How to Put an Invisible Zip into a Cushion

 You may not even see this as a problem. It’s such a little thing, but it bugs me.

Last week when I posted my Christmas Gnome Cushion pattern, I didn’t include the instructions for the zip because I figured if you were using the cord to make those hands then you probably knew how to put a zip in.  

However, I got lots of questions about this, so I decided to dedicate a post to how and why you put an invisible zip into a throw pillow.

The Why

Now you may be asking why would I bother?

There’s a really great reason.

Can you see the difference?

I don’t like seeing the zipper showing like the gold cushion on the left.  I just think that it looks much nicer to use an invisible zipper so it’s all tucked in and neat.  

Now, you may think I’m being super pedantic here, and I am willing to agree that there’s a slight possibility that I am, but it takes the same amount of effort to put in an invisible zip as a regular one so, why not!

Let’s get on to the details. How do you do it?

It’s ever so slightly different to the method you would use when putting a zip into a dress.


Put the zipper in before you make up the cushion – basically, you are just working with two squares of fabric.

Press the Zip

When you purchase an invisible zip, the teeth are facing towards the zipper tape, essentially, the outside of the zip.  The first thing you need to do is press the teeth of the zipper flat, or towards the inside (where the teeth meet).  

This allows you to get nice and close with the stitching.  

To do this, you take your iron and roll the teeth out as you press. Be careful not to burn your fingers – speaking from experience here.

Pin the First Side

Close the zipper and make a mark where you want to finish stitching.  It should be at least 1cm from the zipper stopper.

If your cushion measures 50cm, and your zip measures 45cm, you may want to mark your zip at around 40cm from where the teeth start.  This gives you 5cm to work with either end of the zip.

Open the zipper and pin the first side, face down matching the tape edge of the zipper to the edge of your cushion. Put the pins in with the points facing the top of the zip so you can easily remove them when stitching.

Stitch the First Side

Using a zipper foot, adjust your sewing machine needle so that it is on the left hand side.  Stitch as close as you can to the teeth starting at the top of the teeth, not the top of the zipper tape.  Stop stitching at the mark you made earlier. Ensure to backstitch both ends.


Press the work so that the seam allowance (and zipper tape) is folded back towards the cushion.

Pin the Second Side

Lay the fabric out as you have pressed it with the right side facing up. Lay the second side of the cushion on top and pin, matching the edge of the cushion to the edge of the zipper tape.


You may think this step isn’t necessary, but I always like to baste the second side.  It means that I don’t have to worry about taking the pins out while I’m focused on getting the stitching close to the teeth.

Baste down the outside of the zipper tape, close to the edge, removing the pins as you go. This also gives you the opportunity to check that you haven’t twisted the zipper in the process – again, I speak from experience.

Stitch the Second Side

Using your zipper foot, move the needle close to the zipper teeth and stitch the second side, starting at the beginning of the teeth and stopping at the mark, as you did for the first side.

Joining the Two Pieces

To join the two pieces of the cushion together, we need to ensure that the zipper tape is out of the way, otherwise it will show on the right side.

Place the fabric right sides together.

To check that the zipper is in correctly, zip it up then temporarily pin the top and bottom as though you had already stitched. Turn it out to ensure that nothing is twisted. Remove the pins.

Match all the edges.

Place a pin across the top of the zipper where you started stitching.

Push the zipper tape out of the way so that both pieces of the tape are sticking out, and stitch to that pin.

Repeat for the bottom by putting a pin across where the mark is – you should be able to see this on the wrong side as it’s where the stitching stops. Push the ends of the tape out of the way as you did for the first side. Stitch from that pin to the end of the cushion, matching all the edges.

Turn the piece of work and press.

Making Up The Cushion

Unzip the zipper!

Honestly, I can’t stress this enough.  If you don’t unzip the zipper, when you’ve stitched right around you won’t be able to turn the cushion.

Stitch around the remaining three sides, matching the edges.

Trim the corners diagonally close to the stitching as shown below, being careful not to nick the corner stitching.  This removes the bulk and makes the corners sit nicely.

Turn the cushion, press and add an inner.


You’re done. A nice cushion that sits completely flat with no zippers showing.


If you’ve enjoyed this post, please leave me a comment below and let me know how you get on with putting an invisible zip into a cushion, or even if you think it’s necessary.

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December 10, 2020