How to Sew A Sham Pillow with Zipper Closure


I have such lust in my heart for Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush velveteen fabrics, I just want to rub them on my cheeks all day long. So of course a pillow for my redesigned craft room had to be made. The velveteen lends itself perfectly to a sham with nice stiff edges, so I combined elements of Jacinda’s Sham Style Pillowcase tutorial and the How to Sew a Zipper Pillow tutorial to create a pillow with both a zipper closure AND a sham edge.

It is much easier than you would imagine, and it will allow you to take the zipper off of the very edge of the pillow so you can add decorative trim and other fun goodness without having to use an envelope closure (like we did for the pom pom pillow tutorial). Find out how to sew a Sham Pillow with a Zipper Closure after the jump…

I’m making about ten thousand pillows for my new office, so I’ll be sharing how to use zippers with trim and ruffles and whatnot soon. Is there a kind of pillow you want to know how to make? I’m on a pillow-roll so let me know in the comments. You could also win that skull-tastic fat quarter!

Sham Pillow with Zipper Closure

For this pillow I used Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush (Velveteen) Loves Me Loves Me Not Golden and i’m making more in other patterns from this gorgeous line of velveteens. This would also work with quilting cotton, just the sham edge will be a bit floppier.

First things first, measure your pillow. My pillow was 12″X16″.  Then decide how big you want your sham edge. This pillow has a 1″ wide sham edge all the way around. Multiply that sham edge with by 2 to account for both sides of the pillow. Then add 1″ to the length and width for seam allowances, then you need to add the width of your sham times two. So for me that is 1″ seam allowance, plus 1″ sham on either side = 3″.  That is the measurement for the front of your pillow. So I cut the front of my pillow 15″X19″.

Then for the back of your pillow (where the zipper will go) cut a piece of fabric that is one inch longer in length, so for me 16″X19″:

We are going to create the back of the pillow first. We are going to add a zipper 1.5″ up from the bottom of the pillow above the sham. So add the width of your sham (1″ for me), plus 1.5 inches, plus 1″ for seam allowances. So that’s 3.5″ for me. You want to cut across the width of the pillow backing 3.5″ up from the bottom of the pillow. Now I have two pieces 19″ wide, one that’s 3.5″ tall, and one that is 12.5″.

Another pic:

Now take the strip you just cut off and lay it on top of the bigger piece of pillow backing right sides facing with long edges aligned:

Now we need to add our zipper. Your zipper needs to be 2″ smaller than the width of your ACTUAL pillow (not the width of the fabric you cut – you don’t want the zipper sewn into the sham edge). My actual pillow insert is 16″ wide, so my zipper is 14″ long. Lay the zipper right in the middle with the edge of the zipper aligned with the edges of the fabric:

Use a fabric marker to draw a line from the end of the zipper to the side edge of the fabric 1/2″ down from the top edge.

Finish the fabric edges by serging, sewing with a zig zag stitch, or cutting with pinking shears (as i did).  Sew the two pieces together along that line on both sides:

Now switch your machine to a basting stitch (a straight stitch set to the widest width your machine will allow, usually a 5) and baste in between the two stitch lines you created across the top of the fabric:

Iron that seam open:

Lay your zipper right side down on the seam and pin in place:

Switch your machine back to regular stitching and use your zipper foot to sew each side of the zipper in place:

Turn it over, now it looks like this, your zipper is under that seam:

Use your seam ripper to rip the basting stitch and reveal your zipper:

Remove all the little threads from the basting stitch.

Now your back piece looks like this:

The front and back of your pillow are now the same size. Lay them right sides facing:

Unzip the zipper halfway, then pin in place all the way around:

Sew all the way around 1/2″ from the edge:

Finish the edges by serging, sewing with a zig zag stitch, or cutting with pinking shears. Clip the corners:

Turn right side out. Now it looks like this:

Iron it nice and flat. Try to make sure your edges don’t roll to one side, but if they do, cheat the roll to the back side of the pillow:

Now draw a line all the way around at the measurements you wanted for your sham edge (for me that is 1″) with an air erasable (disappearing ink) fabric marker or chalk.

Using pretty thread (I used Kreinik metallic gold sparkly thread) sew along that line all the way around:

Here is what it looks like from the front of the pillow:

You are done. Just stuff your pillow insert in there:

Here is what it looks like from the back:

And here again from the front:

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25 Comments

lynley

How lovely! I recently made a sham with quilting cotton (and a snap closure). To make the sham edge a bit less floppy, I sandwiched batting in between the front piece of fabric and a scrap piece of fabric before attaching to the back piece 🙂

Reply
Kimberly

Since you are on a pillow roll, how about a roll pillow! They can be use as decoration or you can make it long and use it under your toddler's sheet in place of a siderail. I have been using a couple pillows folded to do this but I see they are selling something similar this now. And what's more Prudent then making it yourself? Love the pillow tuts!

Reply
ppags

Thank you for the tute. I just bought a couch without any throw pillows on it. While I think it is grand, my kids are now demanding pillows (how else will they throw them all around the room to make my life harder?) So, I need to make some to match my house. If you can manage it, I would like to learn how to make a bolster and a tufted pillow to match the tufted couch. Thanks a bunch. Also, I am attempting to make the lounge slippers this week, wish me luck. 🙂

Reply
christine

I hadn't seen Anna Maria Horner's velveteen fabrics until now. Might be time for a trip to the fabric store and time for another pillow! It's not possible to have too many pillows, right?

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Lil Mama Stuart

I know you did a bolster tute recently, but how about a bolster pillow case that is removable? I've been trying to conceptualize how to do it, but I bet you'll have a better idea!

Reply
brittany susan

wow, for some reason this tutorial made zippers/pillow finally "click" – and i thought your last tute did that for me. YAY! new pillows for my new couch, here i come!

Reply
Tessa

I love the pillow tutorials. For something that would seem kind of simple to make, they can be tough to figure out on your own and y'all make them re-simplified. Thanks. I have two pillows sitting on my bed waiting for me to figure out how to make covers for them, and I am having a hard time. They are those memory foam pillows and are shaped funny. Here is a link to a pillow that is similar in shape to what I am talking about:
http://www.pilot-pauls-travel-accessories.com/contour-travel-pillow.html

I think it's the sides that are throwing me off. Would a regular rectangular pillow work or would I have to make sides for a better fit?

Reply
Anu

i'd love if you did a tutorial on sewing covers for boxed cushions – i kind of winged it this past weekend, and it turned out okay, but would love the prudent mama expertise. (btw, used your zipper method on the cushion – friggin' fabulous!)

Reply
Mitzi Green

LOVE that fabric. does the tute offer anything to conquer my fear of invisible zippers? they haunt my dreams. also, i recently made the decision to redecorate our 1957 suburban split-level home in (what else) mid-century modern, vintage 50s scandinavian (euro-trash) design. that in mind, if you could channel the ugliest, tackiest, great-auntiest pillow from your childhood memories and do a tute on it, i'd be much obliged. 🙂

Reply
Melissa Lewis

This is a great tutorial! Thank you for posting it. And what a beautiful pillow. I love the AMH Velveteen fabrics, so boho and luxurious.

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Frederique Toft

Great tutorial, this is the one I chose from many onlines due to its clarity and quality pictures. Kudos!

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