TBT – Enclosed Zipper Tutorial!

Welcome to another “Throw Back Thursday”! Once a month, I’m going to throw you back to one of my most popular blog posts, which hopefully you will find terribly exciting! The reason I’m doing this is not because I have nothing to write about (Nobody has ever accused me of being lost for words), but because since moving from Blogger to WordPress, a lot of my older blog posts have become rather “dodgy” in their set up, and really do need re-writing and re-setting-up.

One of the questions I am most commonly asked is: “How do you put a zipper in a cushion back” – and for the past couple of years, I’ve been able to direct them to this tutorial!

Take a deep breath, grab a cuppa – there’s lots of photos incoming!

First of all, I start off with a pattern, or in this case, some leftover blocks from a quilt…

IMG_5475

I had four leftover blocks from my Honey Honey Framed quilt, so I pieced them all together and popped a white border around it to bring it up to size. You can use this same theory with any blocks you have lying around! Next time you’re at your local fabric/supplies store, check out their cushion inserts, and take note of the sizes they stock. Generally speaking, I’ll make my cushions 18″ or 20″, but you can work with whatever you’ve got.

Next step is getting some batting. Now, a great thing to know is that you don’t always have to have one whole piece of batting. You CAN piece smaller offcuts of batting together – especially handy to know with small projects like this. I piece my batting as follows…..

IMG_5397

Get yourself a couple of pieces of offcuts, put them together, with an overlay of about half an inch, then set your machine stitch to the widest zig zag stitch.

IMG_5398

And bingo! You now have a piece big enough for your cushion.

Then the fun begins! Make yourself a quilt sandwich – Your cushion top, batting in the middle and then a great part of the cushion quilt is that you can use just a plain homespun or even calico as your backing – because nobody will see it! Baste it together and decide on your quilting design.

IMG_5478

This size project allows you to really use your imagination, and tackle free motion quilting designs that you may find daunting or tricky to use on a big quilt. This is one such design. I wanted to use this big petal/flower design for my Honey Honey quilt, but the twisting and turning of the quilt did my head in, so I abandoned it. I LOVE how it turned out on this smaller scale. And of course, I used my favourite thread – Aurifil #2810.

IMG_5483

Use your quilted cushion covers as a practicing ground! Go crazy! Trim your cushion cover down to size.

IMG_5486

Choose a backing fabric, and then cut out a piece about an inch wider than your block and approximately four inches longer.

IMG_5488

Cut your backing straight through the middle.

IMG_5489

Then overlock (serge) or neatly finish the edges.

IMG_5491

Grab yourself a zipper that is at least as long as the width of your backing. If you have a longer one – that’s fine!!

IMG_5492

Now, place your zipper facing down on the right side of your fabric. Line up the edge of the zip with the finished edge of the fabric, pin it in place.

IMG_5493

As shown here.

IMG_5494

Put your zipper foot on your machine (you CAN use a regular foot, but these ones make it easier).

IMG_5495

Set your needle as far to the left as it goes. (Don’t forget this step or you will end up with a broken needle. Don’t know how I know this…..)

IMG_5496

Line the side of your foot up next to the actual zip. You will be able to feel the plastic/metal of the zip with your finger. Now sew! Take it slowly and ensure the edge of the zip stays on the edge of the fabric.

IMG_5497

One side done!

IMG_5498

Press your fabric down nice and neatly.

IMG_5499

Move your needle over to the far right now and topstitch just a tiny bit away from the zip.

IMG_5500

As seen above.

IMG_5501

Now place your zippered backing half and place it right sides facing on to the other backing half. Lining up the sides of the backing as evenly as you can.

IMG_5502

Repeat the lining up of zip edge to fabric edge and pinning.

IMG_5503

And sew again….

IMG_5504

And you will have put your zip in!! But wait…..there’s more!

IMG_5505

Take your zippered backing over to the ironing board, and press the second side nice and neatly (DON’T TOPSTITCH!) You now want to pinch your fabric, about one inch down, and fold it up over your zipper.

IMG_5506

Measure it on both sides so it’s even.

IMG_5507

Then press it.

IMG_5508

Pin it down on the folded edge.

IMG_5509

Move your needle to the far left. And slowly sew down beside your zip.

IMG_5510

So it looks like this!

IMG_5511

And you now have an enclosed and covered zip!  You still with me???? Exhausting isn’t it?? Grab yourself a drink…..Now it’s time to put your cushion cover together……

IMG_5512

Lay your backing down, right side facing down.

IMG_5514

Place your cushion front on top of the backing. Try and get it as straight as possible, so that the zipper is the same measurement from the top of your cover on both sides. ***

IMG_5516

Pull your zipper back a few inches from the edge.

IMG_5518

And pin the zipper edges nice and close together.

IMG_5520

Trim your backing to the same size as your front. You can literally cut straight over the zip! Baste it all together, and then sew around the edges about a 1/4″ in.

IMG_5522

You now have a cushion cover. Just needs binding! If you know how to bind a quilt, then you will be able to bind a cushion cover! I will be back next Tuesday to show you my version of machine binding.

IMG_5552

Most important of all, find yourself a cushion insert that looks like it will be just a touch too big for the cover! Cushion inserts lose their “oomph” after a bit of living, so you want to make sure it will be able to last the distance…

10936331993_52cdb74dab_z

Isn’t she beautiful?? This cushion is the perfect example of using fabric and/or blocks that you have lying around (I mean literally, these blocks lay in the corner of my lounge room after trimming the quilt!) to make something exquisite, that will make someone really, really happy!

IMG_5556

And the back. I am super happy to tell you that this beautiful cushion cover was sold to one of my customers. Win, win!

Now – If you don’t want to bind your cushion, and have a finish like this:

luminous

Then it’s easy.  Instead of basting your cushion cover top and backing WRONG sides together***, you baste and then sew them RIGHT sides together – ensuring your zip is open a couple of inches before doing so.  Once you have sewn all the way around the edges, you then simply open the zip right up and turn your cushion out the right way and press the edges down, giving it a nice clean seam!

I have literally made a million cushions, and don’t look like stopping any time soon, so I do hope this helps you get started in your own cushion cover marathon!


13 Responses to TBT – Enclosed Zipper Tutorial!

  1. Di Ross says:

    Thank you. I’m just about to replace my cushions and this post has given some great ideas . Have made cushions before . Envelope ones as the easiest option. Will give free motion quilting a try.
    Cheers

  2. Kate says:

    eeek! This little piece of deliciousness lives on my bed!!! <3 Love it!! <3

  3. Lesley Gilbert says:

    I’ve seen this method somewhere before but your many photo’s tutorial explained it a lot better – thanks 🙂

  4. That “pinch” trick to make the enclosed zipper is effin genius! I’m sooo going to use that on my next cushion – thanks for the flash-back!

  5. June Spencer says:

    I will use the enclosed zipper method all the time from now on . Thank you so much for this tutorial

  6. Hello…..just found this post…..best thing I’ve read on how to make a cushion. Thanks so much!

  7. Louise says:

    I’m a beginner but have not been brave enough to try a zipper closure on my pillows only use the flap method. Would really like to be able to do this zipper method. I’ll give it a try. Thank you so much for all the clear pictures and detailed instructions. The detail you give makes it read “doable” to me 💜

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *