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Ms Midge’s Hidden Zipper Tutorial

So how cool is this! I am a huge fan of not reinventing the wheel when it comes to quilting and writing patterns and tutorials. And if someone has written something that has helped me along my sewing way then I think they need to be shared and shouted from the rooftops. There is zero point me rehashing words I could never ever say better than they do.

Now I was catatonic about using zips for years, honestly it was bordering on pathological. Eventually I knew I had to bite the bullet and just do it so I started searching for tutorials that would help me on my way. My first attempts were woeful. I cant begin to tell you all the big feelings I was feeling when I couldn’t grasp what is such a simple concept.

Enter Ms Midge. I have been a massive fan of Melissa’s work for years and I LOVE her writing style. Like me she is not a huge fan of perfect quilts and points and all the other things that make quilting seem so much harder than it needs to me. Like me she takes a really wonderful and practical approach to quilting and her end results are always amazing. I have been a fangirl for as long as I can remember. I mean look at her Prince quilt, just look!

When I remembered she had a zipper tutorial of her own I was so excited and tried it immediately. You guys it worked! I was so excited I think I have made a million cushions since. When I decided to write my QAYG cushion tutorial I knew I wanted to link Melissa’s tutorial to it so you can create the perfect finish to your project. But stupid SSL certificates and other websitey glitchy things meant right now it isnt all that safe to share. It will be soon as her people have contacted other people and they are working to fix the issue. I reached out to Melissa and explained my situation and she graciously (and amazingly!) allowed me to repost it here for you guys to refer to when you need. What a deadset legend she is.

So without further ado let me introduce the Ms Midge enclosed zipper tutorial in her very own words  …..

One of the questions I am most commonly asked is: “How do you put a zipper in a cushion back” – and for the past couple of years, I’ve been able to direct them to this tutorial!

Take a deep breath, grab a cuppa – there’s lots of photos incoming!

First of all, I start off with a pattern, or in this case, some leftover blocks from a quilt…

I had four leftover blocks from my Honey Honey Framed quilt, so I pieced them all together and popped a white border around it to bring it up to size. You can use this same theory with any blocks you have lying around! Next time you’re at your local fabric/supplies store, check out their cushion inserts, and take note of the sizes they stock. Generally speaking, I’ll make my cushions 18″ or 20″, but you can work with whatever you’ve got.

Then the fun begins! Make yourself a quilt sandwich – Your cushion top, batting in the middle and then a great part of the cushion quilt is that you can use just a plain homespun or even calico as your backing – because nobody will see it! Baste it together and decide on your quilting design.

Trim your cushion cover down to size.

Choose a backing fabric, and then cut out a piece about an inch wider than your block and approximately four inches longer.

Cut your backing straight through the middle.

Then overlock (serge) or neatly finish the edges.

Grab yourself a zipper that is at least as long as the width of your backing. If you have a longer one – that’s fine!!

Now, place your zipper facing down on the right side of your fabric. Line up the edge of the zip with the finished edge of the fabric, pin it in place.

As shown here.

Put your zipper foot on your machine (you CAN use a regular foot, but these ones make it easier).

Set your needle as far to the left as it goes. (Don’t forget this step or you will end up with a broken needle. Don’t know how I know this…..)

Line the side of your foot up next to the actual zip. You will be able to feel the plastic/metal of the zip with your finger. Now sew! Take it slowly and ensure the edge of the zip stays on the edge of the fabric.

One side done!

Press your fabric down nice and neatly.

Move your needle over to the far right now and topstitch just a tiny bit away from the zip.

As seen above.

Now place your zippered backing half and place it right sides facing on to the other backing half. Lining up the sides of the backing as evenly as you can.

Repeat the lining up of zip edge to fabric edge and pinning.

And sew again….

And you will have put your zip in!! But wait…..there’s more!

Take your zippered backing over to the ironing board, and press the second side nice and neatly (DON’T TOPSTITCH!) You now want to pinch your fabric, about one inch down, and fold it up over your zipper.

Measure it on both sides so it’s even.

Then press it.

Pin it down on the folded edge.

Move your needle to the far left. And slowly sew down beside your zip.

So it looks like this!

And you now have an enclosed and covered zip! You still with me???? Exhausting isn’t it?? Grab yourself a drink…..Now it’s time to put your cushion cover together……

Lay your backing down, right side

Place your cushion front on top of the backing. Try and get it as straight as possible, so that the zipper is the same measurement from the top of your cover on both sides.

Pull your zipper back a few inches from the edge.

And pin the zipper edges nice and close together.

Trim your backing to the same size as your front. You can literally cut straight over the zip! Baste it all together, and then sew around the edges about a 1/4″ in.

You now have a cushion cover. Just needs binding! If you know how to bind a quilt, then you will be able to bind a cushion cover!

Most important of all, find yourself a cushion insert that looks like it will be just a touch too big for the cover! Cushion inserts lose their “oomph” after a bit of living, so you want to make sure it will be able to last the distance…

Isn’t she beautiful?? This cushion is the perfect example of using fabric and/or blocks that you have lying around (I mean literally, these blocks lay in the corner of my lounge room after trimming the quilt!) to make something exquisite, that will make someone really, really happy!

And the back. I am super happy to tell you that this beautiful cushion cover was sold to one of my customers. Win, win!

Now – If you don’t want to bind your cushion, and have a finish like this:

Then it’s easy.  Instead of basting your cushion cover top and backing WRONG sides together***, you baste and then sew them RIGHT sides together – ensuring your zip is open a couple of inches before doing so.  Once you have sewn all the way around the edges, you then simply open the zip right up and turn your cushion out the right way and press the edges down, giving it a nice clean seam!

I have literally made a million cushions, and don’t look like stopping any time soon, so I do hope this helps you get started in your own cushion cover marathon!

So there you have it. Honestly this tutorial is wonderful and will help you create the perfect finished cushion. I prefer the second option using French seams to binding but both options are wonderful.

So with this tutorial and my QAYG cushion tutorial I now expect to be sent many many photos of your wonderful makes.

Sarah x


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