I’ve been sewing pillows like crazy over here. After the amazing sale at Hancock fabrics, I bought tons of fabric and four pillow forms. Recovering a couple old pillows at home, plus some ingenious two fabric sided pillows using leftover fabric from earlier projects, I had enough materials for six new pillows! I still have one pillow to sew, but I was so excited about the ones I’ve made, I had to show you now.
In order to have a two sided pillow, I had to learn a new sewing technique. My earlier envelope pillow style wouldn’t work for this, so instead I made zipper pillow covers. Having never sewn a zipper before, it was quite the adventure. My handy dandy Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts taught me the basics, and this youtube video from Expert Village helped clarify using the sewing machine to sew the zipper.
Here’s how you can sew your own zipper pillow case:
Enough fabric to cover your pillow + 1” extra for seam allowance. (I mostly used two fat quarters - 18” x 21” - for each pillow)
Pillow form (consider recovering an old pillow!)
Zipper the same length or longer than you pillow opening
Zipper foot for sewing machine
Basic sewing supplies
Step one: Measure your pillow form and add one inch to the height and length for the seam allowance. Measure these dimensions on two pieces of fabric using a ruler and fabric pencil and cut your squares.
Step two: Pin your squares right sides together. Mark 3” in from each side on the edge you want the zipper on. Starting at one side, sew to your 3” mark using a ½” seam allowance, backstitch to secure. Repeat on the other side. Using a basting stitch, sew between the 2 marks using a ½” seam allowance. (This is where your zipper will go.)
Step three: Press your seam open using a hot iron. Using your fabric pencil, mark the pressed seam 3” in from either side (over your first marks.)
Step four: Prepare your zipper: If your zipper is longer than the pillow opening, mark the zipper the same length as the opening. Use a needle and thread to sew around the coils of the zipper at the mark, 5 to 10 times. Then trim the zipper ½” below the mark.
Step five: Place the zipper face down on your pressed seam, making sure the zipper pull is flipped up so you can unzip the zipper later. Carefully pin the zipper to the fabric, lining up the coils with the seam as you go. Use a needle and thread to baste the zipper tape to the seam for extra security.
Step six: Replace your presser foot with your zipper foot on your sewing machine. I sewed on the right side of the zipper foot (zipper is to the right of your zipper foot.) Starting two inches below the top of your zipper, machine sew around the zipper about ⅛” from the coil. When you get to the other side, stop about two inches from the top. Pull the zipper below the 2” mark and finish sewing around the top of the zipper.
Step seven: Using a seam ripper, remove the basting stitches along the pillow opening and the zipper tape; unzip the zipper. Pin the front and back pieces together, right sides aligned. Replace your zipper foot with your presser foot and sew the three sides with a ½” seam allowance. When finished, clip your corners and turn the pillow inside out.
Step eight: Push the corners out using a closed pair of scissors or a point turner. Insert your pillow form into your new pillow case; repeat steps to your hearts' content!
Now my couch is covered in pillows all handmade by me! It’s such a great feeling to have completely unique and hand crafted items. Someday I’d like my whole house to be handmade/up-cycled/refurbished by my boyfriend and I, from dishes to cabinets, curtains to maybe even furniture! As that is a project to last a lifetime, for now I'll settle for my couch.
Until next time, happy crafting!