Hey! So I had a bit of a mare this weekend trying to add a zip to a project. It’s not something I’ve done often and so it always gives me a bit of a headache. I got there in the end, but not before jack (ripper) had to make an appearance, unfortunately! So as we go along, I’ll explain what I did wrong so you can avoid making the same mistake(s)! I clearly wasn’t fully with it when doing this as I also seem to be missing photographs of a few things…sigh. But really, who sews and doesn’t make mistakes? That’s a rhetorical question 😉
Anyhoo! Here goes! The items listed below are to cover a 20 inch cushion insert.
Fabric – Enough to cut two squares measuring 21 x 21 inches each. I used the MP Music Fabric here.
Zipper foot for your sewing machine.
Rotary Cutter and Mat.
Jack (Seam Ripper).
First off, gather everything you need before you start.
Now mark your fabric at 21 inches wide and 21 inches length, pop your ruler at the two marks and run your rotary cutter along. Quickest way to cut straight lines (IMO). Loving the new 60mm rotary cutter we’re now stocking too… unfortunately it’s forced the smaller one into early retirement! For now.
So, once you’ve cut the fabric, you should have two that measure 21 x 21 inches each… be sure to cut them in the correct orientation if the fabric is patterned, or like this, has words.
Now place the two pieces right sides together.
Sew a half inch seam along the edge you’ve picked for the zip to be placed (bottom of the finished cushion is normally best).
Now press open the seam. I get that this is confusing – you’ve just sewn up the zip hole. I’ll get there 🙂
Place your zip face down (your zip pull should be touching the fabric) across the seam you’ve just ironed. Be sure to centre the zip across the stitching as best you can.
Carefully turn over the fabric and pop a pin through the zip just above the end-stop (the metal square bit of the zip bottom). This is just so you know to stop sewing there – you’ll end up cursing if you break a needle or worse still, something gives in your machine!
Now here’s where life got nightmarish – You need to sew down either side of the zip on the right side of the fabric. To do this, I used a zipper foot on my machine and correctly positioned the needle for the first side. However, when it came to sewing up the 2nd side, I forgot to change the needle position and ended up WAY too close to the zip. It wouldn’t budge. Gutted! So, a bit of cursing under my breath and out came jack. The next 25 minutes were spent carefully trying to unpick stitches that were made to stay (short stitch length to keep the zip in place!) – I then reset the zip underneath the zipper foot, re-positioned the needle and it went great!
So… Place the zip underneath the zipper foot and position your needle fully to the left/right depending on which side you’re sewing in place. To be fair, I should have checked before sewing the entire thing in, but… well, what can I say, it’s a character flaw of mine!
Let’s get back to it. Zip sewn up either side, you need to now sew the two ends in place. Sew in a few stitches to join up the two lines of stitching you created, forming a thin rectangle around your zip. Backstitch a few times here too. It’ll keep the zip in place if the cover needs to be removed for washing/changing etc. Mess up number two – I didn’t photograph sewing up the ends of the zip. Sorry! I will try so much harder next time, promise!
Moving along… With the zip all sewn in, its time to open it up. Simply pop jack into the stitching above the zip and begin to pop those stitches free. If your jack is as as sharp as mine, he’ll cut straight through with very little pressure.
Unzip the… zip. *roll eyes* – If all has gone well, you’ve now done the hardest part! And likely better than I did! Go ahead and pull out those loose threads.
And here we go again – I didn’t photograph this but it’s fairly simple anyway… With right sides together, sew a half inch in around the other three sides of the fabric. Back-stitch at beginning and end.
Now trim off the corners and any excess fabric to reduce the bulk in the cushion. I just popped my ruler on there and ran the rotary cutter again to trim off a little. Avoid getting too close to your stitches with the cutter. You don’t want to undo all the hard work so far.
Now turn the cover right side out and pop in your cushion insert. Close up the zip and … finally… voila!
I promise that I will take better photographs, give clearer steps and try not to completely mess up the next time I’m adding a zip to something. I almost didn’t post this, as there was more wrong than there was right. However, it was pointed out to me that, although frustrating… others will have undoubtedly done the same thing and given up. I’m simply posting (mess ups and all) to show that you shouldn’t give up. The end product still looks great and I learned something! Actually, I learned plenty!
Here’s to smooth sewing adventures in the future!