Fiona’s cushions with a covered zip tutorial

Ever wondered how to get a perfect covered zip in your cushion? You’re in luck! Fiona from Poppy Makes has a brilliant tutorial for us today to show you just that, using the adorable cushions she stitched up in Nursery Versery.

To start with you will need
• a zip that is slightly shorter than your finished cushion size. The cushion covers I have made are for 16” (40cm) inserts so I used 14” zips
• 2 strips of fabric measuring 5” x 1.5”
• Backing fabric for your cushion. For 16” cushions I used a piece of fabric that was 16” x 20”
Thread, pins and a sewing machine with a zipper foot.

Take each 5” strip of fabric and turn over the ends approx ½ “ on each short side (the pins in the photo below are just to hold it down so I could snap a picture)

Pin one end of the zip to one of the folded ends. Please note that I have placed the fabric *after* the zipper stop. This makes it easier to sew, and means that your zip doesn’t damage the fabric when you open and close it.

Fold the fabric strip in half so that the two folded ends are encasing the ends of the zip, and pin in place. Sew close to the folded edges to secure the fabric strip to the zip.

Do the same at the other end of the zip, remembering to place the folded edge *after* the zipper stops to protect the fabric strip.

You now have a zip that will be easy to line up, has nice neat ends that are not bulky, and is 4” longer than the zip you started with.

Take your backing fabric and decide where you want your zip to be placed in the back of your cushion. I usually place the zip about 2/3 of the way down. Wherever you decide to place it, you will be cutting your backing fabric across the shorter side. I cut mine so I had two rectangles measuring 16” x 12” and 16” x 8”. You can choose to zig zag stitch around the edges of the fabric at this point to prevent fraying (I forgot to do this in the pictures – oops!)


Take the rectangle of fabric that you want to be above the zip and turn over the edge of the fabric that will cover the zip by 1” and press. This folded flap is going to be the part the covers the zip.

Flip the zip over so that the zipper pull is facing the folded edge (I find it easier to open the zip for this part, but do whatever you feel most comfortable with). Line the edge of the zip with the edge of the folded fabric and pin, as shown above. Please make sure that you centre the zip, so it is the same at both sides of the backing. The fabric ends of the zip will overhang, and that is just fine for now.

Stitch in place using your zipper foot, making sure there is enough room for the zip to open and close.

Turn it over and it should look like the photo below.

Pull back the flap that is the zip cover to keep it out of the way, and take the bottom part of your backing fabric and line it up with the top half. Remember you are lining up with the backing fabric, NOT the ends of the zip. Pin it in place as shown above, and stitch quite close to the zipper teeth, again making sure you can open and close the zip.

Now open out the backing of your cushion and it should look like the photo above below. I pressed it with a warm iron and trimmed the ends of the zip. You now have a nice square of fabric for the back of your cushion with a covered zip.

I really like doing the zip this way because it means there are no bulky zipper teeth around the edges of your cushion, and it protects the fabric from getting chewed up when you open and close the zip. And I think it looks pretty too.

To make the front of each cushion I started with the centre. Once I had decided on the size of my centre I sewed borders to each side and the top using 1.5″ strips, pressing the seams as I went. Once I reached the size I wanted (16″) I layered the cushion front with some wadding and calico backing and hand-quilted using co-ordinating perle cotton thread.

Then I placed the cushion front and back with wrong sides together, and stitched all around. I used double fold binding (measuring 1 3/4″ unfolded) to enclose the raw edges and frame the whole cushion.

Now it’s ready for snuggling!

Thanks so much Annie for letting me play with your fabric x

Thank you Fiona!

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4 Responses to Fiona’s cushions with a covered zip tutorial

  1. Gertie September 26, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Thank you so much for this tutorial Fiona! I always get a bit scared by zips but this looks nice and straightforward. I will definitely be making these cushions in the near future x

  2. Charlotte September 26, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    that’s fab! I’ve often wondered how to do that and assumed it was way more complicated, so thanks for the excellent instructions!

  3. Kelly September 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Great tute! The next cushion I make is getting a zipper now 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kelly’s Stitch Floral Circle Plus Quilt | The Village Haberdashery - September 17, 2013

    […] I cut (8) 2 1/2″ squares from each of the 8 FQ’s and sewed together with 1/4″seam to make a 16″ square (8 x 8 layout). I then added a 1 1/2″ border, basted and quilted in a crosshatch design, again using my walking foot. I finished the cushion with a covered zippered back using Fiona’s fab tute. […]

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