Zips and Zippers Part 3
Carrying on our zipper tutorial we have a different way of installing a zip, this time we want our zip to be a little more concealed. Again this project will take you about half an hour, you won't believe how easy it is. We are going to create a simple cushion.
By the way the cat fabric I used is a needlecord and has a short pile but it created a lot of fluff which looks like dust on my sewing machine in some pictures.
SA= seam allowance
RSU = right side up
RSD = right side down
RST = right sides together
right side, being the side of the fabric the pattern is printed on, sometimes known as the pretty side, or the side of the zip that has the slider on it.
What you will need:
A cushion insert OR some stuffing to stuff your pillow to the size you want it.
Two pieces of fabric the width and length of your cushion insert do not add SA, I know it sounds crazy but your cushion will look plumper and better.
1 zip about the same length as your pillow or longer.
Iron on interfacing, I used Pellon 101 (shape flex) it is a woven interfacing, like thin cotton, with glue on one side to iron onto the fabric. Don't use a stiff papery interfacing or your cushions will not be soft and squishy. If you don't have any interfacing or find it hard to get you could use some thin cotton fabric and just zigzag stitch it to your main fabric on the very edge. If your main fabric is thick enough you can do without the interfacing completely.
Thread to match your fabric
The usual sewing implements, sewing machine, scissors, pins, etc
Iron for pressing.
For this project you want your zip to blend into the cushion, you can get invisible zips but we are going to use a normal zip and I will show you an easy way to conceal it. Therefore the zip you choose should match your fabric. I went through my stash of zips (which is far too big) and pulled out a few I thought could be contenders.
When I first saw the apricot one in the middle i thought that would maybe match the background colour of my fabric but as you can see it clashes wildly, the white, although it matches the cats eyes is a bit bright against the fabric, the pink actually blends better. The natural on the left has the same problem as the white, it is too bright, the ecru would blend better, if you don't have the right coloured zip, neutral colours black, white, greys and beige tones usually work best pick the one that is the closest in the darkness/lightness value. In the end I decided the 'tango' orange zip on the far right was close to the colour of the cats and so I went with that. As you can see my zips are different length's as long as they are 'at least' the length we need then we can cut them to size, therefore when I buy zips I almost always buy the longer lengths. You can buy sliders and pulls on their own, (make sure you buy the right size) so if you only need a 10" zip and you use a 24" save the rest and add a slider to it.
If your fabric isn't thick enough add some iron on interfacing, I used a needlecord fabric and although it's reasonably thick I decided I wanted a little extra body to it so added some 'shape flex' by Pellon (Pellon 101) any woven interfacing will do, you need something that is going to add some body to your fabric but not make it stiff. After all a cushion is supposed to be soft and squishy. Follow the instructions on your interfacing and take into consideration the fabric when you set the heat of the iron. Although it is called 'iron' on interfacing, you should actually just 'press' moving the iron around can stretch the fabric.
2. Put the fabric RST, if you have patterned fabric take note of the direction of your fabric, I want my cats to be the right way up if I turn the cushion around and I want the zip at the bottom. Clip or pin your fabric together along the long bottom edge.
3. Set your stitch length on your machine to the longest length it will go to. My machine that is 5, yours may be 4, just use the longest you have. Sew along the bottom edge of the fabric only. Anything between 1/4" and 1/2" SA is fine, just try to keep it straight. I just followed the edge of my presser foot.
4. Turn the fabric over and press the seam flat.
5. Take your zip and lay it RSD against the centre of the seam. The fabric is RSD so you can see the seam and the zip is RSD so the slider and pull are against the seam. The zip should be closed the end with the pull should be about an inch in from the side of the fabric, it's fine if the other end overhangs and the teeth of the zip need to be exactly on top of the centre of the seam. Pin it into place.
6. Make sure that you change your stitch length back to your normal stitch length, and start stitching down one side of the zip with a 1/4" SA, if you have a zipper foot let the foot run along the zip teeth to guide you. Start just past the zip slide and pull and sew to about an inch before the end, put the needle down, and lift the presser foot and rotate the fabric and zip, lower the presser foot again and sew across the zip, going slowly over the teeth, if your machine should have trouble or stop just move the fabric slightly and hand crank it a couple of stitches. Once again put the needle down and lift the presser foot, turn the fabric and zip, lower the presser foot again and sew down the other side. Stop before the slide and pull with the needle down, lift the presser foot and see if you can open the zip and ease it past the presser foot. If you can carefully continue to sew to an inch before the end, turn as before and sew across the zip and down the other side to where you started sewing.
If you can't manage to ease the zip past the presser foot, lift the needle and move the presser foot out of the way and you will have to try to line the machine back up with where you left off.
7. Turn the fabric over we are now going to unpick those big basting stitches we put in earlier to sew the two pieces of fabric together. Use a seam ripper to do this and very carefully make sure you only cut out those basting stitches and don't cut your fabric.
8. Cut off any excess zipper tape you may have overhanging the edge of the fabric, undo your zip half way, and fold your fabric RST. The corners by the zip are the most important, pin or clip these in place first and then pin around the rest of the three sides. The zip has to be open half way because you need to turn the cushion cover the right way around through this gap later.
9.Sew around the three sides, backstitching at the beginning and end. Turn at the corners by making sure the needle is down and lifting the presser foot while you turn the fabric.
10. Taper the corners with your scissors by cutting from the corner as close to the stitches as you can get without cutting the stitches and cutting diagonally across the seam to the edge, see picture below. Doing this will remove the excess fabric out of the corners so when you turn the corners out they will be sharp.
11 Reach in and undo the zip all the way and turn your cushion cover the right way out. Carefully push out your corners and insert your cushion form.
12. If the flaps over the zip stick up a little just give them a quick press, being careful of the nylon zip.
Your cushion is finished!