A zippered pillow cover will make your life a whole lot easier. Here’s how to add a zipper to existing cushions so you can wash them.
Hey y’all, today I’m going to show you how to make a couch cushion cover with a zipper from existing sofa cushions without zippers. Adding zippers completely upgraded the cushions from my patio couch because now I can wash them in the washing machine instead of just spot cleaning. And with construction going on across the street from our backyard, we’ve had a lot of dirt blowing onto our patio, so that washing has been much needed!
I actually did this several months ago (and I can’t believe how long my hair has grown since!) and shot a video at the time which I just now got around to editing and sharing. But hey, this post is just in time for outdoor summer gatherings. You can watch that below or on YouTube here. There is also a written tutorial of how to sew zippered couch cushions below the video.
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Supplies and Materials I Used for Zippered Cushions
Here are the supplies, besides my sewing machine and thread, that I used in this project.
- Seam ripper (affiliate link)
- Rotary cutter (affiliate link)
- Cutting mat (affiliate link)
- 22 inch zippers (for seat cushions) and 20 inch zippers (for back rest cushions)
- Zipper foot
- Quilting ruler (affiliate link)
- Sewing clips (affiliate link)
It’s important to note that I was only able to do this to my existing cushions without adding extra fabric because the seam allowance for the sides of the cushions was big enough. And unfortunately you can’t know what your seam allowance is until you seam rip. So if matching fabric would be hard to come by, I suggest seam ripping the seam on the side of the cushion first to check seam allowances. You can always use a hand sewn ladder stitch to close your cushion back up if you open it and discover that you don’t have much of a seam allowance to work with. In my case they had left over an inch in the seam allowance here, so I had plenty to be able to cut the fabric and add the zipper.
How to Sew Zippered Couch Cushions
Time needed: 2 hours.
Add Zippers to existing couch cushions
- Seam Rip
You’ll need to get the pillow inserts out of the cushion in order to sew anything. So start by seam ripping on the side you want to install the zipper. I only seam ripped one edge to begin with, then I washed all my cushion covers because they were so dirty. After they were clean I seam ripped the other edge.
- More seam ripping
After the pillow covers were clean I seam ripped the other edge so that both sides of the fabric on that edge were open.
- Cut the side off
Use a rotary cutter and mat to measure and cut the side of the box cushion cover off.
- Cut the side in half
Again using a quilting ruler, mat and rotary cutter, cut the side of the cushion cover in half so you can install the zipper in the middle. After making this cut, I did finish the edges of the fabric on my serger because I discovered this fabric frays very easily. You could also do a faux overlock or other seam finish if you have the same issue.
- Install the zipper
Put the zipper right sides together with one side of the fabric and stitch, then repeat with the other side of the zipper and the other side of the fabric so you have a centered zipper. You can see more clearly how to do this in the video towards the top of this post.
- Sew this side to the rest of the cushion
You’ll need to sew the two ends of this piece to the side edges of the cushion. In the image below, the wrong side is facing out. Make sure you stitch close to each end of the zipper so you don’t have any open gaps.
- Sew the top edge and bottom edge of the side back in place.
Since my cushions have piping, I chose to use basting stitches to sew the piping in place before this step. Then I used sewing clips to hold the edges in place and stitched them down. Remember to partially unzip the zipper before you pin or sew these edges.
- Turn right side out and add pillow form
The final step is to turn your cushion cover right side out and re-insert the padding. Then zip it up and put back on your couch!
This is a great idea. Did you use a special zipper?
brilliant idea. thank you….
Amazing idea, thank you so much for this tutorial! Quite recently, my husband and I wrestled with a single bed foam mattress, it was so incredibly difficult inserting it back after washing the cover – only the short edge had a zipper. I have no idea how they put the cover on in the first place… Anyway, I just found a 6ft long elastic in my stash, so off I go!