Quick Tip: How Much Fabric Do I Need to Make Piping?


Custom piping is a great way to give your cushion, pillow or chair a professional, finished look. It’s not hard to make, but it can be tricky to figure out how much extra fabric to order to accommodate the piping. Luckily, it’s not a complicated process (just two steps!) and we even have a chart to make things extra easy for you.

Determine the Piping Cord Length

The first step to determine how much fabric you’re going to need for custom piping is to determine how much piping you’ll need. You’ll want to know the measurement of the perimeter of your project. Then add a little extra, just to be on the safe side. This is the amount of piping cord you will order. At Sailrite, we have three sizes of piping cord to choose from: 5/32″, 6/32″ or 1/4″ diameters.

Determine the Fabric Amount

Once you know how many yards of piping you’ll need you can use this handy chart to determine how much extra fabric to order. This chart only displays approximations for the most common piping diameter, 5/32”. Fabric estimates would be greater for larger diameters. The chart displays how many yards of 5/32” piping 1 yard of fabric will create in both bias and straight cuts.

Cut 36″ Fabric: Bias 36″ Fabric: Straight 46″ Fabric: Bias 46″ Fabric: Straight 54″ Fabric: Bias 54″ Fabric: Straight
1-1/4″ wide 19 yards 23 yards 25 yards 31 yards 28 yards 35 yards

You can also use the Sailrite Fabric Calculator to help you plan your required fabric yardage for your next project. The Fabric Calculator will also offer suggestions for binding or piping measurements. You’ll notice that the calculations there are higher than in the chart above, but that’s because the Fabric Calculator assumes cutting 2” strips for piping.

Find everything you need at Sailrite.com

Do you make custom piping for your projects? Do you have any tips or tricks of your own for ordering the right amount of extra fabric? Share your ideas in the comments!

  1. Terry said:

    This is so helpful. I love the finished, professional look of piping. This makes it really easy to figure out how much fabric to allow. I’m not much of a blogger but I may be coming around.

  2. Sheri Newcomb said:

    My tip for piping would be to cut your piping & cording an inch to two longer than your original ‘finished project’ forecast. Once you’ve gained the experience of how much you want to overlap for closure, you won’t be scared while sewing that you may be short. You can cut it where you want to at the end. A N D, your cords do not have to touch at closure. Your entire closure will be cleaner if there’s an eight to quarter of an inch between the cord ends. Promise, it’s not rocket science.

  3. Jennyct said:

    Hi, would you do a solid herringbone on the bias or straight? I think straight would look good matched, but you can’t match the sides.

    • Nikki said:

      Often the pattern on the piping won’t match up with the fabric on the project, so I’d probably just go ahead and use bias piping because it curves nicer than straight cut. But it’s completely preferential.

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