It was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes, as if the clouds parted and the sun shined down upon me . . . that’s how I felt when I finally mastered how to sew a zipper enclosure for throw pillows.
In the past I’ve chosen the envelope pillow enclosure for its ease and because truth be told perfect zippers intimidated me, but now that I’ve learned how to do it, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back! Over the weekend I stitched up ten pillow covers and all of them with zippers, each one faster than the next. I figured out how to do it by studying pillow covers I’ve purchased from retailers, and in my excitement, I just had to share.
I use a zipper that is slightly smaller than my pillow cover. For example, I use a 18” zipper for a 20” pillow insert and a 22” zipper for a 24” pillow insert, etc. and I always sew my covers 1 inch smaller than the insert (the seams for a 20” pillow insert are actually 19” for the pillow cover) so a zipper that is two inches smaller than the size of the insert works best.
Here’s the easy peasy technique! Cut your two sides of fabric and pin the fabrics inside out like you would if you were sewing an envelope cover, with the right side of the fabrics facing each other. Pin the zipper to the edge of the fabric with the front of the zipper facing down allowing for ¾” inseam.
Install your zipper foot if you have one and keep the fabric from the other side pulled back a few inches as you sew the zipper to the first piece of fabric. Stitch the upside down zipper to the edge of the first piece as it’s facing right side up and make sure you’re sewing on the right not left side of the zipper’s teeth, as shown.
Flip the inside out pillow cover over and flatten/smooth the fabric. Repeat the same step, this time attaching the upside down zipper to the second piece of fabric, sewing again along the right side of the zipper’s teeth.
Tip: once you get close to the head of the zipper, pause your machine and slide the zipper head down with your fingers so it’s below where you’ve already attached the zipper to the fabric – it’s easier to sew that end when the zipper head is out of the way.
Switch back to a standard foot and finish sewing together the remaining three sides of the inside out pillow cover. (Although later I got lazy and just used my zipper foot for the three remaining sides . . . )
On the zipper side of the cover, position the foot to meet the seam where you’ve previously attached the zipper and sew the cover to meet up to that point.
You’re done! Pull the zipper back and flip the fabric right side out then insert a pillow.
Hey look at that, a zipper enclosure !
You can press the fabric so that it hides the zipper a bit more, but when it’s facing down you can’t see it. I used a standard zipper in this example since I buy them in bulk but for less visibility use the same steps with an invisible zipper so that it really is that – invisible!
The bonus with using a zipper enclosure: you have two sides of fabric to display.
That fabric is one of my designs printed on silk, I’ll have more details on that pattern and several others tomorrow . . .