How to make Cord : 7 different methods

Step-by-step instructions on how to create cords using various techniques and methods like twisting, braiding, knotting etc.

Cords are always useful in sewing, there is no doubt about it. You use it to fill piping, as a surface embellishment on fabric for couching embroidery, for lacing corsets tight, as a means of tying drawstring closures, for making jewelry, hang things….   

If you go to a haberdashery shop you can get so many types of cords.  But there is a different joy in making your own sturdy cord in the color of your choice and the size you want.

Related posts : 10 different types of Cords you can use in sewing.

When you want a cord to match the exact fabric color you want, isn’t it advantageous to know how to make it from fabric or yarn. Here are some easy ways.

How to make your own cord

To make these cords you can use a variety of threads you have at home – yarn, 6-strand floss, pearl cotton, metallic fibers or even thin cord as base. Check out this post on different types of hand embroidery threads. If you are twisting you will need to cut the thread/fiber to about 3 times the final length of the cord you need finally. You will need to take several strands ( from 2 to 20) depending on the thickness of the cord you need.

Method 1. Twisting with machine

Cord made with sewing machine
Twisted cord

This is my favourite method of making cording from thin threads/yarn. You can use a sewing machine or a Drill (used for making holes in wood) for this. You also need some embroidery floss, yarn, or Perle cotton thread.

Cut thread or yarn 3 times the size of the cord you want finally; you can use Perle cotton thread or embroidery floss. Use three or four strands of the thread. I am using two strands of knitting yarn.

Tie two cord together
Tie the top end of the threads together

Tie the top end of your thread bunch with a knot. Tie another knot just under the first tie. This will give you a place to attach the thread to your twisting machine.

How to make the cord with your sewing machine

The thread is going to be twisted on the bobbin winder on your sewing machine. 

Insert the space between your ties on the bobbin winder of your machine.

Attach the cord to the sewing machine
Place the knotted portion of cord inside the bobbin winder

Engage the bobbin winder by moving the switch.

Hold on to the end of your thread, keeping it taut. You will be twisting your thread with the help of your sewing machine.

Run the machine and the cord will twist on itself
Keep the thread taunt

Now start the machine – use the foot pedal to move.

If the thread you have is too long you will need someone else to hold on to the thread as you operate the machine. Keep the thread taut as the machine is twisting your thread. Wait till you feel that the thread cannot twist anymore.

Making a twisted cord with your sewing machine
When you start the machine the thread will twist and make cord

After you have finished, stop the machine. Bring your hand to the center of the thread. Let go of the ends but keep the hand on the center of the thread. Now the thread will start to twist on itself from where you are holding till the end. Smooth the twisted thread till you have a nice cord in your hands.

I have read that you can do the same thing with a drill – Tie the thread to the drill attachment. If you have a hook-type attachment that is the best.

The thread will twist and twist till it is twisted into a cord. When you leave the twisting it may uncoil a little.Apply some glue to the ends when you remove the ties.

Method 2. Twisting with hand

Tie one end of your threads to an immovable object. Tie the other end to a dowel or pencil. Start twisting. When you feel that a nice twist is achieved with out it looking distorted, pinch the cord by the middle and let go. The cord will twist on its length just like with the machine.  

Method 3. Zig Zag stitching

Cord made by sewing on yarn with zig zag stitches
Zig zag stitched cord

Using a Hemmer foot you can make colorful cord easily.

For this, you also need a zig-zag sewing machine, some thread (Perle cotton thread, yarn, metallic thread), and matching sewing machine thread.

Cut the base thread to thrice the length you want the final cord to be. Cut 4 to 6 numbers of the thread for a fairly thick thread. I have used 2 strands of normal yarn used for knitting.

yarn, thread, bobbin thread
Yarn, colored thread

Thread your sewing machine with matching thread to the thicker thread (or contrasting if you want that effect, as I have done) – on the top thread slot and the bobbin.

Change the sewing machine stitch dial from straight stitching to zig-zag stitching. Adjust the stitch length and stitch width of your machine (Stitch length 4 and Stitch width 5).

Insert the thread through the twisted part of the foot.

Use stitch width of 5 and stitch length of 4
Adjust stitch width to 5 and stitch length to 4

Lower the foot and Sew over your thread with the zig-zag stitch.

Sew the zig zag stitch
Start stitching over the thread

Method 4. Tying by hand to make thicker cord

Take several thin pieces of fabric or smaller cords. Tie thread/string over them to make your own thick cord.

how to make cord by tying several strings together

Method 5. Knotting

If you have thin strings and you want a more sturdy cord with some texture this is a nice method.

Cording made with knotting

In this cord, you will be tying knots over and over a single string with the another. The steps are as follows.

Tie your yarn
make your own cording
make your own cording
make your own cording

There you have it – your first knot. Make a lot of such knots around the thread like the first know and you have a sturdy cord in no time. 

Method 6. Plaiting / Braiding

 braided or plaited cord
Plaited cord

You can plait together a large number of fine threads into a cord easily. Take three or more thread, yarn, or thin strings. Cut out the thread/strings/yarn to at least twice the length you need as the final cord.

You can tie the threads into a knot at the top to keep them together or use tape to attach it flat on a surface; You can also pin the knot at the top to a surface for free working. Start braiding as you would braid hair.

As you plait remember to keep the thread tight and even.

Follow the tutorial in these posts : Kumihimo braiding; make an easy braided cord with a simple cardboard loom here. 

braided cord

Check out another pictorial representation on how to make a cord here.

Here is a detailed tutorial to make a 4 strand braid.  

Method 7. Beaded cord

beaded cord

You can find the tutorial to make beaded cord here – 2 ways

Method 8. Fabric covered Cord 

make thin fabric tubes

You can use fabric to make your own beautiful cord of any length in the color you want matching the fabric of your dress/accessory etc. In this, you will be cutting bias fabric pieces and then using them to make thin fabric tubes which can be used as cord. 

Cut your bias tape- add 2 inches extra to the length of the cording you need. Cut inner cording (cotton cable cord) twice the length of the fabric strip. For the width, Take the cord circumference and then add 1 1/2 inches to this.

Keep the cord inside the bias strip, in the middle. Fold the fabric with the cord inside, matching the raw edges together.

Sew the starting short end closed, with the cording. Sew the long fabric edges together from one end to the other. When you have reached the end you have some extra cording left. Pull it to get the other closed end of your fabric tube to the open end. This will turn the tube right side out, with the cord inside. The extra sewing allowance inside will create cute padding for the tube. Cut the cording a little to the inside and then turn the fabric edges to the inside and slip stitch in place.

This is your smooth cord.

If you are short of cording (for the above method you need twice the cord) you can use another ‘as-easy’ method. Using a thick needle to turn the tube. you can find the method detailed in this post on making fabric tubes. ; Also how to use a loop turner for turning fabric tubes ; Make your own Piping Cord and sew it {Easy tips}

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

6 thoughts on “How to make Cord : 7 different methods”

  1. Thanks very much. Precisely what I needed. I wasted a lot of time looking at Google search results: “how to make cording”, telling me how to make biased binding or how to attach cord etc…, beforehand; when I simply wanted to know ‘how to make cording’, and you have provided many examples; I am very grateful. Thank you!

  2. knit an i-cord – use double ended knitting needles and cast on 4 stitches, knit along all the stitches and when you get to the end, instead of turning to work back in the other direction, slide the stitches along the needle and continue to knit in the same direction. Just keep going until you have the desired length.

  3. Thanks, I had heard of using a drill but not using a sewing machine. Have you ever made cords using a lucet? It takes time but gives great results.

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