Looking to save some money by recovering your boat seat, car seat, sofa seat or whatever?
Wondering how to make the neat corded edge that gives the seat structure and maybe add some contrasting color pizazz?
Professional results can be achieved with a little practice and the help of the zipper foot that's probably lurking in your sewing machine's accessory box!
It looks something like this:
Did you find it? If you did...great! If you didn't...don't despair, they are easily obtained at your local fabric store, sewing machine shop or online.
In addition to your upholstery fabric or vinyl, you'll need cording. Cording is available in a wide range of sizes and may be simple cotton twist (shown) or reinforced with wire.
Select the size and stiffness that will give you the finished look you want. For example, boat seats may have a small piped edge in a contrasting color but an overstuffed sofa cushion may have a big fat corded edge.
Next, cut long strips of fabric along the bias.
The bias is the diagonal line of fabric and it has more stretch, which will allow the cording to conform to the shape of the project.
Cut strips wide enough to wrap around cording with at least 5/8" seam allowance on both sides.
Multiple strips can be joined end-to-end to produce the length needed for your project.
Joining strips along an angled seam will reduce bulk at seam lines.
Place zipper foot on machine. Align the zipper foot so the needle fits into the notch on the left side of the zipper foot. Make sure the needle does not actually touch the zipper foot.
Wrap fabric strip around cording and place under zipper foot, aligning the foot tightly against the side of the cording.
Stitch the length of the strip, keeping the zipper foot snugly against the cording.
Place the right sides of project fabric together and insert the corded strip in between, aligning the raw edges of the corded strip with the raw edges of the project fabric. This makes a "sandwich" with the cording in the middle. Pin layers of fabric together if practical. Note that pinning vinyl may not be desirable as it will leave pin holes.
Place project fabric under zipper foot with cording sandwiched in between. Align presser foot tightly against the cording.
Keep zipper foot snugly against the cording as you sew the body of your project, taking special care when turning corners. Clipping the seam allowance will allow more "give" at corners.
Slow down & take your time.
With a little practice you will be able to produce sharp looking corded edges for your projects. The same technique applies to piped edges on garments, too!
OldSewinGear is the collaborative effort of retired repairman Gary and daughter Barbara. We love old sewing gear and enjoy sharing what we've learned in our vintage sewing machine adventures. We are located in Roseburg, Oregon.