Why I Never Use This in My Slipcovers

Welt Cord Trimmed Slipcover

I often trim my slipcovers with welt cord (piping).  It adds a subtle design detail and professional finish. When the cord is covered in the same fabric as the slipcover it blends right in.

Welt cord also adds a lot of function to a slipcover. It gives structure to the furniture body, cushions and arms. It defines a skirt line or hem edge. And, it adds strength to seams.

The right type of welt cord will hold its shape and look smooth and straight throughout the life of a washable slipcover. I always use washable, flexible, non-shrinking cord. It has a poly tissue core that’s wrapped with a braided cover.

What I NEVER use is plastic clothesline.  Here’s why:

Plastic Clothesline Welt Cord

Plastic clothesline is made from a heavy vinyl coating over a low-stretch core. It’s not designed to perform in a washable slipcover.

It’s too stiff. It makes welt trim feel and look rigid. And, the worse thing is plastic clothesline does not ease and shrink with the slipcover fabric. This causes rippling in the seams, which only gets worse with wash and wear.

Poly Welt Cord vs Plastic Clothesline

I know it’s tempting to use whatever cord is cheapest and readily available when making your own slipcover. But, it you want your cover to look and perform it’s best for a very long time  pass on the plastic clothesline and go with good quality welt cord.


  1. I was having trouble reusing existing welting cord from my couch set (it was doing like above and rippling, but not as bad as your photo), so when I checked what you used, I ordered exactly the same. I am still having “some” rippling – again, not as bad as your photo above, but enough to bother me a lot. Could it be because I am using drop cloths? These are 10 oz, good quality drop cloths, if that makes a difference. I prefer drop cloths until I get better at making slip covers. I don’t want to spend a great deal on quality fabric just to mess it up while I’m learning. Also, although I don’t believe I am pulling as I sew, could that be the reason?

    1. Hi Charlotte, Is the cord rippling or are the seams puckering? There is a difference and are caused by different things. The poly welt cord is compatible with cotton drop cloth canvas. However, drop cloths have some give after washed especially on the bias. If your continuous welt cord strips are cut on the bias, which they should be, you most likely are pulling on the cording as you apply it. Also, trouble shoot your thread tension (bobbin and upper), needle size and presser foot tension. If any of those things are off they can cause seams to ripple or pucker.

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