Cushion Cover: Hidden Zipper

When we bought the new couch for our sitting room, we opted not to get the scatter cushions (throw pillows) that come as standard with the suite. I prefer to make my own because scatter cushions are a great way to add personality to a room and to pull a colour scheme together

That said, before I got around to making the cushions for the sitting room, I was lucky enough to find some pre-made cushions with quality feather-stuffed fillers that suited the room perfectly. I usually prefer my cushions to have piping around the edges, but the ones I bought didn't have piping. So I decided it would be best if the ones I made didn't have piping either so that they would all look the same. That's not a golden rule or anything; it's just that I'm going for a more informal, relaxed vibe in this room and decided that simpler cushions would fit that idea better.

I have already posted about how I make my cushion covers with piping, so I decided that this would be a good opportunity to write a post about how to make one without piping because, although the goal with both is to hide the zipper, the method I use to insert the zipper is different for each. 

 PIN THIS!

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

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Materials

  • Fabric of your choice (I used the Tigeröga fabric from Ikea)
  • Cushion filler ( I really like the Fjädrar feather-filled cushion pad from Ikea)
  • A zipper that is about 10-15cm shorter than the width of the cushion filler e.g. for this 50cm x 50cm cushion, I used a 35cm zip
  • Sewing materials: sewing machine, zipper presser foot, cotton thread, scissors, measuring tape, seam ripper etc.

Step-by-Step

Start by cutting two pieces of fabric - one for the front and one for the back. Remember to allow at least 1cm seam allowance all around. So for a 50cm x 50cm cushion, cut a piece of fabric 52cm x 52cm.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Pin the two pieces of fabric with right sides together and sew along the bottom edge of the cushion only.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

At each end, finish off the loose threads by pulling them through to the back and tying them off in a knot. Then press open the seam.

Now don't be too disappointed when I tell you that you will be ripping out part of this seam in a moment! It is necessary to keep the seam perfectly closed while we insert the zipper.

With the wrong side of the fabric facing up, place the zipper mid-way along the inside of the seam and make sure that the zipper pull is facing down. 

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

I don't centre the zipper on the seam line; I place all of the zipper teeth on the back of the cushion. See in the next photo how the zipper is more on one half of the seam than the other? The back of the cushion is on the bottom, and so most of the zipper is on that side of the seam.  

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

When you have positioned it how you want, pin it into place.

Change to the zipper foot on your sewing machine and sew a box around the zipper teeth by stitching down one side, across the bottom, back up the other side, and across the top. 

You will see that the zipper foot allows the teeth of the zipper to pass underneath it, but the zipper pull will not fit through. So as you approach the end with the zipper pull, you will need to stop sewing with the needle in the down position. 

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Lift the presser foot and move the zipper pull behind the foot. Then lower the presser foot and continue sewing to the end. (You will have to do this twice as you will meet the zipper pull again on your way back up the other side!)

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

To change direction when sewing, again stop sewing with the needle in the down position. Lift the presser foot and rotate the fabric, then lower the foot to continue stitching.

When you get back to where you started, stop stitching and tie off the thread ends.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

If you flip the fabric over, you should see the box shape that you have stitched around the zipper.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Using a seam ripper, start to unpick the seam stitches in the centre of the zipper. Be careful not to unpick the box of stitches holding the zipper in place - it's the first row of stitching you did that you want to unpick.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Stop ripping when you get to the edge of the box - don't pass those stitches. Pull the loose threads through to the back and tie them off. Do the same at the other end. You can now access the zipper so that you can insert the filler later.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Now open the zipper enough to fit your hand through. This is important!

Next pin the two sides of the fabric with right sides together. Change back to using your regular presser foot and sew around the remaining three sides of the cushion. Tie off the threads at each end. 

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Use a zig-zag stitch to sew along the outer edge of the zipper where it meets the raw edge of the seam. This will help prevent loose threads coming off the edges of the fabric and getting caught in the zipper teeth. Do this along both sides of the zipper.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Next trim the tip off each corner to make them less bulky.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Then sew around the edges of the seams with a zig-zag stitch to prevent them from fraying.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

Put your hand in through the open zipper (if you forgot to open it, you will be in trouble now!) and turn the cushion cover the right way around. Pull the corners into shape - it helps to poke them from the inside with something like a chopstick!

Then press around all the edges.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

That's it - you're done! Now just insert your cushion filler.

See how the zip is hidden underneath?

 The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

(BTW, you will sometimes see a zipper inserted partway up the back of the cushion cover instead. However patterned fabrics make it difficult to hide a seam like that. Because I want the back of my cushion to look as good as the front, I prefer to hide the zipper inside the bottom seam.)

And there you have it - a brand new cushion to bring some colour to your room.

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Hidden Zipper How To Sewing Tutorial

To make a cushion cover with piping, please visit:

The House that Will | DIY Cushion Cover Throw Pillow with Piping Step-by-Step How to Sewing Tutorial

Related Posts:

Cushion Cover with Piping

Scatter Cushions for the Studio

Sitting Room Makeover: Plans