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Covering cording for tiebacks

honeybear | Posted in General Sewing Info on


I am new in this group and I am also new in sewing.  I am hoping some one can help me to identify the length of the fabric needed to covering a twisted cord as a tiebacks for drapery.  

The book I use for reference called for  5/8″ twisted cord but I couldn’t locate it and I think I bought 12/32.  (I put the measuring tape around the cord loosely & the circumference is 2 1/2″)  The book called for 3″ bia-cut strip for 5/8″ and according to the general information, they said twice of the length of the twisted cord.   If it is the case, I would need 5″ to cover the cord & it seems very much fabric.

I hope above is enough information. 





  1. mygaley | | #1

    Dear Honeybear:  Yes, you need twice the amount of cord but not twice the length of fabric.  The reason why is you have to sew it on wrong side out beginning at one cord length then pull casing down over other end of cord; that is the only way to turn it.  I prefer the stuffed cotton-type cord over the twisted.  It is usually remarkably cheaper and I can achieve a smoother effect.

    Do not cut your total cord first.  Fold a piece of fabric around your cord and then pin where the seam would go.  Measure from seam line to seam line.  When I was first learning, I added two inches to this measurement, sewed my seam, and then trimmed to 1/2 inch.  Cut your fabric strips on bias if the print allows; it is a very efficient use of fabric and also "fits" the cording better.  Measure two cord lengths, sew fabric over inner length, then turn over outer length and trim.  This way you will not  have much cording left over.

    I learned this method from Singer Sewing for the Home, I think.  By the way, making cording is one of my favorite things to do.  Galey 

    1. honeybear | | #2



      Thank you so much for your help.  I will try it out as soon as I can find some time.  Really anxious to see if I can do this.



      1. Teaf5 | | #3

        Be sure to use a zipper foot when sewing the fabric as it is wrapped around the cord; that way, you can stitch close to the cord, trim the seam, and have a snugly wrapped cord.When I first tried this process, I was confused about what went where, so I tried it with a 10" piece of cord with a 5" long piece of fabric to make sense out of it. Lay the cord out, fold the fabric around it right side in, from one end of the cord to the middle of the cord. Stitch through all layers at the middle, then down the side of the cord, through the two layers of fabric. The uncovered part of the cord will end up inside the righted fabric, and the initally covered part will be the handle you need to tug the fabric right side out and over that cord.The double length of cord does seem wasteful, but you can always use the remainder for smaller projects.

        1. honeybear | | #4


          Hi, Teaf5:

          Thank you for your advice.  I will use the zipper foot when I sew.

          Your instruction is exactly the same way the book I use for reference.   I also received a good advice from Thegaley (Galey --  I hope you are reading this).   You people are so nice, offering help to a totally stranger.  Thanks again.  Shirley


    2. honeybear | | #5

      Dear Mygaley,

      Sorry I typed your name wrongly (I typed Thegaley in my other email sorry). 

      I am still confused with the instruction you gave me. 

      1) you wrote "measure two cord lengths"  -  Do I need to cut into 2 pcs or stay in 1 pc ?

      2) I can't figure out what is inner length and outer length.

      I want to learn your way not only to minimize the cording but I only could locate 7 yds, but I need 12 yds if I use the original instruction.  I tried to buy some more but couldn't.   Shirley

      1. mygaley | | #6

        I wish this was earlier, but I couldn't figure out how to tell you.  Try this:  I understand you are making mainly drapery tiebacks so you will have a pretty good idea of the finished length(s) of cording you will need.  Example:  for 3 - 12" finished pieces of cording: piece of cut fabric long enough to cover cord plus about 6"(you will soon learn how much to leave extra), piece of cord 4' (48").  Now for the diagram:

        [____d_____[____c____[___b_____[____a_____    sew across at ab, down to bc.  Stop and pull cover back over part a.  sew across at bc down to cd, stop and pull cover back over b.  Sew across at cd down to end (or next section) and pull cover over part c.  Now you have three l2" pieces (cut them apart now) and only one 12 inch piece unused.  As you see, if you leave the end of d attached to de, you can just keep going.  This would work if you know what your cut lengths are going to be.  

        Warning:  Do not overestimate how much cording you can turn at one time.  If my pieces were over about 8-10 yards long, I would try hard to join shorter pieces to make it much easier to work with.  

        When I make lots of cording such as for a couch slipcover, I leave the actual cord uncut as much as possible as well as the fabric strip prepared to cover it with.  If you are making the kind to insert in a seam, you can operate this way for a long length. 

        I agree totally with the other information our gatherings friends have sent you.  Galey--By the way, mygaley is the name my dgs gave me 16 years ago; I kind of like Thegaley, it has a certain authority, as The D.....


        1. honeybear | | #7

          No, it is not late at all, I still need to find time to do the sewing.

          I printed out your email & read it several times, now understand the procedure of how to cover the cording in your way.  It is sure would save some cording by doing the way you do. 

          Before I received this email, I was wondering if I can do the covering this way.  Because I need 4 pcs of "tieback" in 1 1/2 yds each, so I would cut the cording into half of the total cording, which will be 3 1/2 yds each (I have total of 7 yds of cording).  First I will wrape the cord with the "right" side of the fabric strip and stitch to 1 1/2 yds, stitch across the cording, then pull down to cover the bottom part of cording.  Then I will wrape the "right" side of fabric strip to the "covered" cording, stitch to the 1 1/2 yds, again pull down to cover the part of cording, so I will have two pcs of 1 1/2 yds covered cording.  Do it 2 times & I will have 4 pcs of "covered" cording.

          But after reading your instruction, I think yours are much better because I don't have to worry accidentially stitch the "covered" cording, & also the "covered"cording may  give a slight bigger tube to cover the second cording.  But just for curiosity, do you think my way will work?   Just a thought, becasue I don't have much experience in sewing.   Thank you so much for your help. 

          1. mygaley | | #8

            Your plan is very similar to mine.  The only problem I see is, I snug the presser foot up to the cording for a close fit and I know I would sew that under layer of covering every time.  Galey

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