Cushions are a great project for learning how to sew zips so here I’m going to show you step by step how to insert a zip into the bottom seam of a cushion. Zips in cushions traditionally sit in the bottom seam because this allows you to flip your cushion to show both sides. Think floral on one side with stripes or plain on the other side – so many fun combinations.
I’m using a funky printed tea towel from Typo and a striped ticking fabric on the back.
Decide what size cushion you want to make – mine is going to be 49cm x 49cm to make the most of the print on the tea towel. The cutting size is 51cm x 51cm which includes a 2cm seam allowance all around and will be suitable for a cushion insert of 50cm x 50cm. You want the insert to be a little larger to make it nice and plump.
Begin by overlocking around all edges of both pieces of your cushion. This will be the only overlocking you’ll need for this project and doing it now makes it easier than overlocking multiple seams together later.
For this sample I’m using continuous zipping cut to the correct size. Continuous zipping can be economical and handy for projects that require a zip longer than the standard pre made sizes available.
Begin stitching two short seams along the bottom from the sides to 5cm in, leaving an opening for your zip. See photo above. Remember the seam allowance is 2cm.
Position your zip right side against the fabric, with the zip pull pointing down, and the end sitting 2cm from the side edge. Notice the tape of the zip is sitting around 1cm from the overlocked edge. You need your stitching to be on the 2cm seam line so pin like the photo above and stitch close to the zip teeth.
You’ll need to move the zip pull to keep the stitching close. Notice the 3/4 mark on my machine – that’s the 2cm mark.
For the second side, line the zip tape on the edge of the overlocking. Your stitching can be down the centre of the tape for this side. Stitch like the first side moving the zip pull if needed.
Working on the zip side, turn the fabric to make 2cm. Notice that the fabric is visible and the zip tape should be roughly centred. Sew this row starting and finishing in line with the zip opening.
This is what it will look like from the right side.
Lastly, stitch across the ends of the zip at the 5cm-in-from-the-edge mark.
On the home stretch now! With the zip open, fold so the right sides are together and begin pinning at the top right hand corner. Move the seam allowance up so you can sew from the seam line.
Continue pinning around with a 2cm seam allowance. If your fabric is striped, you may like to sew from that side to follow the stripe.
Once stitched around turn the cover right side out. To achieve neat corners, hold with your thumb in the corner and fold one seam over with your forefinger.
Then fold the other seam over and hold between the thumb (inside) and the forefinger (outside). Pinch together and turn right side out. Your forefinger will remain in the corner and push the corner out neatly. It’s almost like a bit of origami in the corner of your cushion.
Ta-dah! Done. Squish your insert in and plump it up so it fills the corners.
As you can see, the zip is quite hidden and both sides of your cushion would feature nicely on you couch.
I hope you enjoy making cushions – you can never have too many.
As always, let me know if you run into any problems. Comment here or email me using the link in the side bar.
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