How to Sew a Zipper Pillow

STOP! Do not turn away. You are going to conquer your fear of zippers right now.

I’m going to show you how to sew a pillow with a zipper closure and you are going to like it. It is VERY easy, a complete beginner project, and the results are polished goodness. Look at that pic above, you can barely see the zipper even though it’s right up in your face.

You can use vintage fabrics like these, new fabrics, old sheets, a sweater, tea towels, a dirty t-shirt, something fabulous from Fabricworm, anything your heart desires – but when we are done you will be sewing zippers like a pro.

Learn How to Sew a Zipper Pillow after the jump…

Tell us the truth: do you fear the zipper? And do you fear it a little less after reading this tutorial? This week’s favorite comment walks away with a fancy yard of pom pom trim!

How to Sew a Zipper Pillow

First, check the size of your pillow. Mine are 20″X20″. You need to cut two squares (or rectangles, depending on the shape of your pillow) of fabric one inch bigger in length and in width, so I cut mine 21″X21″. You’ll need a zipper that is 2″ shorter then the final length of the bottom of your pillow, so in my case 18″.

Finish the bottom edge of each piece of fabric by serging, sewing with a zig zag stitch, or cutting with pinking shears. Pay attention to the direction of your pattern to determine which side is the bottom (for example, this fabric has birds that need to be right side up).

If you only have a longer zipper like I did, you can shorten it. I needed an 18″ zipper so I cut this 22″ zipper down to 18 1/4″:

Then I sewed back and forth over the cut end to reinforce 1/4″ from the edge:

Now lay your two fabric pieces right sides facing and place your zipper in the middle of the bottom piece. Mark the edges.  For my pillow this was 1.5″ from the edge of each side.

Draw a line from there to the edge the pillow 1/2″ up from the bottom:

Sew in place on either side from your mark to the edge:

Now set your machine to basting stitch (this is just a normal straight stitch set to the widest width your machine will allow, usually a 5) and baste straight across between your two previous stitch lines:

Open up the fabric and iron the seam open:

Now it looks like this:

Take your zipper and lay it in place face down on top of the seam you just sewed:

Pin it on:

Switch to your zipper foot and stitch the zipper in place on each side (remember to set your machine back to a normal stitch width):

Now your zipper is attached:

Open your fabric and flip it over to the right side:

The zipper is under there:

So take out your seam ripper and rip the basting stitch that we made earlier to reveal your zipper:

That was easy right?  Now unzip it about halfway to make it easier to turn right side out later:

Fold your pillow into place, right sides facing with the zipper centered on top and pin the sides together along the three unfinished edges:

Sew in place with 1/2″ seam allowance:

Clip the corners and finish the edges by sewing, serging, or cutting with pinking shears:

Turn right side out and stuff!

Look at how pro your zipper looks… that wasn’t too bad, right?

Make another if you like (usually pillows come in twos, don’t they):

Thank your little helper.

Easy peasy! Go forth and sew zippers!

by

85 Comments

Mama Bear

Jocelyn/Melinda B – my trick is to use zippers that are at least an inch longer than you need. Then you can keep the zipper pull out of the way at all times!

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Jamie

I just discovered your blog and I love it. What beautiful pillows. I have yet to sew a zipper on anything. Looks easy enough. Maybe I should give it a try.

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Roxy Divine

Confessional: I design and make handbags and I have some really cute designs that I have thrown into the back of the closet because they have zippers–I feared zippers –UNTIL NOW!

P.s my dad is an upholsterer & he uses the old school method and I could never get it- I just made him make my cushions instead!

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Jodie Cope, Licensed Acupuncturist and Health Coach

Oh Thank you so much! I have many pillow covers that have been higgledy piggledy put together, buttons, velcro (eek) lazy folded under! I am sooooooooooo excited to really do it right. I have a bag full of zippers that have been taunting me for, gulp, years! Not any more! I will do it this weekend!!
Thank you again :)

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Stephanie

THANK YOU! I have beautiful fabric and zippers, waiting to be used but I had to figure it out and well, it's been 6 weeks with no progress. Can't wait to try this!

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Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts

Wow! I love this tutorial. First of all, it's my first visit to your website- don't know where I've been because Wow! It's great!
Secondly, I was scared of zippers for sure but this seems super easy. Thanks so much for the awesome tutorial!

And lastly, I've just started my own blog and yours is such an inspiration. I hope mine will become as great as yours one day!

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Kate

These pillows look like they are very doable, the way you break down the steps is very clear. I have a little problem though- how do I work this dang sewing machine?????

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- Jack -

Woah, took me a minute to understand (placing the fabrics on top of each other then basting), but now I get it. Thanks! This'll really help

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Friendly Flamingo

I made a knitting tote for my mum about 5 years ago but totally ruined it with a dodgy zip on the accessories pouch. She says it gives it character and that it's her favourite bit, even if she has to argue with it whenever she tried to get at her stitch markers (Mums are great!).

I haven't done a zip since, but after this tutorial there will be no stopping me – thank you! :0)

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T. L. Lawrence

I've tried to make zipper pillows before and failed miserably. This looks like is might actually work! now I just have to get my mending pile down to a place where I can tackle a new project. Thanks!

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Kate

Was linked to here and thank you thank you thank you!! I have been so afraid to do this but your tutorial makes it look very easy. I'll be using this to make some pillows this summer!

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Colleen

Awesome tutorial! I’m totally trying this today. Question – how necessary is it to finish the inside edges?

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LadyZen

Nice. It’s so easy, it’s so easy, it’s so easy… thank you for this. I love showing people how to do stuff. I’m sure there are many sewers out there (beginners and experts alike) that will appreciate this. Thanks for taking the time to offer this! This has inspired me to go forth and sew new throw pillows!!

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Erica

You make sewing seem less daunting to me…even when I get in there and make a million mistakes. My seam ripper is now my best friend. HA! Thanks for the pattern! I plan to make it tonight, so that means it will be finished in a few days. :-)

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Mary

Thank you so much for this. I just recently started sewing as a way to supplement my income. I have made 5 very large floor pillows with zipper closures for kids rooms. They have been a huge hit. To be honest, the first 2 did not go so well because i used youtube, and saw somebody using blue painters tape instead of pinning their zipper. First time I thought it was me, second time I knew it was the tip.

I have shared this blog and page with several of my friends and intend to eventually start blogging again. Will be sharing!

Thank you!

Mary of The Loominati
http://www.Facebook.com/TheLoominati

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Kim

I have started to make cushions and tried to do my first one on a web example and looked at other different ways on you tube. I was not happy with my first attempt. I searched again and found your site. Absolutely Brilliant..Thank you so much. Not only does it look so professional for my 2nd one, but I thoroughly enjoyed doing it, unlike my 1st one. Your instructions were easy to follow and the final results were great. Can run them up in no time now. Once again thank you for sharing your instructions in cushion making.

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» ISpy….a huge floor pillow What the Bobbin?

[…] So now, another year later, I’m taking that quilt top I wasn’t loving and transforming it. I sliced and diced it, made it into two 26″x26″ quilts. Added in my very first zipper! I used this zipper tutorial by the lovely ladies @ Pretty Prudent. […]

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Beginner

I just wanted to say a big thank you for this tutorial. We were taught zippers in my sewing class last week and my zipper looked terrible. I thought there must be a better way. I found this tutorial on Pinterest and decided to give it a try – my zips look so much better! This tutorial is so well explained and made cushions a breeze! thanks a million!

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midwestmom

Thank you for your tutorial. It was easy to follow. I made two pillows yesterday and plan to make more today.

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