Zippered Pillow Cover Tutorial

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As I mentioned last week, I have just discovered how to make a zippered pillow cover.  From one sewing beginner to another, here's how I did it.

Supplies Needed:
-Pillow form (Mine is 12"x24")
-Two fabric rectangles (Mine are 11"x23")
-Zipper (that is 2"-4" shorter than the side you are putting the zipper on)
-Sewing machine and notions
 (*A note on the fabric and pillow form dimensions: I usually use down pillow forms, and the finished size of the pillow cover is two inches smaller than the form.  This makes for a nicely-filled pillow, and is mostly important for down inserts.  However, the form I had for this project was very tightly stuffed, and if I were doing this pillow again, I would make the finished size of the cover the same size as the form, which would mean that my fabric size would be 13"x25" rather than 11"x23".  It was almost impossible to get the form in the cover!)
First, pin fabric rectangles together with right sides facing, and pin the edge where you'd like the zipper to be located.  Next, you'll be sewing the edges of the side together and leaving an opening for the zipper.  To find out how far you need to stitch in on each end, measure your zipper and subtract that number from your side length, then split the resulting number in two to figure out how far in you need to stitch.  Example: I had a 9" zipper and and 11" side.  11-9=2, 2/2=1, so I stitched one inch in on each end with a 1/2" seam allowance:
Now, open the seam and iron it flat all the way down.
This next step is probably optional, but I like the finished look it gives the seam, and I think it probably strengthens the opening.  Sew all the way around the ironed seam close to the edge.
Now you are ready to set the zipper.  With the 1/2" seam allowance, the zipper should fit right over the seam.  Pin it in place with the zipper half open.
Now, you are going to have to semi-ignore my next photos.  Apparently, you are supposed to stitch on the inside of the metal tabs on the ends of the zipper.  I claim that I don't really know what I am doing.
Basically, you are just sewing a rectangle around the zipper.  Here is the breakdown:
1- Sew across the end of the zipper (on the inside of the metal tabs), making sure to backstitch.
2- Start sewing along the side of the zipper.  Use a zipper foot if you have one.  I don't, so I just move my needle all the way to the left and get as close as I can.  It seems to work.
3- Stop when you get to the zipper and set the needle.
4- Lift the presser foot.
5- Slide the zipper past the presser foot.
6- Put the foot back down and carry on.
7- Stop when you get to the other end, and turn the foot.
8- Sew across the other end of the zipper (on the inside of the metal tabs).
9- Turn the foot and go back down on the other side, doing the zipper slide trick (steps 3-6) again on the way back.
Beautiful!  You can relax now, because the hard part is over.  Make sure that you leave the zipper partially opened, so you can turn it inside-out when the time comes.  If your zipper cloth extends far enough to the edges of the pillow to interfere with your side seams, just trim the tails off to reduce bulk in the corners.
Pin the rest of the pillow together with right sides facing.
Sew all the way around the remaining sides with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Clip your corners, and turn it inside-out.
Good thing you left that zipper open!!  Get everything all turned out, then iron the seams.
Now grab that pillow form, stuff it in, zip it up, and you are good to go!
I love it!  Being able to sew your own pillow covers really opens up the possibilities for personalizing and changing up your home decor. It's also probably the easiest way to introduce a new color or pattern to a room, and now that you know how it will be a breeze.  As always, any questions leave me a comment or send an email.
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1 comment:

Taylor & Shauna Spencer said...

That pillow looks amazing! Great tutorial. I have definitely been doing things the hard way.