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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Tutorial for an invisible edge zipper on a bound and quilted cushion

Over the last couple of months I've been making some quilted cushions out of my Mod Mongolian fabric. I wanted to bind them the same way I would a quilt, but I also wanted to have a zipper at the side. And for once, the internet let me down, and I couldn't find a tutorial on how to go about it. So, after a bit of trial and error, I've created my own.

A few measurements to start – my finished cushion front is 50cm square and the zipper was 46cm. I had tried a longer zipper, but that caused a bit of grief with the binding. The instructions from here on should work equally well no matter what size your cushion.

First I trimmed back the wadding and backing to the edge of the front. Then I made the binding. I use Canoe Ridge Creations binding method outlined here. The only difference was that I used a 2 1/4" strip for the cushion binding.

Now, because you're going to be inserting a zipper here, you don't also want to deal with the ends of the binding in the same spot, so use the middle of the binding strip and pin it along the edge you want the zipper on (I chose the side of my cushion).
Start sewing a quarter inch seam 1/2" from the end and sew 1/2" until the other end. Next, pin the zipper along the same edge and, using a zipper foot, sew inside the binding stitching. All these stitch lines will be hidden when you hand sew the binding down.
For the cushion back, make sure you cut the fabric the same height as the front, but make it one and a 1/2" wider. Fold this longer edge under by 1/2" and iron, and then fold under again a bit less than an inch and iron again. Place the folded edge of the back alongside the bound edge of the front. Overlap the back fabric a little over the cushion front and pin in place.
Again using your zipper foot, sew the zip in place. Make sure you sew close enough to the zipper to catch the seam (or fold) in the cushion back. Next place the back and the front together, wrong sides facing, and pin the back in place. On the front side sew the binding around the cushion.
Left: Pin the back to hold it in place.
Right: Turn the cushion cover over again and sew the binding around the remaining three sides.
Turn the cushion over again, and hand stitch the binding in place on the back. Do the three sides without the zipper first. When you get to the side with the zipper, work your corner as normal and then hand stitch the binding to the zipper instead.
Use a cushion two sizes larger than the size of your cushion cover, and your zipper should stay hidden just so!
Just one more cushion to go and then I'll have the patterns up for those as well.
Happy Australia Day everyone!

PS Oh and thanks to everyone who voted for my Spring Patchwork! It got voted about 48th in over 250 votes and was featured on Spoonflower's recent trends page. Pretty happy with that :-)


  1. The end product looks amazing Tara. You amaze me. I need some new cushions for my couch so hopefully I might start this one day soon ...
    PS I would love to see similar instructions placed on Stitch and Yarn for the seat covers you showed / inspired Grub how to make.

    1. Oh Stace, just tell me the colours/patterns you're looking for and I'll make you some! Maybe Sandra could take some progress shots and I'll post them up for her seat covers ;-)

  2. This is the most clever way to place a zipper that I have seen in my life. Very well explained. But still, I think it remains way above my level of competence!

    1. Thanks so much Mary – I'm sure you would be totally fine to do this – your sewing is amazing!