Make Piping Out of Thrift Store Finds | Pretty Handy Girl

Make Piping Out of Thrift Store Finds

How to Make Piping from Thrift Store Finds | Pretty Handy Girl

I used to buy expensive piping from my local fabric store, until the day I learned how to make my own piping. When I saw how easy making custom piping is, I never bought another yard! More recently I found a way to make piping for even less! I frequent my local thrift stores in search of items that can yield thin strips of fabric to make my own piping.

Here are a few things you can buy at a thrift store to make piping:

  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Ties
  • Fabric Belts
  • Scarves
  • Curtains
  • Linens
  • Tablecloths

Here are some tips for harvesting the material from  your thrift store finds:

Old Shirts: Cut off the arms and remove the cuffs.  Cut the front and back shirt panels out.

Customize a Tote Bag with an Old Shirt | Pretty Handy Girl


Similar to the shirts, cut off the legs and remove the cuffs.


Have leftover pant material? Pant legs can also make cute bucket liners!

Ties and Fabric Belts:

Ties and fabric belts can be split open. If the fabric is at least 5″ wide, it can be cut in half.

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl


Cut scarves into 2.5″ strips.

Stenciled and Dyed Scarves Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Now let’s use that fabric to Make Beautiful Piping Out of Thrift Store Finds.

How to Sew Piping:


  • Cotton rope
  • Inexpensive cotton/poly blend white fabric
  • White thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine with a zipper foot
  • Iron


Cut fabric into 2.5″ strips.

Make Your Own Finger-Printed Star Pillows | Pretty Handy Girl

To add more length, cut two pieces at a 45˚ angle at their ends.

Pin the two angled ends together as shown (at a 90˚ angle).

Stitch the two pieces together along the angled edge.

Open up the fabric and press the seam.

Lay your rope in the center of the fabric.

Line up the raw edges and pin next to the cord.

Using your sewing machine and zipper foot, stitch very close along the edge of the rope but not on top of it.

And this is your finished product!

Fabric with a print on it is super cute too!

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Now, head on over to see my tutorial for sewing a bench cushion with piping:


or dressing up tote bags with piping:

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

or making piped envelope pillows!

Make Your Own Finger-Printed Star Pillows | Pretty Handy Girl

And may you never pay full price for piping ever again!



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5 replies
  1. Julie
    Julie says:

    I just saw this, looking through some of your other projects, I have ALWAYS loved your site, and all of the creative projects you come up with!!!! I have a weird question about this… do you happen to know where you purchased the cotton rope you used for the piping? I used to always buy clothes line to make piping because it is inexpensive, but recently all the clothesline (and even some of the piping at the fabric store) I find is made out of that weird stuff that is woven on the exterior and has plastic-y tubing down the center… it is NOT rope!!! But I noticed yours in the photo is good old fashioned cotton twisted rope!!! I want to do a macrame project, and I want that twisted cotton rope look. I have found a small selection of cotton rope at the hardware, but it would be too expensive to buy 100 feet.

    Just curious if you had a good source, for inexpensive cotton rope….?


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