Find the Right Size Piping Cord - Sew Vintagely

Find the Right Size Piping Cord

Are you looking for baby piping or a piping cord size chart?

So you’ve decided to make your own piping and you’re not sure what cord to use. You may have discovered that the Wrights pre-made piping sold at big box fabric stores is too big for many garment sewing projects, especially heirloom sewing, sewing for children, or living history.

Years ago, heirloom sewing enthusiasts loved to use a cotton thread called Speed-Cro-Sheen. It was just the right size for baby piping and was 100% mercerized cotton so it had bit of stiffness to it. Now I know some of you have a stash of it that will last you until the end of time. But if you don’t, keep reading! (Or if you just want to download a piping size chart, click HERE.)

Speed-Cro-Sheen is a cotton crochet thread that was introduced in 1953 by Coats and Clark. It was preferred over a similar product called Knit-Cro-Sheen, which is smaller.  The modern substitute for Speed-Cro-Sheen is size 3 cotton crochet thread. Sadly, size 3 crochet thread is softer and floppier than Speed-Cro-Sheen. But it is an option.

In addition to size 3 crochet thread, another popular alternative is 100% polyester mini piping cording available in 100-yard spools or by the yard at some heirloom shops, or its twin: polyester drapery cording available at big box fabric and craft stores.

Of course if you want cotton, you’ll have to keep looking.

I like to use a firm cotton cord because it stays put between the two layers of fabric when I’m sewing the piping. It also holds a nice shape in the finished piping. Although, because polyester is slippery, polyester cord will easily slide out of the ends of the piping when I want to trim it to remove bulk where the piping is inside a seam. So each has it’s good points.

For baby piping, you’ll want to look for 1/16″ or 1mm or 1.5 millimeter.

One option for 100% cotton cord is the polished cotton cord used for jewelry making and leathercraft, also called “leather look.” The only one I found that comes in 1.5 mm and is also white is Blue Bird brand polished braided cotton cord, distributed by Maine Thread Company. The 1 mm cord more closely matches size 3 cotton crochet thread.

And there you have it! Everything you wanted to know about finding cord for baby piping or mini piping. Here are some options for baby piping or mini piping cording. Try them out and pick your favorite.

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2 thoughts on “Find the Right Size Piping Cord”

  1. Great tips. I make miniature dolls whose clothes are tiny. Mostly they are glued on, but often times there is some sewing involved.

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