How To Apply Upholstery Trimmings


The gimp trim shown above is one of many finishing options used to trim furniture with exposed wood. To affix upholstery trim, apply small amounts of hot glue to the fabric and quickly press the trim into position. Work slowly and carefully as too much glue will spread and stain your fabric. For optimum adhesion and performance use a high temp. glue gun and heavy duty glue sticks instead of a mini glue gun. Traditional liquid latex glues are also available but due to their composition and instability I have experienced mixed reliability resulting in early repair work.

You can also make your own piping cord and trim your upholstered piece in any fabric you wish. Because this trim will be affixed and washing is not a concern you can use either paper or cotton cord. The standard cord size for furniture is 5/32” or 0.4 cm. It is important to use a good quality cord with a smooth, consistent diameter as it will affect the finished appearance of your piece.

To make welting or piping cord, cut a strip of fabric 1 1/2” wide to the required length. Wrap your fabric strip around the cord and sew tightly either with a piping foot or zipper foot.

Once your piping cord has been assembled, cut the SA (seam allowance) as close to the stitch line as is possible. If you are using a fabric that frays quickly, adjust your cut accordingly. To glue along the frame, position your cord so that the cut side is nestled at a 45 degree angle against the frame.

To use this finishing method your frame must recess to accommodate the cord. See the project Chair 1 for more details and photos.

Fabric covered piping cord, gimp, ribbon or nailhead trim are some of the other finishing options for decorative wood trim furniture.

To learn how to upholster a chair with wood trim, see the upholstery project “Chair 1” on the members’ page.



2 comments for “How To Apply Upholstery Trimmings

  1. bamamamaw
    March 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I am in the process of upholstering 2 club chairs and surfed the net looking for any info to help me. Voila! Your site came up and I purchased the Maestri#7-thank you so much for this info Sophia. I have not done this type of upholstery before-but I am up to the challenge.

  2. soph
    March 23, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Awesome, always happy to help! Let me know if you have questions along the way 🙂

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