/ / How to sew a Cushion Cover with Zipper Enclosure

How to sew a Cushion Cover with Zipper Enclosure

Welcome to my home, please sit on my lovely couch. Not really, I really disliked having people sitting on my couch. Why do you ask? Well because my couch was in need of some desperate attention, just look at the pictures below.

old leather sofa

Just look at how it was peeling away. And the worst thing is that it has been doing this for over a year and I have done nothing about it.

old cracked leather couch

To say the least, my couch cushion was sad, very sad. So today, I am going to show you how to make a couch cushion with a zipper enclosure. First thing first, cutting out your fabric. To do this remove cushion from old cover and trace outline of cushion onto fabric with a fabric pen. Then add 1/2″ for the seam allowance. TIP: You can also use old cover to trace the outline, I did this and it was a lot easier. 

After you have cut out one piece, use that piece to trace out all the other pieces (make sure the right side of the fabric are together). EXAMPLE: I have two cushions on my couch, so I cut out 4 pieces of fabric.

cover cushion

Next you need to cut out the side of your cushion. Using your old cushion cover, measure from one zipper end to the other (not the zipper part). Then add an extra 5″ to that measurement. Also, measure the distance from the top of the cushion to the bottom, (how thick the cushion is) and add an extra 1″ for the seam allowance. Cut out this piece for the number of cushions you have. EXAMPLE: My cushion measured 74″ from zipper to zipper but then I added the extra 5″, making it 79″. My cushion is 5 1/2″ thick but I added 1″, so I need 6 1/2″. So I will cut my piece at 79″ x 6 1/2″ and I will cut this two times because I have two cushions.

Now for the zipper fabric, you need to measure the zipper of your old cover. Then add 1″ to that measurement. Using the width measurement you just figured for your last piece, divide that in half and add an extra 1/2″. Now take your width and length and cut 2 pieces for one cushion.  EXAMPLE: My zipper measured 42″ then add 1″, gives me 43″.The width of my last piece was 6 1/2″, I divided that into half making it 3 1/4″ but then I added a 1/2″. SO my measurement is 3 3/4″. The pieces I will cut are 43″ x 3 3/4″ and I will cut this four times because I have two cushions.

Next it’s time to sew your zipper onto the fabric.

supplies for zipper cushion

Make sure you are using your zipper foot for this step. Take one of the zipper fabric pieces (if you remember mine was 3 3/4″ x 43″) and your upholstery zipper, place the right side of zipper and fabric together. Then sew along the zipper edge as close as possible.

sewing zipper to cushion fabric

Complete this step for the other side of the zipper.

Now take the fabric piece and turn it to the right side of the fabric, topstitch alongside the zipper (1/8″ to 1/4″ away from zipper).

attaching zipper to cushion

Take the side with the extra amount of zipper and stitch multiple times, 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric, across the zipper to hold the zipper together. Then cut off the extra amount of the zipper.

Complete these steps for however many cushions you have.

zipper on cushion

Now you will have 4 pieces of fabric for the cushion (1 & 2: top and bottom of the cushion, 3: zipper piece, & 4: middle of cushion).

You can find the tutorial of adding piping to cushion here. I would suggest adding piping to your cushion because it gives it a nicer finish.

sew a sofa cushion

Take the middle of cushion piece and zipper piece, with right sides together, pin edges of fabric together. Then sew 1/2″ seam allowance. Do this to both edges of your fabric pieces, giving you one big circle piece of fabric.

attach zipper to fabric for slipcover

Taking one of the edges just sewn together, fold middle piece 1 1/4″ toward zipper piece and pin in place.

sew sofa cushion

Using a fabric pen, mark 1″ away from the middle of zipper onto the middle piece of fabric, on both sides. Then measure 1 1/4″ toward middle fabric from the middle of the zipper. Connect the three markings to make a triangle. See the picture below for an example. 

zipper holder on cushion

Complete this step for the other side of fabric where the zipper connects with the middle piece of fabric.

Now topstitch 1/8″ from middle fabric piece (you can use your regular foot for this step), until you get to the marked triangle then follow the marked line then continue 1/8″ stitch.

sew couch cushion

Complete this step for both sides of the zipper. You will now have your zipper enclosure.

zipper on cushion

Make sure you remove the fabric pen marking.

cushion for couch cushion

Take the top cushion fabric and the zipper fabric, and find the middle of both. To do this, take your top cushion fabric and fold the length in half, make sure you mark on the side where the piping comes together (back of cushion). To find the middle of your zipper fabric, put the ends of the zipper together (the zipper enclosure) and mark where they fold.

Then pin, right sides together, the middle of zipper fabric to the middle of the top cushion fabric. TIP: Again make sure you are pining the back of the cushion to the zipper. I did not do this for one cushion and had to unpick the whole thing, not fun!

sewing cushion

Start pining all the way around the cushion fabric. At the corners, clip the zipper fabric to help it turn. See picture below.

corner of cushion

sewing slipcover cushion

After pining all the way around, you can sew a seam allowance of 1/2″ (make sure you are using your zipper foot for this step), start at one of the back corners so you sew along the back first. As you are sewing your fabric may stretch and you may have to adjust your pins. This is why you start sewing along the back first, so the extra fabric can be in the back. Let me explain how this will look.

The picture below is of one of the front corners.

sew corner of cushion

After you turn the cushion to the right side it will look like this.

corner of cushion cover

If your fabric stretches add the extra fabric to the back corner of the cover. If you sew it like this…

corner of slipcover cushion

When you turn it to the right side, it will look like this.

sewing slipcover cushion

After you have sewn one side, sew on the bottom cushion, make sure you are adding the back to the back.

Now you will have your cushion all sewn together. All you have to do is add the cushion.

sew cushion of couch

And you also have a cushion with a zipper enclosure.

zipper of couch cushion

Here is my couch with the new cushions. Looks so much better than before.

new couch cushions

Anyone else sewing a slipcover or need to sew a slipcover?


  1. Pretty impressive! You may need to send on of those my way :)

  2. Pinned this, by the way, for those who are handier at the sewing machine than me.

    1. Thanks Leilani! I know that you could do it because you are amazing. If only we lived closer then I could help you make your own…

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