Piping, the decorative edging that is used for clothing and articles such as handbags, consists of a tubular piece of cording that has been sheathed in an overwrap of cloth or leather. When attached to the fashion item, the three-dimensional element lends linear interest and accenting to what would otherwise be a plain surface. Making piping is not difficult; it requires knowing how to cut the leather, knowing how much room to leave for seams, and the use of sewing machine attachments.
Choose a leather or other covering sheath and a cording that together will constitute the piping for your leather bag. Cut a length of strip of the covering sheath: leather or suede piping material should be cut on the cross grain for the most stretch, but, if using fabric, you should cut on the bias to better manipulate the piping around angles and curves.
Make room for the seam allowance when you cut the piping fabric or material. Leave room for where you will sew the ends of the covering together. Wrap the fabric around the cording, and either measure or visually approximate how much more material you will need to add.
Insert the cording on the wrong side of the fabric or leather covering strip. Fold the fabric or leather in half around it.
Sew the ends of the covering shut to seal it around the cording. Use a sewing machine with a zipper foot attachment to baste the edges so that the cording remains taut within the covering.