Adding piping AND an invisible zipper to cushions

Aren’t those placemats gorgeous? I can’t wait to finish the cushions and put everything around the table in the backyard!

It’s all about finishing the cushions with the Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q today. I must add the piping to the edges and insert the invisible zippers. Let’s get started.

The overlap method for joining the piping was quick, but I found the join a bit lumpy with the thicker piping cord. So, I decided to try a different joining method for the cushions, as I didn’t want the join to interfere with the invisible zipper.

Refer back to yesterday for more details on cutting and prepping, as today, I’ll only highlight the difference between the two methods,

The preparation method is the same as before, but I would use a basting stitch (3.5 mm) to enclose the cord into the fabric strip rather than a regular stitch length. You’ll see why in a minute.

To attach the piping to one side of the cushion, start along one side (never in a corner), and for this technique, I left a tail of about 4”.

Leave a tail of four inches when starting to attach the piping to the cushion

The tapered corners on the cushions made it easier to turn the piping than if it had been a 90-degree corner. I still used the bias binding I had created for the rounded corners on the placemats, but it wasn’t necessary. As you approach the corner, snip a couple of times into the seam allowance to allow the piping to turn.

A couple of snips in the piping seam allowance to make it easier to pivot

Use sharp scissors to snip the seam allowance, like these Husqvarna VIKING 8” Bent Trimmer.

Sharp, strong scissors

I used the needle-down function while sewing, and when I reached the pivot point at the corner, I turned the cushion 90 degrees. I tugged the piping to the left (against the needle) to get it lined up with the next edge and provide a nice pivot in the piping.

Use the Needle Up/Down Function to pivot

Continue around the four corners until you return to the edge where you started. Leave a gap of about 6” to work. This next part is similar to making the final join for quilt binding.

Leave a gap of 6” – 8” to join the two ends.

I overlapped the end and the beginning and then cut the piping, using sharp scissors, so the tail was longer than the beginning by the width of the piping (binding). After trimming the seam allowance, it was about 1⅜”.

Overlap the two ends of the piping.

CAREFULLY open the piping enough to join the two ends using a diagonal seam. A basting stitch would make this task much easier than the regular stitch length I used.

Open the piping.

Join the two ends of the piping fabric on the diagonal as you would for binding. If this doesn’t make sense, check out the final join in my binding tutorial and ignore the piping cord.

Join the two ends of the piping.

Sew the diagonal seam. Again, ignore the piping cord.

Sew the diagonal seam.

Check to ensure that you haven’t twisted that piping (binding), and if everything is OK, trim the seam allowance down and finger-press the seam open. Then line up the two lengths of piping cord side by side and carefully cut one of them so they will butt to each other.

Cut the piping cord.

Then, sew along the edge of the piping to secure the piping to the cushion cover. You can remove the bits of thread from undoing the piping or leave them in. They won’t show once the cushion is together.

The join in the piping

Press the piping firmly into the fold so it’s tight like the rest of the piping. Using my Saftey Stiletto worked like a charm to tame the cording.

Use the Safety Stiletto to keep the cord firm against the fold.

I had guestimated how much fabric to cut for the piping I needed and how much cording to buy. I was a bit over on the cording, which is OK because having extra cording on hand is handy. I had about 8 inches left of the blue piping after I used it on the four placemats and the six cushions! I think my guesstimate was pretty much right on! I love it when that happens.

Leftover piping

Now that the piping is on, it’s time to add the invisible zipper. I’ve covered inserting invisible zippers before, so I will only add the bit about sewing it to the edge with the piping.

I began by sewing one side of the invisible zipper to the cushion cover with the piping. Because of the combined bulk of the zipper and the piping, using either the invisible zipper foot or the welt cord foot is impossible. So, I’m going to use the Mega Piping Foot.

The first step is to gently press the coil of one side of the invisible zipper open. I only pressed one side as I’ll use the invisible zipper foot on the opposite side.

The zipper is facedown in this photo, with the zipper pull to the left. The bottom coil is pressed open. Be careful not to melt that coil.

Press one side of the zipper coil open.

I did a lot of experimenting before I was happy with the results. My seam ripper got a lot of use as I played with various feet and stitch positions. Eventually, I settled on the leftmost position of the needle.

The needle in the leftmost position

In this photo, the needle is almost on the outside of the mega piping foot. With the right side of the zipper on the seam allowance of the piping, I jammed the zipper teeth as close to the piping as possible.

Sewing one side of the invisible zipper to the piped edge.

Here’s what that first seam looked like. Getting this exactly how I wanted it took some practice and patience. Don’t despair – be patient – it works!

The zipper is attached to the piped edge

Even when I roll the zipper teeth back, as on the right-hand side, the stitches holding the piping in place are not visible. I didn’t get quite the consistency I would have liked, but it’s pretty close, and I’m thrilled!

The zipper is close to the piping, and no stitching shows.

I loved having the Exclusive Sensor System with the Needle Up/Down function. As I was holding the end of the zipper with my right hand at the start of the seam and holding the zipper to the piping with the other, I just tapped on the foot pedal to drop the presser foot. You cannot beat that feature! I started sewing right at the end of the cushion cover.

Sewing the beginning of the seam.

I continued down the entire side of the cushion and stitched right off the end. You can use the FIX function or backstitch to secure the end of the seam.

Sew right to the end of the cushion.

Your seam to attach the zipper will be close, but not right on the seam that sewed the piping to the cushion. It’s tricky, but I was delighted with the results. I used three different zipper colors, and while all of them worked well with the colors of my cushions, next time, I’d match my zipper to the color of the piping.

The seams on the back of the cushion – one for the piping, one for the zipper

Test the zipper before you sew the other side to ensure it closes properly. I found a few stitches that caught the zipper, so I nipped them with a seam ripper and restitched that tiny section. I got much better at this as I sewed all six zippers in, so patience is required. But you want to get as close as possible, so it’s liable to happen.

A stitch caught in the zipper

Once one side of the zipper was attached to the cushion cover next to the piping, I used the invisible zipper foot to sew the second side. Per my previous instructions, I lined up the zipper to the second side of the cushion and sewed it in place. That seam was super easy!

Sewing the second side of the zipper using the invisible zipper foot

Then, using the mega piping foot and holding the two cushion covers together, I stitched about 1” at both ends of the zipper to prevent the zipper from coming to the corner. I used a backstitch at the beginning and the end to secure it. Alternatively, you can use the FIX function.

Stitching a zipper stop at the end of the zipper

Here’s the short line of stitching that creates the zipper stop, which prevents the zipper from going all the way to the corners. Be sure the zipper pull is inside those stitching lines, or you won’t be able to move the zipper pull.

The zipper stop

The last step is to sew the remaining three sides of the cushion together using the welt cord foot. I placed the cover with the piping on the top so it was easier to let the groove in the bottom of the welt cord foot ride on top of the piping. I matched the sides and the corners, and this was an amazingly simple seam to sew. You may want to use your FIX function or backstitch at the ends of that seam.

Sewing the cushion cover together

I turned the cushion cover inside out, grabbed a cushion form, and inserted it into the cushion cover. I had not opened those cushion forms before, but their quality is fantastic! I love the feel of the material, and you can feel the quality of the filling.

I grabbed one and put it on a chair, and the girls immediately came over to check it out. They approve. I’m THRILLED.

Mom – we approve!

Here’s what the invisible zipper and the piping look like. For a first attempt, I am beyond words with excitement.

The invisible zipper in the cushion

So I continued, and before I knew it, all six cushions were ready to be auditioned outside. I had to get the table set up. OH MY GOSH – that looks amazing. I have six cushions and four chairs, but there are no cushions in the chair in the gazebo, so two of them may just wander over there!

The cushions and the placemats

There’s nothing like plunging into the deep end to learn a new technique, like invisible zippers AND piping. But I have to say that the Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q performed like a true champ. It sewed through many thicknesses of that decorator fabric. It sewed yards of piping and the flat felled seams, and then it sewed in the invisible zippers and the piping. ANYTHING is possible when you have the right tools and a little skill.

Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q

Well, I’m out of here and off to enjoy my new cushions in the backyard.

Thanks for following along this week, and have a super day!


This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Making piping is a breeze with the Welt Cord Foot

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How to sew a Flat Felled Seam

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