Once you get to know me, you will find out that I love to change up my decor for the seasons and holidays. This includes my pillow covers. For a long time, I just made envelope pillow covers because they were easy. I did not know you could make an easy zippered pillow cover. I thought it would be too difficult to do. The envelope covers worked pretty well but I did not like how they gaped open in the back when I used my down feather pillow inserts. As a result, we had to make sure the envelope portion was always turned to the back.
To be honest, I am not sure if I would have changed it if not for the
harping encouragement of Mr Wonderful. See, he is way more particular than me, they really bugged him. I would have been okay to leave them turned to the back and pretend they were great! 😉
Truth be told, I was a little intimidated to do a zippered pillow cover but I finally decided to give in and try it. I did some research online and found a couple tutorials on how to do an easy zippered pillow cover. I can say that using zippers are my preferred way to do a pillow cover now. It is super easy! I don’t know what I was so nervous about. Also a bonus to this method is that you use less fabric! Knowing how much fabric costs, I know you all love that as much as I do!
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For this project you will need:
- 1 yd of fabric of your choice – I got my fabric for this pillow at Walmart. You will not need the whole yard for this pillow so you will have a little leftover for another project.
- 18″ (inch) zipper – I have also used a 22″ zipper on this size of pillow but I prefer the 18″ zipper. When I make a 20″ x 20″ pillow, I use a 14″ zipper.
- Seam ripper or thread snippers
- Sewing machine
- Cutting mat, rotary cutter and 24″ ruler – this is optional, you can just use scissors to cut your fabric but this makes cutting fabric so much easier!
- Pinking shears
- Pillow Insert
Cut your fabric
I like to make my pillow covers a little tighter fitting so when cutting my fabric, I cut it the size of my pillow insert. For example, the pillow insert I am using in this tutorial is a 12″ x 26″ Fjadrar pillow insert from Ikea. So I cut 2 panels of fabric 12″ by 26″ (one for the front and one for the back). After they are sewn, the dimensions of the pillow cover will be 11″ x 25″ so there is not a lot of loose fabric. If you like yours a little looser you can just start with your 2 panels being 13″ by 27″.
Sew a seam on the bottom edge
Put your 2 panels right sides together and sew a ½ inch seam. Some people sew a basting seam (a wider stitch that is easier to take out) but I don’t bother with that. I think it is easy enough to seam rip the regular stitch open.
Insert your zipper
Place your closed zipper upside down on your fabric with equal distance to the ends on both sides. Pin the ends of the zipper so it stays put.
Sew your zipper on
Turn your fabric over so it is right side up, and insert your fabric under the presser foot of your sewing machine with the end of the zipper without the slider. You will start at the place where your pin is so after you get into position, put your needle down to hold your fabric in place and remove both pins. I sew with the left side of my sewing foot on the seam. Make sure your zipper is lined up directly with the seam on top of it.
Keeping your presser foot on the seam, continue to sew down until you get about 2 inches from the slider.
At this point, raise your needle and presser foot to unzip the zipper below the point where you stopped sewing. After you get the zipper slide out of the way, position the near side of the zipper back to the seam.
Try to line up your needle so that your stitching line will be as seamless as possible (sometimes mine are not!) Lower your needle and presser foot and continue sewing almost to the end of the zipper. You want to stop a bit past the zipper stop. With your needle down, turn your fabric to sew the ends of the zipper. Place both ends together before you start sewing.
Sew across the ends and back stitch to make the ends stronger.
You want to be able to turn the fabric and have your foot edge be on the seam again so try to judge that on where to stop sewing before turning your fabric again. Your zipper will still be unzipped a little ways underneath.
Continue sewing until you get close to the slider. You will have to raise your needle and presser foot again to close the zipper. Again try to line the needle up to where you left off on your stitch and continue sewing until you get to the end. With your needle down, turn the fabric so you can sew the end, don’t forget to backstitch!
Reveal the zipper
Unzip your zipper to reveal the seam you need to remove.
Turn your fabric over right side up. Take your seam ripper or thread snippers and take out the seam over the zipper. I use the seam ripper if I am using a more sturdy fabric.
If I have a thinner fabric, I don’t want to take the chance of ripping the fabric so I use my thread snippers.
Continue until you get to the end of the zipper, do not go beyond your seam on the end.
Sew the pillow on remaining sides
Leaving the zipper open, place fabric right sides together and line up sides so all the edges are even. Starting with the zipper at the top, sew a ½ inch seam all the way around the pillow. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and the end.
After you are done sewing you want to clip the corners so there is not a lot of extra fabric bunched up in the corners. It makes for a sharper corner when we turn the pillow cover inside out.
Next, using your pinking shears, cut off the raw edge of your fabric on all sides minus the zipper side. This will limit the amount of fraying from the raw edges. Another way to do this would be to serge the edges with a serger or zigzag stitch around the edges with your sewing machine if you don’t have pinking shears. I just find this easier and quicker.
Turn your pillow cover inside out and poke out all your corners with something small and thin. I just use my finger but you could also use a pencil or bamboo skewer. Insert your pillow form into the pillow cover. Make sure to get the corners in the correct placement. Zip your pillow closed and fluff your pillow.
That’s it! Easy right? Now you have a beautiful new pillow for not a lot of money or time. 🙂 And one that will stayed closed in the back. I hope this gives you the courage to try a zippered pillow as it did me. I think you will love them and never make an envelope pillow again!
Hope you have a wonderful day!