101brett baraDIYdiy projectssewing 101

sewing 101: zippered throw pillows

by Grace Bonney

Next up in our learn-to-sew series: throw pillows!

Throw pillows are another fantastic way to incorporate cute textiles and DIY flair into your home without a great investment of time or money. If you’ve ever gone into a fabric store and wanted to buy everything because it’s just all so gorgeous, then pillows are a great way to put those fabrics to work in your decor. Bold or loud prints that would be too much used in large scale (like in curtains) can be just right for a little pillow pop on a sofa or bed.

I’m going to show you how to make a zippered pillow cover, which is easier than it sounds, I promise. It looks super-professional AND has the added bonus of being easily changeable—I love the idea of making tons of different pillow covers and just swapping them out whenever you want a little change in a room.

The best part? You can make the pillow shown here in less than an hour! –Brett Bara

CLICK HERE for the full zippered throw pillow how-to after the jump!

A Word on Zippers

Ok, I know you’re not going to believe me when I say this, but installing a zipper is REALLY EASY. (There are many ways to install a zipper —some more refined than others—the method I’m sharing here is basic and very simple!)
BUT, if installing a zipper feels like it’s just too much, don’t give up. I’ll give alternate instructions at the end for how to make a pillow without a zipper. Everybody happy now? Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

½ yard fabric (if your pillow is larger than 16”, you’ll need more fabric)

1 pillow form (buy this at a craft store or upholstery shop)

1 all-purpose zipper about 4” shorter than the edge of your pillow

Thread to match your fabric

Seam ripper

Sharp scissors

Straight pins

Tape Measure

Sewing machine

Zipper foot attachment for your sewing machine

Selecting and Preparing Fabric

Almost any type of fabric can be used for a throw pillow, but for beginners I recommend starting with medium-weight fabrics that are smooth in texture, like cottons or cotton-linen blends.

I’m using a Japanese print from the fantastic Etsuko Furuya for Echino line.

If your fabric is machine-washable, wash and dry it before sewing. This will pre-shrink the fabric, which is necessary to prevent the seams from puckering during future washings.

Finally, thoroughly iron the fabric before beginning.


Cut two pieces of fabric that are the size of your pillow form plus 1” in length and 1” in width. So, if your pillow form is 12×16”, you’ll need two pieces of fabric that are 13×17”. This allows for ½” seam allowance on all seams.

Installing the Zipper

Place both pieces of fabric together with the right sides of the fabric facing each other and all corners aligned. (Be sure to situate both pieces so that the print pattern is facing in the same direction.)

Center the zipper along what will be the bottom edge of the pillow, since you’ll want the zipper to be on the bottom edge of the finished pillow. (Here, my fabric is flipped with the bottom edge facing up, just to make it easier to work with).
Place a pin near each end of the zipper, just INSIDE the metal stops at each end.

With a ½” seam allowance, sew the two segments on the outside of each pin. (This should be a short space of just a couple inches between the pins and the corners of the fabric.) Reinforce these seams by back-stitching at the beginning and end of each seam.

Next, change the stitch length on your machine to the longest length, which will allow you to baste the next seam. (Basting is sewing a long stitch which will later be removed; the long, loose quality of a basted stitch makes them easier to remove than regular stitches) With the stitch length set to long, simply sew the space in between the two short seams you just made. (Do not back-stitch to reinforce basted seams.)

Iron this seam open.

With the wrong side of the fabric facing up, place the zipper right-side down, aligning the zipper teeth directly over the seam. Pin it in place.

Change your machine’s presser foot to the zipper foot. Consult your manual for help with this if necessary; usually the feet snap off and on rather easily.

A zipper foot (shown here on the right) can be different for every sewing machine model, but it often looks like half of a standard presser foot (shown on the left). It allows you to sew right along the edge of the zipper teeth neatly and easily.
The zipper foot has a little sliding part that changes it to a right or left position, so just slide it accordingly depending on whether you are sewing the right or left side of the zipper. (That means you have to pop off the zipper foot after sewing the right-side seam, slide the zipper foot thingie over to the left position, then pop the foot back on the machine. All this only takes a second once you get the hang of it!)

Note: Be sure your stitch length is back to normal length for the remainder of the sewing.
Starting at the bottom of the zipper on the right side, with the zipper foot in the right-side position, sew down the side of the zipper. When you get near the end, stop the machine. Leave the needle in the work, but raise the foot, and gently move the zipper pull back behind the needle. Then lower the foot again and sew to the end of the zipper. Backstitch at the end of this seam.

Next, change the zipper foot to the left position, and repeat this process on the left.

And your zipper is installed! (That wasn’t so bad, right?) The seam is still basted closed, so from the right side, use the seam ripper to gently remove the basted stitches. (They’ll pop out really easily; just pick out any remaining thread pieces that are left dangling.)

Change back to the standard presser foot. Fold the two pillow halves so that they are aligned with right sides facing each other and all corners and edges meeting. Pin in place. Sew around all three sides with a ½” seam allowance. (The fourth side, of course, is the side with the zipper installed.)

Here’s how to sew around the corners: when you reach each corner, leave the needle in the fabric and raise the presser foot, then pivot the fabric 90 degrees, lower the presser foot again, and continue sewing.

Clip the fabric at the corners. (Removing the excess fabric here helps give you a nice, sharp corner once you turn the pillow inside out.)

Turn the pillow cover inside out, ironing the seams flat.

Insert the pillow form, and you’re done!


If you’d rather skip the zip, just use your sewing machine to sew the two pieces of fabric together around three edges, plus about 2” on each side of the fourth edge. Clip the corners and turn right-side out, iron the seam flat, then insert the pillow form. Using a needle and thread, hand-sew the opening closed. Of course, this pillow cover won’t be removable, but it will still be lovely!

Check back next Wednesday, when I’ll show you how to make a slip cover for a cube ottoman!

Suggested For You


  • This is a fantastic post – really clear, great pics and fab instructions. Thanks for sharing, and I’ve passed it on to people I know who would also like it.

  • Thank you for the instructions. A great project for this weekend. Any instructions on how to make a custom slipcover for my leather couch? Thanks!

  • Neat! Looks easy! I can’t wait to try to make my very own pillow cover! I have some vintage fabric that I have been waiting to use!

  • I love to sew (simple things :) but I have always been too afraid to try zippers! I have some beautiful fabric at home just waiting to be a zippered pillow cover!!! Thanks for the wonderfully easy to follow instructions!

  • Wow, this post makes it looks so easy! Maybe I’ll get up enough guts to try sewing a zipper now.

  • Thanks for sharing. Zippered pillows are the best because then they are easy to clean too. :) You could also use buttons for them too though I suppose. :)

  • this is great! i’m trying to inspire myself to learn to sew this year, so this really helps as i’m wanting some diversity with my throw pillows! i have a brand new sewing machine from my mum waiting to be used. thanks :)

  • don’t forget to open the zipper a bit so that you have a hole for flipping the case right-side out!

  • Great! Like Emma, I am passing this post along. I just bought my first sewing machine and it’s been sitting in the box for two weeks now. I’ve been kind of intimidated. But, I am looking forward to trying out this project over the weekend. Thanks.

  • fantastic! thank you! i’ve been teaching myself to sew, so these tips are really helpful.

  • Yay!!!!! I have a pile of fabric and 10 throw pillows without covers sitting in a sack waiting for this very post to happen! Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

  • These instructions are great! The pictures really help. About a month ago I decided I wanted to make a zippered pillow. Long story short, it took my entire family six hours and some yelling to complete it. HA! Next time I get the hankering to make a zippered pillow, I will stop here first and print out this tutoral.

  • Thanks so much for the post! i have had a sewing machine for a few years now…and never used it! {{shame}}
    I always wish I could sew. I see such great patterns out there, and throw pillows can be so expensive. I have been very intimidated by it, so thank so much for this post. I might just give it a whirl!

  • i cannot believe this is the first time i’m seeing this method for attaching zippers. i use them all the time but still struggle with each. thanks!

  • This is great! Fantastic step-by-step and photos. Definitely passing this along to the next beginning sewer who tells me that sewing a pillow is too difficult to attempt :)

  • Oh man…just a few days late! I sewed my first ever throw pillows this weekend and just stitched them closed. Ah wel…I’ll be saving this tutorial for next time I suppose.

  • I was JUST thinking this morning that I need to ask my Mom to teach me how to do this – awesome timing! thanks!

  • Yay! I haven’t dared do a project with a zipper yet, but this makes it look so easy!

  • My mother works for an upholstry and decore shop sewing cushins and slip covers and one trick shes taught me is to cut your fabric about 1 inch smaller then your pillow form. This will make a super plump pillow and will give your finished product that high end look. :)

  • This is truly amazing. i always scared of working on zipper, now I am convinced that I can do it too. Thanks for those step by step, it really helps a lot.

  • OMG, thank you, thank you, thank you. I have made a ZILLION pillow covers, but the way you did the zipper (with the super loose stitch that you later pulled out with the seam ripper) is like a revelation. This post just made my life 9,000 times easier – thank you!

  • AWESOME :D i’ve been wanting to learn how to sew and these detailed pictures and instructions are the best! :)

  • anything simpler for those of us who don’t know how to use a sewing machine much less own one? lol my list of buying one of craigslists is now getting longer…

  • This is perfect. I am ready to conquer a zipper project, and these instrution are fabulous. I posted it on my blog and linked it back to you. Thanks again!

  • this is my favourite feature, alongside the sneak peeks. i can’t wait to see what the next sewing post will be about.

  • Great, simple instructions! Just be sure to unzip the zipper before your sew all three remaining sides together. I learned the hard way a long time ago. :)

  • great tutorial! Once you’ve become comfortable w/ using a regular zipper, you could try an invisible zipper. They’re very easy to install, and make a more professional finish. Then you can graduate to piping and other seam enclosed trims!

  • Thanks so much for this! I have had some fabric and pillow forms at home forever , but had not felt confident enough to tackle the sewing. Thanks to your instructions I will now get right to it!

  • Wow you couldn’t have made that look any easier! I really hope that you do a piping tutorial – please!

  • What a treat. Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial. This is so incredibly well-presented.

  • Thank you Brett and Grace! These posts are so great. I taught myself to sew, but was intimidated by zippers–no more! I’m putting one on my next pillow.

    BTW, though, snap buttons work well too (for those of you who need some practice first, I know I did).

    And Vee, thanks for that tip, I was wondering how to make my pillows more plump…

  • The best instructions ever! Love the fabric too! For those with zipper fear another good option is a fold over sort of closure in the back, like an envelope, sort of. This is a great no zip option, but then only one side of the pillow will be pretty!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just sewed a pillowcase last weekend but I didn’t know how to do a zipper and I wasn’t brave enough to try to make it up on my own, so I just did without. But every pillowcase I make from now on will have a zipper!

  • It’s so much fun to see sewing 101 tips here that I learned from my mom so many years ago and to know that more people are taking up this craft. It’s fun and really easy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. I took up sewing this summer, but have been way too scared to trying a zipper. I don’t think your instructions could have been any clearer, and your photos are amazing. I’m forwarding this on to friends. Did I mention that I am head over heels in love with this series? Thanks again!

  • Thank you so much for making the zipper easy! I only attempted it once, and it still looked horrible after ripping out the stitches and redoing five times.

    I second the piping tutorial. Would also like to learn how to sew stretchy fabrics.

  • I am very enthusiastic about this series! I’m still going to ask for more tips on cutting the fabric straight, it would be really helpful!

  • this is awesome! I’ve been sewing for years and I’ve never seen a basting method to but in a zipper, it’s pretty genius! I’m getting ready to reupholster a vintage coach… the cushions are box cushions (http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/2/0/0/100/0/AAAAAn9Qh4UAAAAAAQAFUw.jpg) I’ve noticed by looking at patterns that the zipper is centered and is the length of the cushion. Is this important since it’s a different kind of cushion?

  • usually sewing my house requires much swearing and cursing, tonight however there was nothing but smiling. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

  • Thank you for this great post! Any chance you could include instructions on adding trim along with the zipper: cording, fringe, etc.? That’s where I get really intimidated.

  • What amazing timing! I was just about to start cutting out a pillow, and wondering how to close it. I’ve always been a little afraid to try a zipper, but you make it look so easy. Thank you!

  • um wow I just made a pillow with a zipper in under an hour. You do realize I haven’t used a sewing machine since 7th grade, right? This is genius.


  • Sooo simple, loved it, thanks!

    Sounds like this will be my first applique project…Or my first project with those new Ikea fabrics…Or…So many options, so much fun!

  • I am quite an advanced sewer and I have sewn many pillows in the past. But this one is new to me. Who would have thought that it could be so easy to have professional pillow cases with zippers! Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am off to my sewing machine now….


  • What a clever way to sew in a zipper, much easier than the way I’ve been doing it! I see lots more zipper projects in my future :) Thank you

  • WOW! I’m from Brazil and already did my pillows using your GREAT method! Thank you so much! I’m not afraid of zippers anymore! My two pillows became beautiful on my couch and that was so easy…

  • Yay! I just tried your method and it was much faster and better-looking than the method I was using from a sewing book.

    One thing I did different was to sew down the length of the zipper, pivot, sew across the seam, pivot, sew the length of the zipper on the other side, and then pivot and sew to your beginning point. Essentially sewing a long skinny rectangle around the zip. Advantage: don’t have to change the zipper foot to the other side!

  • Thank you so much for this excellent tutorial! I successfully finished my first throw pillow cover with zipper this evening and it was a breeze thanks to you!

  • Wow, thank you so much for this tutorial! I’ve always wanted to make my own pillow covers and now with your fabulous instructions I’m going to give it a try!

  • great one indeed!
    i agree with mixette – sewing a ‘box’ around the zipper worked out better for me too. aside from not having to change the foot position, i didn’t get a gap at the bottom opening (although i probably wasn’t meant to!)

  • I just finished making a pillow using this tutorial…fast and easy. My pillow looks perfect. Thank you.

  • I agree with Lana, that has happened to me as well :).

    I also second using invisible zippers – super-easy to put in (there are usually directions on the packaging) and it gives a lovely professional finish.

  • Yes!!! An easy to understand tutorial with the zipper! I can do this! I’m going to go get started right now!

  • Awesome. I just made this. The most professional looking pillow covers I’ve ever made thanks to this tutorial.

    I would also suggest trimming the seams with pinking shears so you don’t have a big stringy mess after you wash them.

  • Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! sankjgfbsd

  • Finally, you have answered all of the questions I had! Great visual aids. Now I know how to do corners of pillows with out actually going to a boring sewing class. Thank you SEW much!!

  • I made this pillow over the weekend and it looks great, minus some mistakes on my part. I wish I had read mixette’s comment about making a box around the zipper. Moving the presser foot from the left to the right position gave me some issues and the stitching on one side looks great but the other looks a little messy. Good thing it’s on the bottom.

    Either way, my pillow looks cute and it was a great learning experience.


  • this was wonderful, i am going to try it though i know i will have problems fixing the zip

  • I can’t believe I just made my first pillow with a zipper and it turned out so good! Thank you for such an awesome tutorial.

  • I’ve just used the instructions to make floor cushions for my Great Danes – can’t believe how easy this made it. Thanks very much indeed.

  • Thank you for posting this great tutorial! I just made two pillows and they turned out perfectly!!

  • Wow! This is the most amazingly simple zipper tutorial EVER. Thank you so much!

  • Thanks!!! I followed your wonderful direction and have a beautiful pillow with a sweet zipper. I am thrilled; this was the really well laid out with just the right visuals to match the instruction. I am a big fan and will keep my eyes out for more! More!!

  • Great instructions! My only question is..do you think I could make this into a crib pillow for my neice? I was thinking about getting an invisible zipper so it will be less bulky. I am using two different fabrics so my sister can flip it whenever the mood strikes. I wonder if the zipper would be uncomfortable? I am fairly new to sewing but I feel confident with your directions. Thanks!

  • I just made one of these for my 16 month old daughter for
    Christmas. Oh, yeah, I love to do last minute gifts! It was so
    freaking easy!!! Thank you so much for this tutorial, I know she’s
    going to LOVE her “big girl” pillow!

  • thank you so much! i’ve made zipper pouches, but was completely intimidated by pillow covers… until now. i just made two, and they turned out beautifully!

  • Wonderful tutorial ~ Just finished two pillows both with zips! First ever zips, and they are perfect!

    Thank you!

  • THANK YOU!!! I have been looking at tutorials on how to make pillows for days now (I am a NOVICE!) and this is the clearest, easiest to follow one I have seen, great photos and simple directions…I am running to the attic right now to dust off my sewing machine and give this a try. Thanks D*S team, keep these great tutorials coming!

  • Wow! I just finished 2 pillows using your super easy tutorial. I had never sewn a zipper on my own and you made it so easy. I love that you sew the zipper on zipped, not unzipped. I’m just thrilled with my results! Thank you so much for this great tutorial!

  • Just finished my first zippered throw pillow with my new (used) sewing machine. This tutorial was a life-saver! The directions are so clear and easy that I was finished in about 40 minutes. My husband better watch out, I’m about to slipcover everything! ha ha.

  • What a great tutorial! very clear instructions and pictures. I wonder, can you use piping around a cushion if you include a zipper?

  • I also have to gush a little about this tutorial and the site in general. This was my 2nd sewing project by D*S and it turned out great. I’m no longer scared of zippers!

  • THANK YOU! for that awesome tutorial!!! i just made my FIRST pillow cover and it turned out GREAT!!! just one question: If we wanted to add something along the edges , like the pom pom balls how would we do that???
    THANKS again!

  • I am unable to print out the step by step instructions and it’s hard to keep running back to the computer to check out the next step. I’m only able to print 3 pages. Any suggestions?

  • I would love to print out your tutorial on installing a zipper in a throw pillow.

  • Since I don’t understand what moderating my comment means, please disregard my request ( I found your method of installing a zipper ingenious-just wish I could print it out as a tutorial)!

    • cathy

      i just did a cut and paste into a text doc and it worked ok for me- can you tell me what’s happening when you do that so i can try to troubleshoot what’s happening?


  • When I click on Edit, the only highlighted options are Undo, Select All, and Find. Redo, Cut, Copy Paste and Delete are there but not highlighted so I can’t use them. My husband is going to print this out for me at work tomorrow, but thanks so much for trying to help.


  • Thank you so much for teaching me how to use that function on my computer. I had no idea it was so easy. So I’ve learned a great way to sew a zipper into a throw pillow and how to use cut and paste on my computer. Who said you ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’?

  • Thank you so much for this fantastically clear and encouraging tutorial. Between the photos and text, it feels like you are in my sewing room teaching me. Thank you!

  • Thank you for this tutorial! I have made tons of pillows before but always been too afraid to put in a zipper. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought after I figured out how to attach the zipper foot on my ancient machine. :)

  • I’ve never sewn before and I recently bought a sewing machine to learn. It took me a while, but I made two fabulous throw pillows with your help. Thanks so much for this post!

  • although i guess i’m an intermediate sewer, sometimes, it’s just so nice to have clear, simple directions to follow. just made two new pillow covers! thank you!

  • Today was the first time i’ve ever tried to sew a pillow and was able to do a pretty good lookin one due to these instructions! thanks you so much!!!!

  • I want to let you know that this was an absolutely fantastic tutorial. I’m a novice sewer but I wanted to make a pillowcase with a zipper in it, so I found this tutorial and I literally just finished my pillowcase. I finished it without any problems. This is probably the clearest, most well explained tutorial I’ve ever seen (really).

  • Just ran across this post as I have never before installed a zipper and my plan was to make just this, cushion covers! It worker perfectly, made 2 in just about 2 hours. Thank you!

  • You’ll never know how happy I am, now that I can finally sew a zipper pillow – I’ve been making removable pillow covers (fold-over on back). They’re nice and definitely serve a purpose, but often it’s nice to have a two-sided pillow! Very professional looking, I think.
    Any who, your tutorial is the best!! Tried others and couldn’t figure them out. Just started a shop with my sister-in-law making pillows, etc… and this saved the day! Thanks again.

  • Terrific directions! I can’t wait to make my pillow!Inadequate mygreat-grandfather’s rocker retfinished and it needs a pillow for the back.

  • I made these for my 3 year old twins to use during their name time at daycare. This was so simple. I used a princess material and they LOVE them!!!

  • Thank you for the great photos and instructions. I just put zippers into two pillows. SUPER simple!

  • This is so helpful. I’m a novice sewer and was able to make this happen Thank you!

  • This is great! Great photos, step-by-step, detailed directions . Thank you for posting.

  • Finally figured out the proper way to put in a zipper! Thanks, my pillow turned out great!

  • for some crazy reason I ripped the upholstery off my living room chair a few days ago. i have been spending insane amounts of time recovering it since then. the cusion has a zipper, and i have never sewn a zipper. i was able to do it, and the zipper part only took about 15 minutes. it was the easiest part of the cushion. the hard part was the weird shape. but almost done now. thanks!

  • I’ve been sewing off and on for 40 years. I can sew a zipper in a project quite easily but sometimes I put off a project just because I don’t feel like doing the zipper. For instance, I have a window seat cushion that needs a zipper and I’ve put it off for so long I forget that I need to do it. Since my cushion is a thick piece of foam I have a separate piece of fabric in the back (the part that butts up against the wall) that I’m going to put the zipper in. Your pin inspired me! I’ll need to modify your instructions a bit but I’m actually excited to do complete my project now. Thank you!

  • Thanks so much for sharing your tips. I just started sewing and this was my second project I decided to try. Your directions were easy to follow and gave me the courage to try doing the zipper. I am so happy with how my pillow turned out. Although my sewing may not be perfect, it works for me. Besides I am sure I will get better at it with all the other pillows that are still left to do. Thanks again. It is really appreciated.

  • This post is excellent! The directions with the pictures are very helpful and gives you the courage to try doing this. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this.

  • Thanks, you saved me quit a bit of frustration. Excellent and easy to use instructions.

  • Going to try this right now. Just got back to sewing and shy away from zippers. You just gave me courage to tackle the dreaded zipper. Thank you.

  • thak you very much..u made my life easy..:) since one month i was searching for this and this is the best method i saw…

  • Still not sure how to finish the ends of the zipper foe the pillow the instructions were awesome but I’m still stuck on how to finish the ends

  • Great post but I use an invisible zipper and it looks like seam so all you see is the tab.

  • i’m a novice sewer and i bought the wrong zipper! i bought a separating zipper instead of a non-separating zipper. i wasn’t paying close attention and just bought one based on length. anyways, you might want to specify that in the tutorial. i can’t wait to find the right zipper and make this pillowcase!!!

  • Thank you not only for sharing this, but for the excellent photos, succinct instructions and explanation of the term “basting”. In all my 43 years, it’s the first time I’ve understood what it means… I’d always struggled to see how coating in its own juice would help with the process!

  • This is awesome!
    I really enjoyed the instructions, I’ll be making more pillows from. Now on.
    Thank you.
    I wish you can show more ideas on how to….

  • This is how we were taught in school the 60’s. nothing new. Is there any other way to do it…?

  • thank you so much for your posts….and showing me how to install a zipper (it has been so long, that i forgot how, step by step…..i just found you…i guess just in time

  • I would like to print these great instructions out for future use, but do not seem to see the print icon?

  • Holy heck the zipper was so EASY to put in thank you! I made 2 pillows in no time. Great instructions.

  • This is incredibly well done. I used to sew quite a bit ages and ages ago and this helped me to remember how to do some things.
    Thank you so much and now I just need to go buy my supplies and go wild with the machine/1

  • I was thrilled to see all the interest in sewing. I have been a sewer for 60 years and I still hesitate to do zippers. It is so simple and your blog has me moving finally to make the pillows. I do like the invisible zipper better but it is always a chore to get the correct foot to use. I heave several and haven’t used any of them for a long period of time. Have you ever had trouble with the stitching being too close to the zipper teeth? Any suggestion?

    Also,there is a neat way to eliminate the dog ears on the pillow corners. The corners naturally are very pointed when you insert the filler pillow. To eliminate this simply measure the distance from along each edge. (A rectangle pilloe will have different measurements ) mark the center of each side. Example: a 16inch square pillow would be marked at 8″. Divide the distance from center to corner (8″ divided by. 2 is 4″s. measuring from the 4″ to corner-draw a line from center to each corner onan angle 1/2 inch less at corner. Do this on all corners. Basically, you are marking and taking the pointed corners off. It is amazing how this adjustment helps to make the fit so much more accurate. I do not have any photos to send along with this. I will be happy to explain further if necessary. Reducing the pillow measurements by 1 inch is a good rule of thumb. I have made a sample pattern for the standards pillow sizes (less the inch) with the corners reduced and I use the patters over. It saves a lot of measuring. I hope this is of help to pillow makers old and seasoned!!!

  • wonderful instructions. my zipper turned out nice and i don’t think anyone will know it was my first zipper! Thank you.

    • Thanks for this tutorial,I’ve been struggling for years. Well done. Yahoo Jackie I

  • Thanks a ton, I’m a non-sewer, and have just finished my second pillow. Okay, so made a few mistakes on one, but I made two pillow covers! Yea! Thanks for making such easy to follow directions. I love how the zipper gets hidden. Thank for sharing.

  • Awesome. Very clear and easy tutorial. Now that I’ve ripped the zipper away TWICE after it didn’t settle at the basted seam (yeah I used about 2 pins / inch the second time), I am ready for something else. Apparently I can crochet and knit and make lace, but not use a sewing machine…

  • Thanks for sharing this great tutorial, I’ve jsut used it to make my first zippered cushion cover and I love how it turned out. Basting and then sewing the zipper over the top leaves a nice little overlap so when it’s zipped up the zipper is nearly invisible.

  • This is a phenomenally clear tutorial. Thank you! Note: Commenter Mary Ellen Antonucci is correct when she suggests two things: reducing fabric size by 1″ will ensure a tighter, snug fit for a more professional look. Also, eliminating the dog ears. In upholstery this is also referred to as chopping the corners.

  • I’d like to say thank you too! I recently had a few pillows printed with my own designs on them. A local shop said “ooh we love them, we’ll carry the covers in our store”. Yay…YIPES! It’s been awhile since I sewed anything but knew I needed to be making my own and am now having the fabric printed. I looked at a lot of methods for putting zippers in, this one was easily not only the best but after trying several methods, this one looks the best on the finished pillow. So happy you posted this and as an aside, it’s amazing this is still being seen and commented on 3 years+ later. Good for you! I will continue to follow this!

  • Just joining the Thank You club. I just finished my first zippered pillow and it was easy. I’m a brand new at sewing and this was a great confidence builder. I’m hoping you have additional posts for trims and box cushions.

  • Thank you so much for the zipper instructions. I have been sewing for nearly 30 years and have always avoided the zipper. But I have just done a beautiful zip and I am mighty proud! Great easy instructions.

  • Thanks! Just used the tutorial to finally make covers for my “floor pillows.” Worked out perfectly!

  • Great tutorial. I just sewed my first invisible zipper and it looks great. Thanks for such clear directions.

  • Question: How did you slide the zipper pull back when you were sewing the second side of the zipper? I couldn’t get it to move down. Perhaps I sewed too close to the zipper teeth on both sides?

  • I agree with everyone else. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I just sewed two pillows and they look great.

  • Still looking for this fabric. It has all the colors I need plus the birds.

  • i understand better now the process. Thanks very much Grace for this tuto. I ll start this week to sew my armchair cushions zip. Hope i ll manage!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial! This is the first time I’ve done an invisible zippered pillow cover. I’ve finished three now and have one left to go. I’m so pleased with how they’ve turned out!

  • Thanks so much for offering this tutorial. It was clearly written, beautifully photographed, and so easy to follow! Like some other people here, my sewing machine had gotten a bit dusty with disuse, and though I had made one zippered cushion without any instruction, it took a very long time and had an unwanted crease at the end. The pillow I’ve made following your tutorial took me a fraction of the time, and it’s turned out perfectly. (Also thanks to you I discovered my sewing machine’s zipper foot!)
    Many thanks again for your generosity.

  • Thank you for sharing. I have always struggled with putting in a zipper. This is great.

  • I cannot wait to try this! You’ve made it soo simple with the instructions and pictures. Thank you!!

  • Oh my goodness this as exactly what I was looking for! I’ve been incredibly intimidated by the zipper situation!! Thanks so much for the easy and Informative tutorial!!! ??

  • Thank you! This method worked very well. The second cushion was done in about 10 minutes!!

  • Thanks for the great tutorial! I am very new to sewing and I wonder if you could tell me how I would sew the zipper in differently if I wanted the teeth to be exposed? I’m going with metallic zippers and I want the teeth to be visible.

    Thanks for any help!
    (And feel free to dumb it down to the max, when I say newbie I meaaaaan newbie :P)

    • Melissa, welcome to the club. I guess with practice we definitely will get there…

  • Muito obrigada pela informacao functionality inclusive com tecido com elastano o ziper vicariously perfeito!!
    Thanks a millions

  • It’s already 2015 & your fantastic tutorial is still helping those of its who are afraid of zippers. Your clear, well written instructions along with pictures make it a winner! I’m a retired teacher and once a teacher always a teacher so I notice a well written anything! I will be back…hope you keep blogging!

  • I am as “beginner” as they come. I just got my sewing machine last month and this pillow was my very first project. I got confused (and had to rip out the seam twice) on the step before basting (sewing the small segments on either side of the zipper), but I persevered! My holiday pillow cover out beautifully and I’m going to make four more this week. Thank you for the detailed (and well-written) directions with the helpful photographs!

  • Thank you! What a great tutorial! The first pillow was a challenge as this was my first attempt with a zipper foot, but the second one was a breeze!

  • Many thanks for this very well explained tutorial ! I have been putting off making pillows since a nice looking closure was my problem, but no longer now, I am looking forward to making lovely pillows very soon!

  • Thanks for sharing this great tutorial, I’ve jsut used it to make my first zippered cushion cover and I love how it turned out. Basting and then sewing the zipper over the top leaves a nice little overlap so when it’s zipped up the zipper is nearly invisible.

  • Hey! This is a great tutorial and a very simple way to attack the scary venture of inserting zippers!!! One thing I noticed – (I did make a sample before I used this on my ‘real’ project) – make sure to use coordinating thread!! I absolutely failed on that – but it was just my sample. Apparently my hand needs to be held still…..:) Thanks so much for this post! Great job!

  • Oh my gosh–I know I’m YEARS late to this post, but I had to comment! This is the easiest and best zipper tutorial I have ever seen, and it looks so professional, too! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • I am just learning how to put in zippers and saw your post on a pin in someone’s Pinterest page. I am so thrilled that I did see it and followed the link to your post. You have written a great tutorial and I will definitely be using this method quite often, if not all of the time! Thank you for sharing and have a fantastic creative day!

  • Thank you, Grace, for the excellent instructions on how to sew a zipper into a pillow cover. I imagine you never thought your post would still be read 7 years later, huh?! :-) I am very interested in how to take the dog ears off, but didn’t quite understand your instructions. Do you have any photos to show on how and where to measure? Thanks so much!

  • I’ve just started back to sewing, so I’m a novice. Trying these throw pillow covers. All went well until I got to the second side (left side) of sewing the zipper. I couldn’t get the zipper to pull back at the end so I could continue sewing. It was so tight. Perhaps I sewed too closely to the zipper. Advice please.

  • I made throw pillow covers yesterday, with zipper, for the first time. I hadn’t sewn a stitch in a dozen years and your blog made it seem easy enough. They turned out nearly perfect! Thank you for putting up these simple instructions. I feel more confident and ready to get back to sewing.

  • Used your instructions once about a year and a half ago, came back today for a re-fresher course!!! Last time I missed the little detail about measure off the zipper and pinning inside of the metal tabs, crucial to a finer finish at the ends. That was the only difficulty I had previously. Thanks for sharing an easy way to install zippers on decor pillows.

  • I liked the way you stitched the pieces before placing the zipper between. I used to just stitch the zipper right away, but your way seems to be so much easier!

  • Fantastic Tutorial!! Thank you for explaining the process step by step and making it easy to understand and follow, making zippers less scary😊

  • Exactly how I was taught to insert a zip, over 40 years ago by my home ec teacher ! X

  • It became really tough job sewing the first pillow, I hope it was easy, but the outcome is superb. I just love my pillow now.

  • It’s easier to sew a cover on to an item than it is to bother making it with snaps, velcro, or zipper.

    Also, it may be made out of fabric that’s not washable.

    Thank you so much for the informative post.

  • Thanks a lot for sharing this. It’s a great idea. Can’t wait to put it into practice and see how things unfolds

  • 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.

  • Ah I need zippers like these for my pillows for easily using, it’s good to see your post, the instruction is clear. Many thanks for nice sharing.