How to make a cushion cover with a zip

·5-min read

The easiest way to give your home an instant lift is by adding new cushions. Whether they’re strewn on your bed, really to snug up to with a good book, you’d like to make your living room sofas more comfortable to lounge on, or want to brighten up garden furniture with colourful cushion pads; changing little things like cushion covers can make a huge difference to your home décor.

You can update your interiors by making your own cushion covers with a zip in whatever fabric you fancy, in fact, there’s so much choice these days of different types of fabric that it can be much more appealing to make a DIY cushion cover than it is to buy a new one.

With this easy-to-follow step-by-step sewing guide, creating bespoke cushion covers is easier than you think.

In the video above, Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It shows us how to make an easy cushion with a zip on a sewing machine by giving measurements, showing how to do the correct markups, sewing the fabric together, using a seam ripper and then finally adding in the zip.

Lisa shows you how to make a 40cm square cushion cover, but the steps can be applied to any size cushion and even rectangular cushion covers. It’s a perfect project for a sewing beginner as it will get you straight on the sewing machine and you’ll have a completed project in no time. It uses a basic straight stitch and a zipper foot which is an attachment you can buy to use with any sewing machine.

Here are the step-by-step instructions for making a cushion cover with a zip:

You will need

How to make a cushion cover with our step-by-step tutorial

  1. To make a 40cm square cushion you'll need to cut your fabric so there is 2cm extra on each side for the hem and an extra 0.5cm on the edge, for where the zip will go. So for one cushion you'll need two pieces of fabric and each piece needs to be 42cm x 42.5cm.

  2. Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together. On the top edge that is slightly larger with the extra 0.5cm, position the zip slider at least 5cm from the edge and hold in place with a pin. Lay the zip flat along the top of the cushion and from the other end, measure in 5cm again. Pin in place.

TIP: When you position your pins have the pinheads facing towards you so that they are easier to remove and you don’t prick yourself.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

7. Turn the fabric over to the correct side and start pinning up on one side of the zip seam and down on the other.

8. Put your thumb over the position where the notch pin is. Hold it in place as you take the pin out from the underside and put it in the same position on the topside. Repeat for the second notch pin. Then remove the rest of the pins from the underside/back of the fabric.

9. To sew, you need a regular zip foot. Start on the top left, come down, pivot and sew across the bottom. Continue going up the other side, pivoting at the top to meet where the stitches began.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

10. Use an unpicker to unpick the seam (not the fabric) at the middle section where you put in the long stitches at step 5. To do this, gently push it through the seam to open up them up. You should now see your zip.

11. Cut off the excess bottom length of the zip.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

12. Keep the zip open and put the two pieces of fabric right sides together. Make sure the seam at the top is lined up and pin the three remaining sides of your cushion.

13. Sew the three sides in one continuous seam, pivoting at the two corners. Start at the top right and finish at the top left.

14. Cut the two bottom corners off to ensure you get a nice point when you turn the cushion cover the other way. When you do turn your cushion cover the right-side out, you can use a pin to help those corners come out with a clean pointy edge. Do this on top of the seam, not inside the cushion as it can cause the fabric to tear. Similarly, don’t use scissors or other sharp implements. Press your new cushion cover with an iron before inserting your cushion pad.

Now all you need to do is find your perfect material! This tutorial will work for most types of fabric but is perfect for cotton prints. You could make a set of cushion covers with different colours and fabrics that you change each season, to ensure your home stays looking fresh, beautiful and homely. Once you've mastered how to sew a cushion cover with a zip, who not try making a patchwork cushion?

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