Sew a Zipper in a Pillow Cover with 3 Easy Seams


Snowy view from my sewing room window
Snowy view from my sewing room window

Bad days for travel are good days for sewing –which is why my little sister just called to ask for advice on sewing  pillow covers with zippers.

snow_sew2

Good timing, little sis.  I’m  just stitching up these 16 inch knife-edge pillow covers with zippers, so I’ll  take a few photos to share:

First, think about PLACEMENT.  You don’t want the zipper extending into the corners where it will make bulky lumps.   So go shorter.  For each of  these 16 inch pillows, I’m using a 14 inch zipper.

My zipper collection rocks!
My zipper collection rocks!

Then I toss the package instructions , if I ever had them to begin with.  I use a lot of reclaimed zippers which I install in just 3 straight  easy peasy seams.

Zipper seam 1 is mostly a place holder:   Beginning with regular-size stitches, sew a few inches in.  Lock (by stitching back then forward one or two times) then change to long (basting) stitches.  Now sew for the length of the zipper.  Lock again and stitch to the end  of the seam with regular sized  stitches. Tip:  always do the zipper seam before the pillow sides and top.  it’s soo much easier when you can lay it all flat.

Regular sized stitches here--from the corner about an inch and a half in--
Regular sized stitches here–from the corner about an inch and a half in–

 

Basting stitches here-- Set your machine between 4 and 5  so they'll be easy to pull out later.
Basting stitches here–
Set your machine between 4 and 5 so they’ll be easy to pull out later.

 

Next press the seam flat, then open.  Press your zipper, too.  Tip: Finish the raw edges of the seam allowance now, if you like–a good idea if you’ll wash the cover.

Zipper seam 2 is an anchor seam.  First open the zipper and lay one side  face down with teeth next to seam.  Pin and stitch it to the seam allowance only.    Tip:  Relax.  Since the seam won’t be seen on the outside,  you don’t  even need to sew it straight.  Just make sure the zipper teeth are straight against the seam. I use a lot of pins for this and pull them as I go.

Seam two joins zipper to seam allowance only
Seam two joins zipper to seam allowance only

Now that you’re warmed up, zipper seam 3 is the real deal.   Put on the machine zipper foot to let the world know you mean business. snow_zipperfootZip  the zipper, flip your pillow cover over to the  RIGHT SIDE and lay everything flat on a work surface.  Pin zipper on the two long sides,  top and bottom through all layers. Use lots of pins–they help so much.    Then stitch, removing pins as you go.snow_zippins

Remove long basting stitching with a seam ripper and you’re done.snow_done

I proclaim you an official Zipper Master!

One more tip for pillows:  Don’t forget to trim extra fabric out of the inside corners.  It makes a huge difference.  I like to zig-zag the trimmed  edges so they won’t ravel out when I wash my pillow cover..

Now, stay off the roads.  Go sew, and share your photos, please.

 

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