Inserting an invisible zipper on a cushion cover [tutorial]

Welcome back! Have you gathered your supplies for this week’s projects? Are you ready to insert an invisible zipper into a cushion cover? Today, I’m using the Husqvarna Viking Tribute 150C to finish my seam allowances, insert the invisible zipper into one of my cushion covers, and sew it together!

We’ve got a lot to do, so let’s get started!

I’m using the optional extension table, which gives me much more workspace! And it’ll be a must when I use the Circular Attachment later this week.

Husqvarna Viking Tribute 150C with optional extension table

I’m making three cushion covers and using a plaid fabric for the first one. It’ll receive additional decorative elements later this week.

Before I cut the fabric, I like to measure the cushion forms to see how full they are. I’m using 16″ forms.

I wrap a tape measure around the form and let it relax. Should I cut the front and back at 16″ plus seam allowances, or should I cut the pieces at 16″? In this instance, the relaxed measurement is slightly less than 32″ inches (2 times 16″), so I added ¼” seam allowances to the front and back pieces. If that measurement were slightly smaller, I would likely not have added seam allowances, as that would make the covers too big.

Measuring the circumference of the cushion form

I love my Omnigrip 20½” x 20½” ruler. It’s so easy to cut out large pieces and significantly reduces the chances of making a mistake. You must find a safe place to store it as you don’t want to damage it!

A large quilting ruler on a red and black plaid fabric

As you can see, I’m using a plaid fabric, and when I placed the ruler on it to try and match the plaids, I knew it wouldn’t work as the plaid is not printed straight on the fabric. So, I ignored the plaid when I cut. However, the fabric is directional; as you can see, straight lines run through it. Knowing this is important if I want those lines in the same orientation on the front and the back. Although, it probably won’t show, as you’ll only see one side of the cushion at a time.

The plaid has a directional line running through it

I trim off the corners to eliminate dog ears when making cushion covers. I’ve done this many times, used a ruler, and measured it each time. This time, I decided to make a template, which I made from a 6″ square of template plastic. I marked two angled lines – the points of which are 4″ from the corner, and they start at ½” from the corner. Then I cut on those two lines to get my template. Now I need to find a safe place to put it, and I’ll create a label for it, so I know what it is. My template is 6″ square, so I have at least 2″ of a straight edge to line up on the corner of the fabric square.

Template for trimming the corners of cushion covers

I used a Chaco Liner to mark the lines and then trimmed them off using a ruler and my rotary cutter. I’m not trimming much, but it’s enough to eliminate those pointy corners.

Trim lines made with the template

It’s a good idea to finish the edges of the front and back pieces. Since I don’t have access to a serger, I’m using the Tribute 150C to overcast the seams. I used the Exclusive Sewing Advisor (the bottom two rows of buttons) to select my fabric weight (Woven Light) and the technique (Seam/Overcast).

The Touch Panel

At this point, I’m not seaming the cover together but using that stitch to finish the edges to prevent fraying. Having the built-in Exclusive Sewing Advisor makes easy work of this task. How long would it have taken me to figure out which stitch and presser foot was best to finish the edges?

You can see I’m running the edge of the fabric along the edge of the Edging Foot J.

Using the Edging Foot J to overcast the edge of the fabric

A finger along the edge helps form the 5mm wide stitch and prevents the single fabric layer from curling.

The Edging Foot J

I could do all four sides separately, but I decided to pivot at the corners. Notice the presser foot is slightly crooked after I pivoted, so within the next stitch or two, I’ll manipulate the fabric, so it lines up with the edge of the foot, and I’m good to go.

Pivoting at the corner using the Edging Foot J

When using any stitch other than a straight stitch, there’s a stitch sequence, and it’s helpful to understand the sequence, especially if you want to pivot. In this instance, the needle should be in the rightmost position when I pivot. If the needle is not in that position, I tap on the foot pedal to advance by half a stitch until the needle is in the correct position. Then I lift the presser foot and rotate the fabric. Super easy!!!

The foot pedal

Now it’s time to insert the invisible zipper. You’ll never find invisible zippers in the length you want, which is good as it’s much easier to use a longer zipper and trim it off after it’s sewn in. My zippers are 22″ long for my 16″ cushion forms.

Place the zipper face down on the cushion cover. It’s best not to have the zipper go right to the corners, so I position the open end of the zipper so it’s 2″ from the corner. Mark the centers on the covers and the zipper, and at the 2″ mark from both sides. Matching up these marks helps keep the zipper even when you’re sewing. You’ll sew two seams to insert the zipper, starting and ending each seam at the 2″ mark.

There’s no need to insert a zipper stop. The ends of the zipper will be beneath the seam, and unless the stitching gives out, the zipper pull will not get past the stitching. I admit that I inserted a zipper stop using the tacking stitch on the Tribute 150C, and it caused issues when sewing the zipper in. I don’t recommend it, but if you want to know how to set the tacking stitch, use the zigzag stitch (1:04) and set the width to 5.5 (the width of your zipper teeth) and the length to 0.

The registration marks on the cushion cover and the zipper

Let’s use the Invisible Zipper foot to sew in the zipper. Select the center straight stitch (1:01). Open the zipper. With the right sides facing, match up the first registration mark on the cover. With your fingers, unroll the start of the zipper coil and ensure it sits in the groove under the presser foot. Use the FIX function to secure the beginning of the seam. Then continue sewing, matching up the center and end registration marks. Backstitch to secure the bottom end of the zipper.

When the zipper coil curls back, your stitching line is very close to the zipper coil, and no part of the zipper will show on the front. I started to sew at the beginning of the zipper coil, not the beginning of the zipper tape.

Sewing the left side of the invisible zipper

Now we’re sewing the other side. This time, line up the zipper coil on the other side of the foot. Make sure the registration lines match as you sew; otherwise, the zipper will be slightly askew.

In this photo, you can see how the zipper coil is pushed aside by the Invisible Zipper foot to allow the seam to be very close to the zipper coil.

It’s best to start at the open end of the zipper for both seams, and because the zipper is longer than you need, and you can move the zipper head out of the way, it’s effortless to sew both seams.

Sewing the right side of the invisible zipper

I used the FIX function to secure the beginning of the seams and the REVERSE function to backstitch at the bottom.

The function panel

Don’t forget to use the built-in needle threader when threading the Tribute 150C.

The needle threader

Here’s what you see on the outside: the zipper is invisible. I’m not worried that the plaids didn’t match up. They are close, but I don’t get bothered by stuff like that, and no one will notice it once the cushion is sitting on a chair. You’ll only see one side at one time!

The right side of the invisible zipper

Now let’s sew the cover together. We’ll need to finish the 2″ left open on both ends of the zipper. Move the zipper tape away from the end of the seam. Anchor the seam using the FIX function. You’ll be starting where you finished sewing the zipper. Once that’s secure, repeat on the other end of the zipper.

Sewing the cover together beyond the ends of the zipper

Then, and very important, open the zipper part way.

Open the zipper partway before finishing the cover

This time, sew around the remaining three sides of the cushion. I used the Utility Foot A and sewed the seams using a stitch length of 2.0 which is the stitch length set by the Exclusive Sewing Advisor for Woven Light fabrics.

Sewing the final seam

Here’s the completed cushion cover. Notice that it does not have pointy corners because we trimmed some of the fabric. I haven’t seen a cushion form yet filled right to the corners. And even though I took a larger than ¼” seam allowance, the cover fits nicely. Don’t be too generous with the seam allowance, or the cushion cover will be too large. Many times, I don’t add a seam allowance at all.

Can you tell if the plaids don’t match? I didn’t think so! Life is too short to worry about that kind of stuff. I just want to make things!

The cushion cover

I have something to add to this cushion cover, but you’ll have to wait until Friday to see.

Tomorrow, I’ll use the Husqvarna Viking Tribute 150C and the Circular Attachment to embellish one of the other cushion covers, so be sure to come back to see how I do it. I also get to practice inserting another invisible zipper, and I bet the second time will be way faster than the first!

Have a super day!


This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Husqvarna Viking Tribute 150C and the Circular Attachment

Go to part 3: Perfect applique circles with the Husqvarna Viking Circular Attachment

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