Quick and Easy Pillow Zipper

blog image for Intalling a Flapped Pillow Zipper

by Cathy Ellsaesser, posted on

Okay, so it’s been a while since I wrote a blog, and I did promise to write up how to quickly install a pillow zipper with a decorative flap covering the zipper. It’s been a while, but, I eventually got back to writing some blogs, so, here goes!

Flap Method

I specifically love the quick way to add a pillow zipper, that has some interest to it, on the back of a pillow. If you ever have been to, or seen, a Sew Fun where Lynn showed off an embroidery sample on a pillow, she usually uses this method to install the zipper. You can see some great samples at our Littleton store.

Make the Back for the Pillow Cover

Cut the Fabric

  1. Measure your pillow to decide the fabric needed for the back of the pillow. Generally, I use the same dimension as the pillow form as once the seams are sewn, the pillow form will fill out the cover nicely. If you need an exact size pillow, then add a 1/2″ seam allowance to your measurements.
  2. Decide how far down from the top of the pillow you want the pillow zipper.
  3. Cut two pieces of fabric, one for above the zipper and one for below the zipper by adding 5/8″ to length of each piece. For example, if you want to divide your 14″pillow piece into 9 and 5 inches, cut your pieces to 9 5/8″ x 14″and 5 5/8″ x 14″. (Or 10 1/8″ x 15″ and 6 1/8″ x 15 if adding a 1/2″ seam allowance.
  4. Cut the fabric for the flap. I recommend a 1″ flap. If using one inch, then cut the flap fabric to 3 1/4 x 14″. Double the width of the flap and add 1 1/4″ for the seam allowance.
  5. Fold flap fabric wrong sides together matching the long raw edges. Press.
Fabric and flap to cover pillow

Install the Pillow Zipper

  1. Place flap right side down on the right side of the bottom edge of the fabric that will be on the top of the zipper.
Top of back of fabric for cover  with flap in place
  1. Place the zipper face down, aligning the bottom edge of the zipper with the bottom edge of the fabric and flap from step 6.
Top of back of fabric for pillow cover
  1. Stitch the zipper, flap and top fabric together by stitching about 1/4″ from zipper teeth.
Top of back of fabric for pillow cover  with zipper and flap in place and sewn down
  1. Press zipper and flap down toward the bottom of the fabric. (i.e Seam allowance toward the top fabric.)
Top of back of fabric for pillow cover  with zipper and flap right side up
  1. Fold flap up away from zipper and place the top of the bottom fabric wrong side up along the bottom edge of the zipper (right sides together).
Flap lifted to reveal zipper
Layering bottom of pillow cover on edge of zipper
  1. Stitch the zipper and the bottom part of the back fabric together, sewing a seam 1/4″ from edge of zipper.
Bottom of pillow cover sewn to edge of zipper
  1. Press the bottom of the back fabric away from the zipper. (i.e. Seam allowance toward the bottom back fabric.)
  1. Press flap down and, if desired, top stitch fabric fold close to zipper on the top and bottom pieces.

Accordingly, the back of the pillow cover is done. So, don’t worry about the zipper overhang on the sides. Cut them off after you sew the back and front of the pillow cover together.

Sew Front and Back of Pillow Cover Together

  1. Move zipper pull to over so that it is just inside the pillow cover. Basically, just make sure you can sew the side seam without hitting the zipper pull. (This makes it a little easier to sew the zipper down where it is open.)
Small spening to left of  zipper before sewing pillow cover seam
  1. Once you have sewn the front and back of the pillow cover together on that side, open the pillow zipper more to faciliate turning the cover once you have sewn all four sides..
Open zipper  from wrong side of pillow cover
  1. Sew remaining three sides.
  2. Clip corners
  3. Turn right side out.
  4. Open zipper all the way.
  5. Insert pillow form into pillow cover.
  6. Close pillow zipper.

How cute! (Front design is from the Mylar Trick or Treat from Purely Gates.)

Pillow Zipper Flap Options

Depending on how you want the back of your pillow to look, make the flap that covers the pillow zipper either from the same fabric or from contrasting fabric. In addition, different fabrics for the fabric above the zipper flap and below are also cute.

For example, here are a few photos of some of the pillows Lynn has made. She mentioned to me that she always uses a different fabric for the flap.

Of course, you can always use the same fabric for the flap

Pillow zipper flap n same fabric as pillow back

It’s so easy, it’s genius!