Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sew Get Started Tutorial: Single Skein Cushion Cover with Zipper

I was privileged to by asked by Sarah to contribute to her Sew Get Started Beginners series of tutorials.  

So here is the tutorial that will be on Sarah's blog today:

Single Skein Cushion Cover with Zipper:
This cushion cover is a single layer of fabric i.e. not quilted, so you may wish to use decorating weight fabric or denim. 

The finished size is approx. 16" x 16".

You will need:

For the front: 16" x 16" piece of fabric
For the back: 16" x 4.5" piece of fabric (band that covers the zip opening)
                     2 x (16" x 8.5") pieces of fabric
                     16" plastic/nylon zipper
16" cushion filler
Buttons to decorate (optional)

Assume 1/4" seams throughout

1. First we will make the back of the cushion cover. Take the strip of fabric for the band that will cover the zipper.  Iron this in half lengthways, with wrongs sides touching.
2. Now take one of the back pieces (16" x 8.5") and lay it down right side facing up.  Place the folded banded on top, right sides facing, aligning the raw edges along the top.  Machine tack in place. 

Note: Machine tacking is when you increase the stitch size on your machine to the largest size it will go, and sew less than 1/4" from the edge.  There is no need to remove machine tacking later, unlike hand tacking.

3. Take your zipper and either machine or hand sew the open ends together.  This will make it easier to sew down. 

4. Lastly, place the zipper on top, right side facing down, again aligning the top edges.  Pin all the layers along the outer zipper edge.

Note:  Your zipper edges will be longer than your fabric (the 16" zip measurement refers to the actual length of the zipper mechanism only, not the total length of the zip+fabric ends).  Position your zip so that the zipper pull end is aligned with the edges of your cushion, and let the opposite end of the zip hang over as excess.  This will be trimmed off later.  Check your zipper for metal stoppers - you can sew over plastic parts but not metal parts!

5. Attach the zipper foot to your machine and position the fabric ready for sewing. You should be sewing at least 1/4" seam along the edge of your zipper, as close to the teeth as you can, without sewing into them.

6. When you get to the zipper pull, carefully sew around it. 

  7. So that's one half of your zip attached!  This is what it looks like from the front:

8. Flip the band back to expose the zip again.  Now we are going to attach the other half of the cushion back.

9. Lay the other piece of fabric down (16" x 8.5") right side facing up.  Place the zippered section on top, right sides together, aligning the zipper edge with the top edge of the fabric.

10. Pin the layers in place and sew down the remaining side of the zipper, as you did with the first side.
11. Once your zipper has been attached, make sure you can open it easily.

12. Close the zipper, give the fabric a gentle press with the iron.  Now we will finish off the zipper with an edging seam.
13. Flip the band back, and on the opposite side of the zipper sew less than 1/4" along the right side of the fabric, where it meets the zipper.  You will need your zipper foot for this.

14. Now flip the band down, and sew an edging seam along the edge where the fabric meets the band.  Remember your zipper is hidden underneath the band, so keep your zipper foot on for this.

15. Snip off any excess zipper.

16. And that's the back of your cushion cover complete!  Well done for getting this far!  Now onto the front.
17. Sew on any buttons to the front piece of fabric.

18. Open the zipper, before placing the front and back pieces right sides together.  Pin around all 4 edges.

Note:  Make sure the band inside is lying flat & in the correct position i.e. covering the zipper.

19.  Put your normal sewing or 1/4" foot on your machine and, starting at a corner, sew around all 4 edges.

20. Now sew a zigzag stitch around all 4 edges to reduce fraying.

21.  Turn the cover right side out through the zipper opening, carefully push out the corners with scissors or a crochet hook, and insert the filler.

22.  Step back and admire your cushion!


  1. Love it - and this post appeared in my Dashboard list - hurray!

  2. Great tute J! And yes, this popped up in my reader, so I think you are sorted!

  3. And that makes three! You were on my reader too!!! Woohoo - you are back to where you belong. And great tute. I love the hidden zip bit. Learned something while eating my morning porridge.

  4. Great tutorial!!
    Finally I found you! Thanks for posting those instructions, took me a while but I've got it now so that makes four!! ;)

  5. Great tutorial Judith - I'm still trying to get your new blog on my list!

  6. Because of this great tutorial I think I may be able to do this! Yay!

  7. Very nicely explained tutorial. Makes it all seem so possible! Really helpful to have good close up pics of the zipper foot placement etc in a tutorial. If you don't know how it should be, it really helps to have the pics to check you're on the right track. Thank you!

  8. Love the tutorial, never thought to conceal a zip like that, a brill idea:) Have a great weekend
    Karen x

  9. J that is a great tutorial with clear explanation and photos. The concealment of the zip is ace. Thanks. Di xo

  10. weeee heeee I am just sitting back admiring my cushion having followed your fab tutorial. Thanks so much Judith - I have a feeling lots of people will be getting cushions from me this Christmas!! x

  11. popped over from Sarah`s blog, so glad I did such a good way to hide a zip and the back of the cushion looks so nice if it flops over using different fabrics


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really appreciate it & I will always reply. (If you don't get a reply from me it is because you are a 'no reply comment' blogger. You might want to change your blog settings to make sure folks can reply to your comments more easily.) Jxo