How to put a zip into a cushion – using your zipper foot

IMG_3114[1]I’ve been promising all my lovely students that I would do a step by step guide on how to put a zip into a cushion. It’s actually one of the workshops that I do so why not join me if you can! For those that aren’t able to join here is a very very simple way of putting a zip into a cushion.

It will change the way you think about zips and using your zip foot and soon you will be whizzing up cushions for every room in your home!

This technique means that you are putting the zip into the bottom of the cushion. You can therefore have a different front and back fabric so that you can swop and change them around (essentially there is no difference between the back or front).

You will need:

1. Two pieces of fabric – see below for an example of how to measure:

Measuring example for a 45x45cm cushion: If you cushion inner/pad is 45x45cm then your cover should be 2cm smaller (to make it fit really snug). You will need to add 1.5 seam allowance all the way around the cushion.

So 45x45cm minus 2cm = 43x43cm (finished size) then add seam allowance 1.5cm = 44.5×44.5cm (this is the size you will cut the fabric).

2. Zipper – your zip should be the same length as the bottom of the cushion (as the zip goes into the bottom of the cushion).

Example: If you cushion is a square 45x45cm your zip should be 45cm. If your cushion was 45cm length x 35cm wide your zip would be 45cm.

3. Cotton, sewing machine and your zip foot !!

Let’s get stuck in.. take your two lovely pieces of cut fabric and place them on top of each other, lining up the bottom:


Pin the two sides of the bottom of the cushion so that the corners line up. Measure 5cm inwards from each end and mark with a pin:


Sew from each edge to the pin using a 2cm seam allowance. Make sure you reverse stitch here a few times to make it really strong:


Open up the two sides and iron along the edge so that you are making a nice 2cm fold on each side:


Unzip your zip and place it facing down onto the bottom opening panel (my zip is a bit longer than the cushion width – that’s also fine):


Ok… now bear with me here… pin the top of the right side of the zip to the 2cm folded over piece. SO you are NOT picking up the main piece of the fabric here… JUST the seam (the bit where you sewed the 5cm). Pick up this piece that you have just pinned and take it to your sewing machine…


Can you see below that the only piece that is going to be sewn here is the seam allowance. I have both the main pieces of the fabric to the left. Your zipper foot should be on and connected so that you are able to sew against the left side of the zip:


Start sewing at 3 cm from the top (very important! – don’t start all the way from the top of the zip. Even though the top of the zip will be flush with the top of the cushion you only want your stitching to start 3cm down – you will see why later). The zip foot is resting up against the teeth of the zip. Stop sewing 3cm from the bottom of cushion.

TIP – remember when you ironed it? Can you notice that it’s made a “line” mark on your fabric. You can rest the zip against this line to ensure that it is straight.


Ok, so now once you take your fabric out of the machine this is how it will look. One side of the zip is sewn in and the other is loose:


Now repeat the above steps on the other side of the zip. The most important part here is that the top of the zip and the bottom of the zip start and end in the exact same place as the side you have already sewn. You can pin this side all the way down remembering to only pin it to the seam allowance:


Now you can sew down the the other side. Remember to start 3cm from the top and stop 3cm from the bottom..


See how nicely the two ends meet? This is very important.


Guess what? You zip is in! How easy was that?!?!! Open out your beautiful cushion and marvel at the beauty and simplicity. The best part is that you don’t see any stitching – so pretty!! 

My zip is sticking out below and the end as my zip was longer than the cushion width – that’s ok too. It will all be hidden inside the cushion cover anyway:


Let’s finish this cushion!. Fold your cushion right sides together and pin all the way around. Starting at the one side sewing your cushion pivoting at the top, using a 1.5cm seam allowance. Now if you only started your zip three cm’s from the top and bottom you will see how easy it is to sew the sides together – without having to sew over the zip at the bottom.


Turn your lovely cushion around and it’s done! How easy was that?

Happy sewing everyone!



2 thoughts on “How to put a zip into a cushion – using your zipper foot

  1. Thanks so much for really easy and clear instructions. Have just done one cushion, recycling the zip from the worn cover, and it was really easy. Looks lovely! About to do the other three now.

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