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How-to: Easy “Pocket” in Cushion for Zipper Tab

Today I’m going to show you how to make a pocket for your zipper tab on your cushion projects.  It’s easy and looks nice!  It also keeps the zipper tab from scratching up your upholstery (or your kids arms when they’re digging for toys)!

Making the pocket requires about 4-inches extra of fabric on the strip that goes around the cushion.

I won’t go into too much detail about constructing a cushion… just the basics of what I did for mine.

You can use the previous cushion cover as a pattern or simply use the actual cushion to make your own.  Don’t you agree this fabric had to go!?  Thrift store Tommy Bahama chairs!  Woot woot!

 I used a canvas drop cloth and cut strips 2-inches wide to make piping.  I trimmed the edge of the piping so it would have 1/2-inch seams.  TIP: do an overcast stitch over the raw edge of piping if you wish (it wouldn’t fit through my server but a regular zig-zag stitch would have worked).

I sprayed a tacky spray on the backside of my top and bottom cushion pieces and lined with muslin.  I serged around the edges to prepare for adding piping.

I clipped the piping around the edges of both the top and bottom pieces, snipping into the seam allowance to allow corners to lay nice.  

 Ends meet in the back.

I basted around the edges of piping and set aside.

 After lining backs of canvas with muslin, I serged the sides where the zipper would be sewn.

 The muslin overhangs a bit on the other sides – this got trimmed/serged later.

 One of my favorite products has been these little clips for holding bulky or otherwise awkward pieces together.

I pushed fabric up to zipper teeth and topstitched.  TIP: you could hide the teeth by pushing fabric even further meeting over the center of zipper teeth.

With right-sides together of zipper piece (when closed, the end without the tab) and long strip that goes around edge of cushion, I sewed across the ends with a 1/2-inch seam and serged ends.  TIP: account for at least 4″ extra of fabric around your cushion to create the pocket.

Here I serged along both edges of the long-edge strip.

With right-sides together, I made a basting stitch over the free ends of my long strip to create a full circle.  TIP: the little section of fabric over the zipper helps add stability when the zipper is open, especially when putting the cushion in/out.

 Next I clipped my strip around the edge of my bottom cushion piece, matching edges and having zipper centered in the back.  This allows you to make the fold of the pocket in just the right spot – see where the extra length of fabric folds?  I marked with purple where it folds – this is where the final stitch will be made creating the pocket.
 The lines of purple along the zipper show where the stitch goes up and crosses at your original-basted stitch on the other end over the end of zipper.  That sounds confusing.  It’s not, I promise!

This is looking at it from the other side to help you visualize what everything should look like.

 Unclip a few clips so you can get the fabric under your sewing machine.  Sew along the purple lines, up over the end of zipper where your original stitch was, and down the other side along the other purple lines. You just created a little zipper tab pocket!  Easy peasy!

I cut out the extra fabric to reduce bulk, however, I think it looked better with how it was before.

 Here I’m sewing the border strip onto the bottom piece.  TIP: use a foot that allows you to get the needle close to the piping underneath.
Last, I clipped and stitched the top cushion piece to the border strip.

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