Introduction: How to Sew a Zippered Pillow Cover

About: Hi! I'm a slightly feral mountain hermit that likes to be helpful. I do community management at Instructables & Tinkercad. 🙌 Want to hear me chat about making? Search "CLAMP Podcast" on YouTube or your favorit…

Pillow covers are one of the fastest ways to freshen up a room. I love being able to whip one up in a half hour :D

In this instructable, I'll show you my favorite way to make a zipper pillow cover. Zippered pillow covers are super convenient to switch out, and they're not too tricky to make! Plus, you can learn an easy way to insert a zipper!

Worried a zippered pillow cover may be too advanced? Try out my envelope pillow cover tutorial first - it's all straight lines.

Step 1: What You'll Need:

I prefer to install the zipper on the top or bottom seam of the pillow, so try to get a zipper that's nearly as long. My zipper was four inches shorter than the pillow lengthwise, and that works perfectly.

P.S. If you're looking for an awesome sewing machine, I 100% recommend the Janome HD 1000. It's my BFF.

Step 2: Mark and Cut Your Fabric

If you're working from an existing pillow, measure it from seam to seam both horizontally and vertically. Add one inch to each measurement.

For example, if your pillow is 15x20, you'd cut two pieces of fabric 16x21 inches.

I like to fold my fabric over so I can cut both pieces at once. I draw the shape on the wrong side of the fabric, pin the two pieces together and cut it out with pinking shears.

Step 3: Sew Across the Edge Where You Want Your Zipper

For this part, you need to decide where the zipper will live. I'm installing mine in the top because I like the way invisible zippers look. :)

Make sure that if you're using a patterned fabric, it's facing the right way!

Place the two pieces right sides together and pin. Lay the zipper on top and mark just inside both edges with a vertical pin.

We'll be sewing this using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Start using a standard stitch length. Backstitch at the beginning of the seam a sew to the first vertical pin. Backstitch again and then change the stitch length to the longest basting stitch. Sew to the next vertical pin. Change back to standard stitch length and backstitch again. Sew the to other edge and backstitch one more time. Hooray we're done with that!

Step 4: Placing the Zipper Into the Seam

Now you'll want to press open the seam you just sewed.

Once that's done, place the zipper right side down into the seam, making sure it's centered. Pin into place as shown.

Step 5: Sew the Zipper Ends

I find it's easiest to keep the zipper where it needs to be once this is done. :)

Use the regular presser foot for this - the zipper foot can make it more tricky!

Step 6: Sew in the Zipper

Now you'll want to install the zipper foot on your machine. Roll up the edges of your pillow so it's easier to sew it.

This is how I like to sew the zipper:

  1. Leave the zipper totally shut. Sew down one side of it until you're a couple inches from the zipper pull, backstitching at the start.
  2. Stop sewing with the needle down in the fabric. Raise the presser foot and unzip the zipper past the foot. Lower the presser foot.
  3. Continue sewing until you hit the line you sewed across the end of the zipper and backstitch again.
  4. Close the zipper again.
  5. Backstitch and then sew down the other side until you can't really go any further due to the zipper pull. Backstitch and remove the fabric from the machine.

We're going to rip the seam open and then finish sewing the zipper up. :)

Step 7: Rip Open the Seam to Expose the Zipper

Starting at the end of the zipper where all three edges are sewn, insert your seam ripper and carefully remove the stitches between the two vertical rows of stitching at each end of the zipper.

Be very careful to only catch the basting stitches - you can push the seam ripper too hard and even cut through the zipper. (I've done it before and would not recommend, ha)

Once it's open, check to make sure everything looks good and that the zipper pull moves easily.

You'll be left with lots of strings from this but a lint roller can help remove them easily. :)

Step 8: Finish the Zipper

Unzip it so you can easily sew the last little bit. Start where you stopping sewing and continue to the end.

Do a little backstitching here at the beginning and end - this zipper will have a lot of pressure put on it, so it's a good idea to keep it secure. :)

Step 9: Sew Up the Pillow Cover

Unzip the zipper at least halfway for easy turning.

Keep the cover in the right sides together position and pin all around the edges. (I like to pin the ends of the zipper side up like they'd sit if the zipper wasn't there)

Sew around the edges using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Clip the corners as shown in the second photo so they look nice once the pillow cover is right side out.

Step 10: Turn Right Side Out and Stuff!

I just added old stuffing from a pillow on our old couch until it was filled out. As soon as I put the pillow in the chair the cats climbed in and they haven't really left since. It makes the chair super comfy! :D