Slip Tips – Bias Covered Cording

Hi there, I’m Angie Knowles of with episode episode 3 of Slip Tips, my video tutorial series where I share some of my favorite tips, tricks and tools of the trade for sewing custom slipcovers and other home décor items.

In this episode we will learn how to make bias covered cording. Now bias covered cording is a common feature in home décor sewing so mastering this skill is very important. The method I’ll be showing is one that I like to use when I only have a small amount of cording to make, say 10 yards or less. So why don’t we go over to the table and get started shall we.

Ok here we are at my portable table set up and I have my piece of fabric I want to make my cording out of. I like to start with a piece either 18 or 24 inches square. This piece is 18″. The first step is to take 1 corner and fold it up at a 90 degree angle, keeping this edge and this edge straight. You don’t want it wonky like like this or wonky like that, you want both edges straight. Then I’m going to lightly crease my fold. Fold that back out and then cut along that fold. That piece you cut off, you can throw that away, you probably won’t need it. So we’ve got our cut edge and it is on the bias. Now we are going to take and fold our piece of fabric lining those cut edges up evenly. So we’ve got our cut edge, our bias cut edge lined up. We will fold it again keeping that bias edge even, you can see I still have it even. We will just keep folding this in a jelly roll fashion. Keep folding it and folding it.

So I’ve got this folded up in a jelly roll fashion, with the edges all even and now we need to mark off for the size our bias strips. The size you cut your strips will depend on the size cording you will use. I’m going to cut my strips 2″ wide for this purpose because the ruler I have happens to be 2″. So I’ll just place the ruler along the cut edge and mark off my strips. Continue to place the ruler down and continue marking. Once you’ve marked all your strips you can go ahead an start cutting them. Ok, I’ve got all my strips cut and now it is time to go to the sewing machine and stitch them together.

Ok, we are at the machine and ready to sew the strips together. Now I will do my best to keep my hands out of the way so you can see what I’m doing. I’ve got my first strip laid on the machine and you can see my bias angle going this way. I will lay my second strip on top of it, right sides together only the bias angle going the opposite direction. I’m going to lay them here next to each so you can see what I’m talking about. One angle going this way, the other angle going the opposite way. Now most people want to lay them like and that’s not right. When you sew them together, you end up with a mitre instead of a bias strip. You end up like with a V-shaped mitered piece, instead of a bias strip sewn together. It may look like it is wrong when you do it this way, but it’s not. Just place them together with the cut edges even , start sewing from the one corner to the next corner. And when you open this up, you have a continuous strip instead of a mitre. So I will just keep adding pieces to this, sewing from the corner to the corner. Now here is one quick tip, you will notice I’m not cutting my thread between these strips, I just pull out enough thread and keep sewing. Lets do one more. Notice that angle, they look like they are going in opposite directions and they are, but that is what we want. I’m gonna go ahead and keep sewing these together and will come back and add the cord.

Ok, we are here at the machine now ready to cover the cord. But before we get to that I want to talk about the foot that I’ll be using. The foot I’m using is an adjustable zipper foot. As you can see the needle is on the left side of the foot and the foot has a little notch in it that allows the needle to go through. This foot is adjustable and you can move it to the other side of the needle by adjusting the screw and moving it over. But for cording we need it on the needle left side of the foot. So I’m just gonna lock that into place and now we will cover the cord.

I’m going to lay the bias strip under the foot, lay the cord in the center, and just fold it over. And when I sew, I’m not going to try and tight against that cord, for now I’m just covering the cord with the fabric. I’m just letting the left edge of the foot ride along the cord without trying to squeeze it in and get really, really tight. When I come to a seam, I just press the seam open with my fingers and keep sewing. So I’ll finish sewing this and when we come back we will be ready to attach our covered cording to our project.
Ok, now we are at the point where we need to attach the covered cording to the first layer of our project. I like to do this with my cording on the bottom next to the machine and the first layer top. Now some people say, well I can’t see what I’m doing, but you learn to work by feel. I keep the raw edges even, and I sew and just let the foot ride against the edge of the cording again. I’m still not trying to get it very tight. So I’m just gonna keep sewing this, stitching the cording to the first layer of my project. You will notice, I’m not using any pins, I’ve got 10 pins right here, 10 fingers, those are my pins. Ok, so that is all attached, and we will go ahead and attach the second layer of our project.

Now we are ready to attach the second layer of our project to our corded piece. I like to do this with the cording on top and the un-corded layer on the bottom. That way I can make sure that I am stitching close to the cording and covering up my previous layer of stitching. At time, it may look like you are stitching into the cording, but that is no problem. You want to stitch and this time you do want to tighten up on that cord, you want to get close to it. Now one little trick, normally when you sew, your fabric is in straight line with your needle. In this case if you will just twist your fabric slightly to your right, not a lot, just a little bit. What that does it forces that needle to get closer to the cord. So just angle your fabric a little bit to your right instead of having it straight in line with the needle. And I think you can see that on the video. This is straight in line and angling it just a little bit as you can see in the video. Again you will notice I’m not using any pins. And now we have our cording sandwiched between the two layers of our fabric. But lets see what it looks like on the right side, because that is where it really counts.

And here it is, our finished covered cording stitched between the two layers of our fabric. And as you can see, there’s no stitching showing. Either from where we made the cording or when we attached it to the first layer. And if I turn this over to the other side, you’ll see there is no stitching showing on this side either.

So if you follow the techniques in this video and with some practice you will become quite proficient at making bias covered cording. And if you want to do home décor sewing this is a skill you will need to perfect. So practice, practice, practice.