How to install a zip in a cushion cover – lapped zipper tutorial

In this tutorial I want to share with you a nice and easy way of installing a lapped zipper into a cushion cover –a method that will require completing only two lines of Zigzag stitches to neaten the edges and two lines of straight stitches.

How to install a zipper - lapped zipper
How to install a zipper – lapped zipper tutorial

For this illustration I am using a standard all purpose zipper, however my zipper is slightly longer than the cut size of my cushion cover: with a longer zipper the zipper pull will be outside of my working area, this way I will avoid difficulty working around the zipper pull.

Cutting directions:

The zipper can be installed in any place of a backing panel e.g. in the centre, close to the top edge or bottom edge of the cushion cover. I like the zipper to be close to the top edge, approx ¼ of the size of the cushion cover.

For the back panel cut 2 rectangular pieces that are same width as the front panel but add 2” to the total length of both pieces for zip installation.

For instance: for cushion pad 17” x 17” I cut a square 18” x 18” for the front panel and two pieces for the back panel – 18” x 15” and 18” x 5”.               

Sewing directions:

  • Lay the larger backing piece flat face up.
  • Lay the zipper face down lining up the edge of the zipper tape with the edge of the fabric.
  • Pin in place. P1000337
  • Zigzag or over-lock the edges catching the zipper tape in the stitch.


  • With the fabric still facing you, turn over the zipper face side up and fold the fabric along the edge of zipper teeth.
  • Pin in place. P1000341
  • Attach zipper foot to your machine.
  • Machine stitch the zipper to the fabric 1/8” away from the zipper teeth. P1000344

Now attach the zipper to the remaining second piece of back fabric.

  • With face sides placed together, line up the remaining back piece to free zipper edge.
  • Pin in place. P1000349
  • Replace the zipper foot with the regular foot.
  • Zigzag the edge catching the zipper tape and the raw edge of the fabric in the stitch. P1000355

Now you need to create a lap to hide the zip.

  • Partly unfold the small backing piece  and create a new folding line.
  • Use the edge of the zipper tape as a guide for the folding line. You can put pins from wrong side of the fabric alongside of the zipper tape to help you to make a straight fold.


  • On the smaller backing piece mark a stitching line ¾” away from the folding line with a fabric marking pen or masking tape.
  • Attach the zipper foot to your machine.
  • Stitch up the fold following the marking line or edge of the masking tape catching the zipper tape in the stitch.


  • Open the zipper approx 2” from the edge of the panel.
  • Create a new “zipper stop” by sewing a few stitches across the zipper teeth.
  • Cut off excess of the zipper tape. P1000367

The zipper is done!How to install a zipper - lapped zipper






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