Today I am going to show you how to make zippered cushion covers with this easy step by step tutorial. Do you want to replace your old cushion covers but are scared of sewing zips? Store-bought cushion covers can be expensive so making your own is not only satisfying but will save you a lot of money. You’ll be surprised at just how easy it really is.
How to Make Zippered Cushion Covers – Supplies
When learning how to make zippered cushion covers you will need:
- Fabric – The easiest to use is decorator fabric or cotton quilting fabrics. Save expensive silk or velvet fabric for when you are most experienced as these are harder to sew.
- Square cushion insert – Inserts are available at most haberdasheries or furnishing stores. You can also purchase cheap cushions at discount stores and remove their ugly coverings. 16 inches to 20 inches is the best couch size.
- Regular and a zipper sewing machine foot
- Zipper which is 3 inches (7.5cm) shorter than your pillow inserts. Remember, zippers are measured along their teeth and not along the tape. Plastic (nylon coil) zippers are better for cushion covers than metal ones as they are smoother and easier to sew. (Read: Types of Zippers)
- Sewing Basics including a ruler, scissors and pins. Matching thread is always best.
More Cushion Tutorials
If you are suddenly worried that how to make zippered cushion covers looks too difficult, then take a look at my envelope style cushion cover tutorial. These can be made in 10-30 minutes for even beginner sewers. The insert goes inside the cover via an overlapped piece of fabric at the back rather than using any kind of fasteners.
How to Make Cushion Covers – Envelope Style
How to Make Zippered Cushion Covers – Video
Are you a visual learner? Then watch this video I created for you on how to make zippered cushion covers. Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel for weekly sewing videos.
HOW TO MAKE ZIPPERED CUSHION COVERS | Sewing
Step 1 – Measure and Cut
First, measure your pillow and cut 2 squares of fabric the same size.
I purposely haven’t added seam allowance so my finished cover will be snug and my pillow will look firmer. If you want a looser cover you could always add extra 1/2 inch (12mm) seam allowance all the way around.
A rotary cutter, quilting ruler and cutting mat comes in handy for making zippered cushions as you will be able to get nice and square pieces.
If you are using a fabric that frays, serger one edge on each of the fabric pieces. This will be the edge we add the zipper.
Step 2 – Sew One Side Leaving a Gap
Put your 2 pieces with RIGHT sides together.
Mark with a ruler 2 inches (5cm) from either end on one side of your square (the edge you sergered). We will be sewing the zip between the 2 marks.
Starting at the ends, sew along to the marks with a 1/2 inch (12mm) seam allowance.
Make sure you backstitch at the ends and marks to hold it securely. Use a small 2.0 length stitch for extra strength.
Step 3 – Baste the Gap
Now set your machine to its longest basting stitch length (4.0 and above), and stitch between the 2 marks. Do not backstitch as we will be undoing this stitching later.
The next step in out how to make zippered cushion covers tutorial is to press open the seam.
Step 4 – Insert the Zipper Face Down
Your zipper needs to be the length in between the 2 marks.
Note that zips are measured by the length of their teeth and not the length of the tape. (Read how to measure zippers) The tape of the zipper will be longer than the 2 marks.
If you don’t have the right size zip you can shorten one.
Plastic is easier to shorten than metal. You can also buy zips by the yard (or metre) if you are making lots of cushion covers. Once you have made one you may be addicted!
With your fabric still the WRONG way up, place the zip WRONG way up (face down) over the basted section. Hold it in place with pins or non-marking sticky tape. Painters tape works well when you need to hold things in place on fabric. The advantage of using tape to hold the zipper is that you can sew over it.
The coils of the zipper should be directly centered over the seam. It is really important that your zip head is pointing up towards the edge of the fabric. That way you can move it out of the way if you need to.
For beginner sewers learning how to make zippered cushion covers, I recommend hand basting the zip in place to make it easier to sew.
Using a zipper foot, stitch along the edges of the zipper all the way to the end of the fabric. When you come to sewing near the zipper head you may need to move it down out of the way if it is too bulky.
You will notice that in my video above I sewed on the right side of the fabric instead of underneath. Either way works fine but you can see what you are doing better if you stitch on the wrong side.
Step 5: Remove the Basting Stitches
Flip the cushion cover over to the RIGHT SIDE.
With a seam ripper, remove the basting threads covering the zip. Make sure you stop at both the marks and don’t cut into the stitching at the ends.
Step 6 – Stitch the Zipper Ends
Unzip the zipper at least halfway and stitch across the ends of the zip next to where the teeth finish. Be careful you don’t hit any metal underneath.
Step 7 – Fold and Stitch
Fold the fabric in half with RIGHT sides together stitch around the sides and bottom of the cover with your regular machine foot.
If your fabric frays, zig-zag or use a serger over the raw edges. This will give greater durability to your cover and looks professional.
Don’t forget to clip the corners.
Step 8 – Press
Turn your cover RIGHT way out and give it a good press.
Looks good, doesn’t it? Now you have a removable zippered cover you can wash when it gets dirty.