Friday, 29 March 2013

how to make a pillow {part 5}

how to make a pillow {part 5}

Here we go - a couple of days late, but blame that on the cuddle cloth.

The zipper. It's the one part of sewing that seems to put the shivers in people. I have to admit I don't like sewing zippers, but they're a necessary evil sometimes, and a zipped pillow opening does look nice.

There's a million different tutorials on inserting zippers into pillows, the ones listed below are ones I've used and work well for me.

Sew Mama Sew (pic below - this is my favourite method for inserting a zipper. It looks so good and it's fancy with that little flappy bit covering the zipper)


House on Hill Road

Design Sponge

Do you want to give it a go with me? What I'm showing today is the most basic way to insert a zipper. It's not the prettiest, but it'll give you the confidence to try something more complicated the next time round.

how to make a pillow

1. First up, cut a piece of fabric for the back of your pillow about 3/4" to 1" larger than your pillow front all the way round. Turn over one edge 1/2" and press.

2. Your zipper needs to be about an inch longer at either end of your pillow top. I used a 20" zipper for my 18" pillow here. Use a zipper that is a better match than mine - I chose black so you could see what was going on easily. If I was doing this properly I'd have chosen a white zipper. I'd not have chosen one that was so chunky either - zipit on etsy is the place to go for every kind of zipper you'll ever need.

3. Lay your closed zipper with the pull side down onto the right side of the bottom edge of your pillow top. Pin all the way along.


4. Sew into place with a zipper foot. I've adjusted my needle to the far left for a tight fit. You want to sew as close to the zipper teeth as possible. (Use a thread that matches - I've used contrasting so you can see the stitches)

5. Pin the folded edge of the pillow backing to the zipper, just as you did with the pillow front. Sew into place again.



6. Top stitch both sides of the zipper on the right side. This helps prevent the edges of the fabric getting caught in the zipper and gives it a neater look.


7. Unzip your zipper to halfway, and pin the pillow top and the backing right sides together all the way round. Change sewing feet to a walking foot and sew a 1/2" seam around the 3 open edges. Make sure you backstitch a good few times at either end of the zipper.


8. Trim down the excess fabric all the way round and the excess zipper length, and clip corners. Turn right side out and press.

9. Insert a pillow form (this is a 20" form in an 18" pillowcase) and zip up.


Easy right? Now go and try one of the more professional looking methods linked above. Your fear of zippers is gone.

You're welcome.

Jane quilted this Christmas donkey pillow top for me (thanks Jane!) and today she is sharing adding a button opening to a pillow on her blog, so please head over and check that out. She has great, clear instructions and lots of pictures.

And there we have it - if you have any questions on any of the previous posts, just leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.

Previous posts are listed below.

I hope you enjoyed the how to make a pillow series and it's given you the confidence to try something new in your pillow making!

part 1 - getting started and essentials
part 2 - basic envelope opening
part 3 - simply lined envelope opening (and also binding a pillow)
part 4 - quilted envelope opening


Anna said...

Love the cushion! I find as a swing teacher that zips are the thing people find the most frightening! I had one lady who had avoided zip for 30 years and was kicking herself once she learnt just how easy they are!

Linda said...

Your instructions - as always - are so clear and precise. I will have to bite the bullet and try to insert a zip into my next cushion. First, make the cushion! Love the Christmas donkey in his spotted wellies! Although it's supposed to be Easter, with all this snow and cold weather around, we could be forgiven for imagining it is Christmas!

Elsa said...

ACK ~ that donkey pillow is too darn cute!
I used to make all my clothing when I was in grade school up to high school and putting in zippers was the hardest thing ~ I'd cry from frustration. I discovered this 2 sided tape a few years ago and use it for all my zipper needs. It's called Wonder Tape and washes out. No more crying for me!

Waverlee said...

Thanks for this series Katy. I made a cushion a few days ago with your tutorial for the envelope back :)

elsy said...

thanks katy....will make myself crack this with your tutorial x

Archie the wonder dog said...

I love that cushion! If I bribe Snoop with some treats will he pass it through your letterbox for me?

Flying Blind... said...

Fabulous x

Post a Comment

I try to reply to comments as often as I can. Sometimes my life gets a bit too busy but please know I really appreciate each and every one!

Blog Archive