Friday, July 7, 2017

Installing Zipper in Pillow Back (tutorial)

Recently I've made two pillows.  Since they are yet to be gifted, I can't share the front of either pillow.

But, I can share the lovely back of pillow #1 complete with zipper.

Here is a tutorial on how I installed a zipper into a pillow back of pillow #2.

My pillow form is 18 x 18'' and my quilted pillow front is 18'' square.

For the back, I took two pieces and lightly quilted - just some straight lines for some texture.   The top piece measures 8.5'' high (and has quilted lines running vertically).  The bottom piece measures 14.5'' high and has quilted lines running horizontally.  Both were 18'' wide.

(For a 20 x 20'' pillow, I'd probably start with pieces 10 x 20'' and 16 x 20''.  Trimming would be done in a later step.)

I've used fusible fleece on this pillows pieces.  The fleece will show up as white in the photos below.

On the top piece, I folded over and pressed roughly 1 3/4 '' to make the flap that will cover the zipper.

Using a zipper that was longer than the pillow width, I placed the zipper on the top piece with the zipper facing down and the right side of fabric facing up.  You can see my folded pressed crease in the photo.

Attach the zipper using the zipper foot on your machine.

Flip over and top-stitch.  I usually use my regular foot to do this instead of the zipper foot.

Go ahead and run a line of stitching along your folded crease at this point as well.

Now for the tricky bit. We are going to make the flap and get that zipper tucked inside.

Lay the piece right side down and fold over at your creased line.  Pin zipper carefully along top zipper tape - the one you haven't sewn on yet.  (The photo below shows a portion of a pin.)

Sew another line of stitches along zipper tape.  Your are sewing through the zipper, the flap, and the outside of the pillow.  Black dashed lines in photo show the stitching line.  You want to stay a constant distance from the folded part of the flap.

Admire your zipper flap!

Doesn't it look good in there?

Move zipper tab to middle of zipper and trim off zipper ends on both sides.   Be careful to keep that zipper tab away from the edges.  We'll secure it in another step.

Lay zipper face down on bottom of pillow back and pin zipper.   Your pillow should be right sides together at this point.  Attach zipper.

Switch to regular foot and top-stitch.

Run a line of stitching along each edge of pillow at the flap to secure zipper.

Trim pillow back to meet the dimensions of the pillow front.  Trimming gives you the opportunity to adjust where you want the zipper to sit on your pillow.

Making sure zipper is left open, place pillow front and back right sides together.   Sew around all edges and turn inside out with opening left in zipper.

Install pillow form.


I can't wait to show you the front of this pillow and the other one I made.  Both should be gifted next week.

Any questions?  Just leave a comment.

I'll be linking up my tutorial with  Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Needle and Thread Thursdays, Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.

Have a wonderful day! Patty


  1. Very elegant zipper finish. Thanks for sharing the "how to" of installing one.

  2. One day I will be brave enough to tackle a zipper enclosure for a pillow, so I bookmarked this tutorial for when I need it. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for linking up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday!

  3. that is an interesting method, thanks for sharing :)

  4. So much easier than the ones I had to search for on YouTube! I did two pillows last year for my sisters and really struggled with the zippers. Thanks for the tutorial, this post is a keeper for me, for when I make the pillows for my nieces.

  5. This is a very timely post for me. I am working on a pillow for my young nephews big boy bed and wanted to do an enclosed zipper on the back. Thanks so much.


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