you joined it.
Not so intimidating any more is it?!   Pin It


  1. Great directions - there are so many bloggers that need tutorials on sewing to make their work look more professional. You made this very clear! My mom taught me to sew at a very young age and I went on to fashion school, then taught fashion design as a career - there are so many tricks, but difficult to explain in words and photos - you did a great job!

    1. Hi Patti,
      Thanks, It is very hard to explain some of this with words and I hope people are able to follow along.
      Thanks for the kind words.

    2. Hi Jules,

      This is a great "good to knoe tip". I am wondering if you also have one for blending 3/8" lip cording horizontal and vertical. I am making a duvet with cording down the top (vertical) and need to blend it into the edge lip cord (horz). Thanks, Connie

  2. Wow! I had no idea you could even do that and Patti is right, I know I could use a tutorial, I have been a novice for 30 years, because up until now I had a bad Singer that put me off from sewing, however now that I just got a Brother this has changed my mind and I realize my problems were due to a very defective machine. I can make a mean pillow ;) but hope to branch out.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Brigitte,
      So sorry sewing was a headache for you due to a bad sewing machine! A good, functional machine is the biggest key to sewing. I'm glad to hear you have a new machine and are fired up to sew. I'd love to see some of your pillows.

  3. Yikes! I usually shy away from adding cording to pillows but after your tutorial I may give it another try. I've never even tried my cording foot that came with my sewing machine. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Hi Miss Kitty,
      With the cording foot, lip cord really isn't as intimidating. I hope you get that cording foot out and sew away!

  4. This is a great tip. It is going to make for professional looking pillows. Usually, I'm finagling (how do you spell that word?) things in such a way that you cant's see how I join it too much, but this is definitely the PRO way to do things. Thank you.

  5. Hi Rose,
    I learned this from some ladies that had been in the profession a long time. 10 years ago when I was just starting my business, I was lucky enough to have them teach me all sorts of neat tricks. So it's my delight to pass them on!
    Happy Sewing!! Jules

  6. Wow, I really had no idea how that is done! And that is why I just make stuff for my house and not other people- ha! I have been sewing all my life but never "professionally" so it is very FUN for me to learn these pro-tips!! Blown away!

  7. Wow, now how to try it... Thanks for the tip!

  8. Great directions. My sewing skills are limited so this really helps things make sense. Thanks for sharing at this week's BFF Open House.

  9. Very great tutorial, and is very helpful. I love to sew, and have been for over 20 years, but never learned tips like this. So happy you passed them on. Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration at Sunday's Best Par.tay!

  10. Fantastic tip! ALL of your tips are well written and easy to understand with all the photos and all. I am having trouble figuring out how to add flat trim with mitered corners that butts up against the seam lines all the way around the pillow. I can do it just anywhere else, but not along the seam lines. I would think it would be doubly difficult with the edges trimmed to prevent the dog ears too. Have you covered this on your blog before?

  11. I am looking at a pattern for a mock braided rug and it calls for #4 cord, but I can't find any place that tells me what size that is in inches. Can you help me?

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