Upholstery Trims

(first rough draft)
When you are reupholstering furniture with a trim between the fabric and the wood, What type of trim should you use. This article will give the pros and cons of each type of trim.

Gimp Trim

When I worked with my dad years ago we stocked many colors of gimp. In that case, it was always there ready to go.

Nowadays, for me, a 36 yard card of gimp cost $15 wholesale, plus shipping. I'm not sure how many colors of gimp are available nowadays, but I have an old gimp chart that has 99 colors. Even it there were only half that many colors nowadays, that still $15 X 50 colors = $750. I'm not going to spend that much just to stock gimp. My other choice is to either order in a roll of gimp each time I need 2 yards of gimp, or go take my time to run across town to a fabric store to get a couple yards of gimp. If a client wants gimp, I send them to the fabric store to buy it.

Double Welt

One reason I also like double welt is that it always matches.

Then, most of the people I give double welt as an option, choose double welt. So, while I still use gimp occasionally, most of the time I use double welt. Besides the customer liking it, it is a lot simpler for me to make up the double welt that it is to run across town, not finding a good match, or having order it in. Making a few feet or a few yards of double welt is easier and less expensive than the options.



Double Welt

Double cording (also called double welting) is used in upholstery between the wood and the fabric joins. It is used to cover up the staple or tacks that are used to attach the fabric to the frame.

To make and attach double welt to a fabric covered furniture, these supplies are recommended

Supplies for making the welt.

  • The upholstery fabric
  • Scissors to cut the fabric
  • Ruler to mark the straight lines
  • Marker
  • Sewing machine
  • Double welt foot for sewing machine
  • Cording (They sell a double cording, but I've never used it. I use the standard 5/32" welt)
  • Thread to match the color of the fabric

Supplies for attaching the double welt to the furniture

  • spray paint same color as the fabric
  • light sandpaper
  • stapler with a long snout
  • thin wire staples



Making the Double Cording

If you don't have a double cording foot for your sewing machine, purchase one. A professional upholsterer should have the necessary tools of the trade, and this is one tool you should have.

Even though I have had some premade double cording filling, I have never used it on a job. (Which is not to say that you shouldn't use it, maybe you can figure it out better than I could.

I use the standard 5/32" single welt, and just sew it twice.

  1. Cut the fabric strips at least 2 1/4" wide. It can be cut up the roll or diagnally. If you have a fabric that unravels easily, then cut it diagonally.
  2. Sew the cording along one side with a little seam allowance sticking out
  3. Trim off the seam allowance along the seam so that only about 1/8" of the allowance remains
  4. Using the double cording foot on your sewing machine, fold and sew the other cording tight against the first cording, as you sew between the two cordings
  5. After the cording has been sewn, trim off the extra fabric on the back side to about 1/8th to 3/16". (Check that the raw edges don't show from the front.)

Attaching the Double Cording

There are multiple ways to attach the double welt to the frame.The way that I have settle on in recent years is I staple the double welt to the frame.

  1. First, lightly sand the top of the staples so that the paint will better adher to the staples. 
  2. Spray paint the top of the staples with a spray paint that matches (as close as possible) the color of the fabric.
  3. Attach  the double cording by stapling the colored staples right on the stitch line in the center of the double cording.
  4. Then, using a pair of pliers, squeeze the two cordings together to cover up the center staples as much as possible.

Alternate Method
Another method of attaching double cording is to use a white glue or fabric glue. Using this method you need to be much more careful to watch that you don't get the glue on the fabric. White glue ususlly dries clear and it holds the welting quite securely in place IF it has been properly glued and dried in place.

If possible, lay the furniture in such a way that the working area flat. For instance, if you will be putting the double weld on the front base, then lay the furniture on its back. You can apply glue in areas that are not flat. You just need to be more careful. Tip: get a piece of thin plastic (i.e. painter's drop cloth/plastic) and cover up any fabric areas where the glue might drop onto.

Sqeeze the glue out onto the stapled area about a foot or two at a time. Then press the double cord down onto the glued area and "lightly" put a few staples into the cording to hold it in place as the glue dries. (Once the glue has dried, pull the staples out).


DO NOT use hot glue to fasten the double cording onto the furniture. It may be quicker but it does not hold securely and the job is much sloppier. The hot glue often stick out from under the cording and sometimes gets on the fabric. I speak from experience. I do not recommend using hot glue.

Two Color Double Welt Trim

Occassionally an upholstery client may request two color double welt around the wood.

Here's sample of beige and black vinyl double welt (layed on a red table).  Making it can be pretty simple.


Making 2-Color Double Welt

First Cut your two strips of fabric about 1 1/2" wide.
Sew together, put your first color of welt into you sewing machine as if you were going to sew it as a single welt. Then put the second color face down on top of the first welt, and sew the two pieces together like this:

After sewing, trim the seam allowance on the back close to the seam:

Then wrap the second fabric around the next strip of cording and sew it together through the top:

After sewing, trim fabric close to the seam on the back side of the welt.