Add a Zipper to Your Pillow

on February 3 | in Sewing Essentials, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 150 Comments

Today Autum from our board and Creative Little Daisy shows you how to get past any fear you may have about zippers. Enjoy her easy tutorial today and add a zipper to your next pillow! Also, if you happen to fall in love with the Dwell Studio-inspired rosette pillow in Autum’s pictures today, head over to Creative Little Daisy for her how-to!

From Autum: Are you enjoying pillow month? I sure am. It has provided just the kick I needed to get some new pillows made for my couch.

Each of these closes with a zipper in the back.

Hidden under a flap. So well hidden that the pillow is actually reversible. The pillow on the left is actually the reverse of the yellow pillow above.

Let’s make one, shall we?

The great thing about pillows, is you can make one with very little fabric. Two fat quarters will make the one I’m showing today.

You will also need a zipper at least as long as the width of your pillow insert, fusible tape (I use 1/4″ steam a seam), iron, scissors or rotary cutter, thread and a sewing machine with zipper foot.

If you’ve been following along with the pillow tutorials, you already know the general steps to make a pillow; I’m just going to show you how to construct the back.

There are different ideas about how large to cut the front and back pieces for a pillow, I like to cut mine the same size as the insert I will be using. This gives a nice tight fit. If you like a looser fit, add 1/2 inch to the dimensions of your insert.

My insert is 18″ square. Using a fat quarter I cut an 18″ square (for the pillow front).

This left me with a strip measuring 4″ x 18″. This will become the flap that hides the zipper.

Cut the pillow back the same width as your insert and one inch longer than the height.

For my 18″ pillow, I cut a rectangle measuring 18″ x 19″, then I cut that in half giving me two pieces measuring 18″ x 9.5″.

Iron the flap fabric in half (the long way) wrong sides together and press.

Following the manufacturers instructions, iron fusible tape to the zipper. (on either side of the teeth)

Allow to cool and the paper backing from one side of the zipper.

Aligning the exposed tape to the raw edge of the flap, iron over the back of the zipper to fuse the zipper to the flap. This will hold the zipper securely for stitching. I find the most difficult thing about inserting zippers, is trying to keep things lined up. This just gives you a little insurance. Now the zipper and flap are one unit.

Pin the zipper/flap unit to one back piece. If your back fabric has a right or wrong side, the right side should be touching the zipper flap.

With a zipper foot on your machine, stitch very close to the zipper teeth. The teeth will be down, but you will be able to line the edge of the zipper foot up with the ridge from the zipper teeth.

Press the seam so that the flap covers the zipper. Don’t worry about that zipper being too long, we’ll cut it off later.

Top stitch along the seam on the back piece.

Remove the paper from the other side of the zipper tape and fuse to the remaining back section. If your fabric has a right/wrong side, iron so that the right side of the fabric is fused to the zipper tape. Stitch close to the zipper teeth.

Press. See peeking below that flap, your zipper!

Clip off the excess zipper.

Your back is complete!

Pin the back and front together, right sides together. Be sure to open up that zipper a little and sew along all four sides.

Turn right side out through the zipper opening. Press and stuff that insert in.

Marvel at how easy that was and wonder why you were afraid of zippers.

To make a ruffled flap, just cut the flap fabric twice as long and ruffle it before fusing to the zipper then follow the steps above.

Go forth and make pillows!


Comment today for your chance to win one of these great prizes below, courtesy of Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

1 fat quarter pack of Betty Dear, 5 Kona Cotton color cards, 1 fat quarter pack of Night & Day in the Summer Colorstory, 10 sets of 5 Kona charm packs

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150 Responses to Add a Zipper to Your Pillow

  1. Jane says:

    perfect timing, I have just bought fabric to make cushions for my new house!!

  2. Christine Sutherland says:

    I would LOVE a Kona colour card. And I LOVE your blog!

  3. Great idea to hide the zipper under a flap or ruffle!

  4. Jennifer Lewis says:

    Okay. This is very interesting! I’m learning all kinds of things today. I love the hidden flap idea!

  5. Marjorie says:

    I just love the colors in the pillow. Great tutorial!

  6. jm says:

    Fantastic tutorial!

  7. Karin says:

    fabulous way to insert the zipper! Going to try it right away! Thanks so much :)

  8. Emily says:

    I’ve been looking for a tutorial on this! Thanks. :)

  9. Veronica Sarmiento says:

    Great tutorial, beatiful pillows!

  10. { L O V E } the pillow, the rosettes, just beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Ali Martinez says:

    thanks for this tutorial. I love the ruffles

  12. asli says:

    Great tutorial!

  13. Joan says:

    Ingenious….and the ruffle is brilliant!

  14. Lorraine says:

    Wonderful instructions! I’m not afraid of zippers anymore!

  15. Chris says:

    Just used this tutorial to finish up a pillow! Thank you so very much.

  16. Chatty Cathy says:

    Loved the tutorial…but love the black pillow with white flowers more! I want to know how to make those….anyone know?

  17. Veronica says:

    What an easy-to-understand tutorial! I love this technique. I’ll have to try it out on my next pillow.

  18. I’ve made pillows with a ruffle but, never thought about using it to cover a zipper. Great idea

  19. Jacque says:

    This is great – the instructions and photos made it so clear and easy to understand! I’m ready now…I’ll be doing this today!

  20. not4angels says:

    Wow. I’ll try that as soon as possible. For we’ve just got a new sofa and it has to be crowded by pillows :o)

  21. Marcia W. says:

    Wonderful tutorial that goes along with some awesome pillow examples.

  22. Penny says:

    Looks like something I can do. I’m going to give it a try

  23. Jessica says:

    wow, that is a great tutorial!!! just what I need to get going! The ruffle flap is so cute!!!

  24. Ariane says:

    I love this tutorial. It’s so great!! I’ve always been afraid of putting a zipper on a pillow. This looks very easy. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.

  25. Colette says:

    Look fantastic! Have you tried this zipper back on a pillow with binding?

  26. Nettie says:

    So simple and sensible. Thank you! I used it today on my ‘Moonlight’ pillow, blogged here: http://nettiesknits.blogspot.com/2011/02/moonlight.html

  27. Kerri Kowal says:

    I’m going to try this one of these days!

  28. Celeste says:

    Love that ruffle!

  29. Marcia W. says:

    Very good tutorial – looks like a good technique to use

  30. Christine M says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. Perhaps I will trying adding a zip next time instead of my normal envelope style cushion.

  31. Kate says:

    Love how many different ways there are to put a zipper in a pillow! Using the fusible tape is a great tip for this way and I imagine for other ways too – will have to try that. Thanks for the tute!

  32. alisha says:

    This is a great technique. Thanks for sharing. (And I love the yellow and gray fabrics together.)

  33. Erin d. says:

    A great tutorial! Ive never used tape before, that’s great!

  34. jm says:

    Great stuff from Autum, as usual!

  35. donna g says:

    Why didn’t I think of that! Zippers make it so easy to keep things washed.

  36. Isn’t that a clever way to use fusible tape!

  37. lou says:

    i did it! thanks for this – so brilliant to use a bit of interfacing to keep the zip in place. i’ll be using that trick again! http://www.flickr.com/photos/loujay/5419293114/

  38. Meg says:

    Nifty trick, thank you!

    Man, I love the internet!

  39. Heidi Anderson says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. It doesnt seem nearly as scary now.

  40. sewkatiedid says:

    Love new ways to think about sewing zippers. This adds a nice detail.

  41. Anna says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this – I love the ruffle and can’t wait to try it out!

  42. Jill B says:

    Great zipper tips! I love the contrasting fabric flap.

  43. Anna says:

    I’m so inspired! Thanks for a great tutorial. Love, love, love the pillow combination.

  44. Shirley Clark says:

    I wish they’d had fusible tape back when I used to put so many zippers in dresses. Oops! Telling my age!

  45. Beth T says:

    As always, your tutorials are top notch. Thank you so much for tackling a process that scares me!

  46. Nichole says:

    I’ve sewn one zipper in a small bag, but this tutorial makes me feel like I could make a pillow too.

  47. Jessica says:

    I’ve avoided Zippers for awhile, maybe I’ll need to take another look!

  48. jill d says:

    Love the yellow and gray combination. what is the grey?

  49. Marissa says:

    Great tutorial! I also love the ruffle flap! Going to have to try that~

  50. Andi says:

    I need to try this! Thanks for making zippers sound easy!

  51. kathyh says:

    I liked the ruffled flap.

  52. Jen B says:

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  53. Joy says:

    I really love the ruffled flap idea…thanks for the tutorial!

  54. tes says:

    Zippers are a bit intimidating for a beginner like me. You have given me hope:) Thanks

  55. These pillows are so cute. Great tutorial too. The pictures really help a sewing newbie like me.

  56. Jen Eskridge says:

    What a great tip to hide the zipper! Love it.

  57. charlotte says:

    This is *such* perfect timing! I was looking up how to put a zipper in a pillow earlier today. Found a bunch on how to put one in the bottom, but I wasn’t sure about doing this with piping. I’m obiviously new to making pillows! lol Anyway, a zip in the back solves my problem!
    My other problem is that none of my regular etsy shops have kona colour cards in stock & I am desperate for one! I’ll keep my fingers crossed :)

  58. Ramona says:

    I’ve never put a zipper in my pillows but I will now. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  59. Shannon H says:

    Wow!! You make it look so easy and I am ready to try one :) Thank you!!

  60. Kristin H says:

    I love the contrast between the black fabric and the yellow zipper covering, it looks great!

  61. Kay says:

    Thank so much for this. I have a couple of cushions waiting to be zippered up!

  62. Mary Meats says:

    Love the tutorial on doing a zipper. Love the ruffled tab over the zipper. Thanks for great information.
    Mary

  63. Melissa says:

    You make it look so easy

  64. Karen says:

    So easy! Thanks!

  65. Mikki says:

    Thank you for the terrific tute. You make it look so easy!

  66. Anita says:

    I love pillows with zippers, I think they are so much more useful.

  67. Lisa ONeill says:

    Love the tutorial for the pillow backing – thanks so much! I made a slight change when attaching the second piece of the backing – I didn’t want a raw edge at the zipper teeth so I ironed the right side of the second piece of fabric to the fusible tape and then flipped into position and stitched – worked perfectly! I plan on posting tomorrow at my blog and will reference back to you!

  68. Sheetal says:

    those ruffles are so cute! thanks for the tutorial…I like the idea of using fusible tape.

  69. Kathleen P says:

    Helpful, thanks!

  70. Mandy K Court says:

    So clever! I love learning something new!

  71. Jenny says:

    Wow! That looks really easy, and very cute!

  72. Jennifer says:

    Great tutorial!

  73. Elaina T. says:

    I love the ruffled flap. Will be trying that one. TFS!

  74. Brenda says:

    Wow! Using Steam-a-Seam fusible tape is a great idea. Never thought of that. And also, never thought of the fact that you can make an 18″ pillow from 2 fat quarters.

    Thanks to you, I have 2 new pieces of information!! Thank you!

  75. Seanna Lea says:

    I love the ruffle flap. I keep seeing ruffles everywhere, but I haven’t made one in forever!

  76. Rebecca says:

    LOVE that it’s hidden! thanks for the instructions!

  77. Kelly says:

    Great tutorial & giveaway

  78. kristen says:

    Thanks! I haven’t sewn with a zipper yet but this certainly makes it less intimidating!

  79. Tierney Barden says:

    What a great zipper tutorial! Thank you for sharing your technique!

  80. Sarah says:

    Great tutorial. I like that this uses just a little bit less fabric than making an envelope back, as well – makes it a little easier to make the pillows out of some coordinating fat quarters. Not having to think it all through myself is lovely!!

  81. Meg says:

    Love the flap idea!

  82. Rebecca says:

    nice tut.

  83. Sara says:

    I love that you hid it in plain sight and even made it part of the design. Very good walk through.

  84. Ellen says:

    What a great idea and technique. Thanks for the demo!

  85. Ms. Fine says:

    It ca’nt be that easy!

  86. Shelly says:

    Great tutorial. Totally love the ruffled pillow!

  87. Sue says:

    This is great and I see many more uses than pillows. I love the ruffle zipper flap the best.

  88. Amy S says:

    I’m always intimidated by zippers but this looks like a great idea!

  89. Sharon T. says:

    Great tutorial! Thanks so much.

  90. Tiffany says:

    Helpful. Thanks.

  91. Lynn says:

    Wow! That is really easy. Might just need to add “make a pillow” to my to-do list for this weekend.

  92. One of my goals this year is to learn how to sew in a zipper. This look like a great way to learn. :)

  93. monica says:

    Thanks for the info! I like the idea of zippers better than the envelopes I’ve been making.

  94. Rebecca says:

    very helpful tutorial!

  95. Paulette says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial, you make it look so easy. Will be trying it for sure.

  96. brenda says:

    That makes me think that I could put a zipper in my next pillow. Thanks.

  97. Bethany says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen zippered pillows done like that before. Just might have to give it a try!

  98. Kimberly says:

    Thank you! I’ll bookmark this one.

  99. Barb says:

    Great tutorial! I’ll be back to follow this one next time I make a pillow.

  100. Tina says:

    absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing :)

  101. Krystina says:

    This actually looks easier than a button hole, which sadly still scares me!

  102. Maya says:

    I love that the zipper is hidden so well. Great instructions!

  103. WandaFish says:

    Well it sounds easy! Must try it.

  104. Kelly Sas says:

    Can’t wait to give this method a try! Thanks for a great tutorial.

  105. Jocelyn says:

    I love this! Such an easy any pretty solution!

  106. Charlotte says:

    Love the iron on tape idea! That eliminated one of my major zipper issues! Thanx

  107. Carmen says:

    Thank you! I never knew what to use that fusible tape for! You make this look so easy!

  108. Colleen says:

    Thanks for the tutorial on putting in a zipper! Helps those of use who are zippper challenged! lol

  109. Jen says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial!

  110. Denean says:

    What a lovely look for the pillow. Great tutorial. Thanks!

  111. Chrissy B says:

    Love this! I’m terrified of zippers (they tend to dislike me very much, too) but I think I’ll give this a try this weekend. Thanks!!!

  112. Cindy says:

    I love the idea of using fat quarters for pillows. I had not thought about that. I am definitely going to use up some left over fat quarters and try the unique covered zipper pillow project.

  113. Tiffany says:

    You make them look so nice! I will be coming back to try this on my own. THANKS!

  114. Carla says:

    This is genius!! Thanks so much for sharing…….I’ll definitely be using this technique! I’d love to win one of these prizes. Thanks for the chance!

  115. Chris says:

    OMG you actually make this look easy! So pretty. The yellow fabric against the dark pillow fabric makes the tutorial even clearer. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I am buying zippers today so wish me luck LOL.

  116. Amy says:

    It’s a great idea to hide the zipper under a little flap!

  117. Marie says:

    I’m inspired to make pillows!! Thanks for all the great directions – I’ve always been intimidated by flaps and zippers, but with this tutorial, I’m going to tackle it!

  118. Alison says:

    Looks so easy. I’ll totally be adding hidden zippers to my pillows now!

  119. Hilary says:

    Adorable! Love the yellow fabric.

  120. Lori says:

    Oh wow, I’m the the “afraid of zippers” category for sure. Great tutorial!

  121. Sarah McKinney says:

    Thanks so much for the zipper tutorial. I love the one with the ruffle idea. I know several methods of installing pillow zippers but this is one of the neatest and easy ways. It is one that even new sewers copuld easily do with success. Sarah

  122. Law says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial! I’m not a fan of putting in zippers, and have always put them into cushions along a side seam. This is a really inventive and attractive-looking way to do it. Love the ruffle idea!

  123. linda says:

    Great series for this month…we can always use some extra throw pillows in the house.

  124. Kathleen says:

    Makes it look so easy peasy! Look forward to trying it out!

  125. Em says:

    I LOVE the ruffle flap. I would have thought it was simply a design element, rather than hiding a zipper. How clever!

  126. Sara says:

    love the ruffle flap! i’ll have to try this. thanks for the tutorial!

  127. Stephanie says:

    Excellent! Thanks for making this look so easy. Lots of clear pictures too! Can’t wait to go forth and make pillows.

  128. Tong says:

    great tutorial!! will definitely give this a try! i absolutely love the look of the flap hiding the zipper!

  129. Papgena says:

    Wonderful tutorial!!! Thank you!!

  130. TakiJ says:

    Love this idea. I think that once I finish up some other projects it will be pillows.

  131. Wendy D. P. says:

    Great tutorial! Thank you!

  132. patricia says:

    This does look stress free. I will have to give it a try. BTW, the pillow is super!

  133. Louise says:

    Beautiful and so neat and tidy!

  134. Becky T says:

    GREAT tutorial thank you

  135. Kate F. says:

    Love how the flap over the zipper makes the pillows reversible! Two pillows in one.

  136. Linda Murphy says:

    Great instructions! I was taught to do this in a class, but forgot how to do it. I’ll try it again!

  137. Jenny says:

    loving this technique. bookmarking this post for future!

  138. Becky m says:

    Oh, very cool! I’m definitely bookmarking this!

  139. Cassandra says:

    Yay for the zipper tutorial!! Thank you!

  140. Sarah McGrath says:

    Oh that is a great tutorial, I’ve always been so afraid of zips, I’ll try one now!

  141. Jan says:

    Great tutorial. I have never used steam-a-seam type product for basting a zipper and really must! I have in the past just gone with pins or tacking thread and it’s not ideal.

  142. Kristy says:

    Zippers scare me! Thank you for the tutorial to help ease the anxiety :0)

  143. Aniza says:

    thanks for the tutorial. I’ve only tried sewing up a zipper on the side of the pillow cover. Needs practice so that it will have a professional finish!

  144. bruinbr says:

    This is just the push I need to try a zipper closure instead of an envelope! :P Thanks!

  145. Desirée says:

    thanks for the tutoral, hope i understand it all, while i am doing it!

  146. Vanessa says:

    what a great tutorial! I have to try this, it doesn’t look difficult at all!

  147. Crystal says:

    Great tutorial! I love the ruffled one. Now, if only I had more time in my days – sigh!

  148. Violeta Petrova says:

    I was planning to make some pillows so this post came just in time for me. Thanks a lot

  149. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sewmamasew, Laura Reader. Laura Reader said: Add a Zipper to Your Pillow: Today Autum from Creative Little Daisy (& our board!) shows you how to get past any… http://bit.ly/ijTOU1 […]

  150. j-j says:

    Yes, I admit it, I am scared of zips and since I hate having a zip digging into me (and I always seem to end up sitting on it or have the pull bit jabbing me)I have managed to avoid trying them. Thanks for this tutorial Autum, now I have no excuse, zipper foot here I come.

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