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Top tips for setting in a zip
If you have never set a zip into a soft furnishings article before or have tried but been rather disappointed with the end result, then read on! The objective of this feature is to provide you with a few snippets of sound advice which, when accompanied by some practical sewing instructions, should help you to avoid common pitfalls and create the impressive finish you are looking for!
If you are a regular visitor to our site, you will know that we have a habit of stressing the importance of careful planning when embarking on any soft furnishings project. I am afraid this is no exception! 
Positioning and concealing the zip
We will focus our attention on setting a zip into a cushion, since this is the most common use of zips in soft furnishings. Whether you are making a simple scatter cushion with the zip inserted across the bottom or centre of the reverse panel; or a more advanced box cushion where the zip is inserted into the band or welt, many of the same principles apply.
Zips often look unsightly when exposed and can spoil the overall appeal of an otherwise stunning cushion design. I always use the same method regardless of the type of cushion and have found that the approach set out in our Teach Yourself Cushions guide really is the best way to achieve a good finish.
We typically advise using continuous zip for cushion making, as the colour of the zip has little importance because it is hidden under a flap of fabric as shown above. Inserting a glider onto continuous zip can be a bit tricky, but the set of simple steps shown in this photo should make it much easier.
Click here for the 3 basic sewing steps >>

Ensure that the zip is fully concealed under a fold of fabric stitched into the seams of the panel. The zip must also sit flat, with no puckering in the seams.

One of the visitors to our forum has an extremely useful video showing how to insert a zip into the rear panel of a cushion which you can view here - from http://my.decozo.com
Which type of zip to use
If you make a lot of cushions, then it may well be worth investing in some ‘continuous zip’ with separate gliders. These zippers are available by the metre from your local soft furnisher or upholstery supplier. The zips can be cut to any length and the gliders are easily inserted before the zip is installed into the article. They come in a number of finishes and weights for use in any job, light or heavy, big or small.
Having a supply to hand can be so much better and far less expensive than having to buy a specific size and colour of zip for each project. And, since the zip should always be concealed, using a zip in the same colour as your chosen fabric is really not that important.
Scatter cushions
If you have made scatter cushions before and have tried to set a zip into one of the side seams, you may well have had some difficulty feeding all the layers through your machine.
If the cushion has previously been piped, the task becomes even more difficult. As an alternative, try positioning the zip into the bottom of the back cover with a concealed flap. It is far easier and you are much more likely to be satisfied with the end result. See the example above.
Squab or box cushions
When making a squab or box cushion, the zip is usually inserted along the back edge into the band or welt. Use the same method for inserting the zip with a flap for concealing the zipper teeth. The flap faces downward and if positioned near the bottom of the band it will barely be visible.
We have put together some handy tips for estimating the length and width of the band required, in our Advance Cushions guide. These should help you to avoid the problems encountered when trying to get the cover to fit perfectly around the foam pad and make it much easier to insert the pad once the cover is finished.
Getting to started!
I hope these tips will help you feel more confident about inserting a zip and will set you on the right track when planning your next project. If you would like to have a go at cushion making but feel you need some additional advice and step-by-step sewing instructions to guide you through the process then read on.

Simply Furnishings has produced two sewing guides providing all the practical design and sewing instructions you will need when making a wide range of simple and more intricate cushion designs. You will find our easy to follow instructions for setting a zip in our first guide TEACHYourself Cushions. Our second guide, TEACHYourself Advanced Cushions assumes that you have already acquired the basic skills of cushion making and are looking to move on to box, bolster and squab cushions, using borders, trimmings and other decorative effects, creating an almost endless array of design variations. It really couldn't be simpler!

Good luck with your sewing and please feel free to email me with questions about setting in a zip or any other sewing query.
Wendy Molnar

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