how to: make fake piping on cushions and upholstery

how-to: fake piping on upholstery

When I reupholstered this vintage hassock to its current multicolored, schlubby wool glory, I learned a lot of new things. I also made up a lot of new things. And today, I want to share the best one with you: fake piping.

Piping is intimidating and tedious. If you want it to match, you have to make it yourself, and when you sew it on, you have to line it up carefully. It makes pillows and cushions look super chic and professional, so it’s not something I was willing to skip completely on my hassock. So, I faked it.

This little trick will work best on fabrics that have some thickness to them, like my example wool. Thinner fabrics might work if you add some light batting or felt behind it – you need something to add a little bit of bulk so the piping doesn’t come out too flat. Otherwise, this couldn’t be simpler.

how to make fake piping

The first step, which is not pictured, is to sew everything like normal. With real piping, you’d add the piping as you sew the seam. The fake piping is added after-the-fact with a quick little fold.

The picture above shows the “pinch” portion of the pinch-and-fold method. What you’re looking at is the side of the cushion, and I’ve folded about 1/4″ of the fabric from the top piece over toward the side. This creates the fake piping – you’re really just folding the fabric from the top panel of the cushion.

how to make fake piping

When you have a relatively straight fold, stitch-in-the-ditch of your existing seam to sew the fold in place. I didn’t pin this – I found that it was easier simply to continue folding as I sewed.


Here’s a zoomed-out view to give a better idea of the pieces. Again, all the cushion panels have already been sewn together at this point.

how to make fake piping

Finally, here’s what it looks like when you’re done! Fake piping? Who knew!


And here’s a shot before I finished stuffing the hassock. As you can see, once you add a little bit of stuffing, the fake piping behaves deceptively closely to real piping.

hassock-upholstery complete

For more details of the hassock reupholstery process, check out the Hassock Reupholstery tag!

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