Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

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Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

Using cording to finish the edges of your sewing projects definitely adds a professional quality, however it isn’t readily available in a wide variety of types or finishes which tends to limit its uses.

Making your own cording is not only fun, but it can be made in any color or thickness to coordinate with all your sewing projects. There are several ways to make your own cording, but machine wrapped cording, which is cording made using a sewing machine, is the quickest method. This type of cording is probably my favorite and I use it as a trim and also for embellishing and it can be used for all sorts of different ways.

For edging and wrap-around ties on fabric journals

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

For edging and also to hide the joined edges on fabric boxes

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

For more functional purposes as part of the closure on the lid of this fabric box

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

And even for decorative elements on art quilts

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

What You Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Machine Feet
    You can use a standard sewing machine foot, however a foot with a “tunnel” underneath, such as a beading foot or cording foot is ideal.


    Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

  • Base Cording
    Anything that is flexible and thin enough to fit under the foot of your sewing machine will work for this type of cording such as yarn, strips of fabric, string, old embroidery thread, old piping or cording
  • Thread
    You can use a variety of threads in cotton, rayon, polyester and metallic. This is a great technique for using up any old thread that you have lying around.


Set up the sewing machine with the same thread on top and in the bobbin. This can be any color or type of thread as it won’t show once the cord is finished. Cut the base cording to the desired length. In this tutorial I’m demonstrating using three strands of 8 ply yarn which will produce approx 1/8″ diameter cording.

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

Set the sewing machine for zigzag stitch wide enough for the needle to swing entirely over the yarn on either side. Length should be about 1.5 – 2.0.

Allow about 2-3 inches of cording to extend out the back of the machine, and holding the tail of the cord with your left hand and twisting the front section with your right hand, guide the cording under the foot. If it’s difficult to move the cord, loosen the tension on the presser foot if your machine has this option, or you may need to pull the cord slightly in order for it to feed through smoothly. Zigzag along the length of cording. This row of stitching will bind the separate pieces into one.

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

Shorten the length of the stitch to about .5, or shorter if you’re using fine thread, and holding the cording in the same manner as previous, satin stitch the length of the cording. This row of stitching helps to cover the base cord.

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

Change the top thread and bobbin thread to the main color of the cord. Using the same stitch length, satin stitch the length of the cording. This is the finishing row of stitching.

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

If you want a bit of sparkle, finish the cord with metallic thread. Lengthen your stitch to 1.5 – 2.0, change to a metallic thread in the top and bobbin and zigzag the length of the cording.

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked!


If you sew a length of fine craft wire into the first or second row of stitching, you can make cording that you can shape and bend.

Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording

19 thoughts on “Tutorial: Machine Wrapped Cording”

  1. Okay! Now that I’ve made machine wrapped cording how do I attach it to my quilt?

  2. I’m loving your web pages. Machine wrapped cords are great! I made three today and love the process as well as the result.
    I now have them hanging around my neck! Keep up your work. It is inspiring.
    Best Wishes,

  3. Brilliant. i love making my own cords too. I keep all my cottons etc and they go down the middle. I especially like using materials with loose weave as they add exyta dimension to the finished product(my way). But I always wondered how they were really made and its the satin stitch that I was missing out on that gave it the depth I wanted. so thanks for the tutorial.

    1. Your work is beautiful!
      What is a satin stitch?
      Also, when you use this as edging on your journals, do you have to put binding on the journal first or can you just attach the cording to the raw edge of the journal?

      1. Hi Linda – satin stitch is a narrow zig-zag stitch and is sometimes used for finishing edges. For these particular journals I don’t bind them, I finish the edges with satin stitch and then attach the cording. You could also attach the cording to raw edges.

  4. I would like to make some cording that shows the “lashes” on eyelash wool. Do you have any ideas please? Thank you for wonderful lesson on cording. Chris

    1. The only way to do it by machine is to sew with a longer length stitch and then manually pull out the outlashes.

  5. The boxes are just what I have been working on, I wish I had seen the tutorial several weeks ago. Love the idea of using them for embellishment and with the circular attachment. Thank you for the tutorial..

  6. Thank you for a very well written lesson the images show it all .I have had a play before but it didn’t work as well as your lesson can’t wait to try it

  7. I’m having trouble with the ends. How do you finish them off? I put some jewelry wire inside and that seems to be adding to the difficulty of getting a good looking end.

  8. Leyette Callister

    Thanks for sharing this very useful tutorial. I feel very encouraged to have a go!!

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