Zip It! My First Try At A Zippered Pillow Cover

I sewed a zipper into a pillow cover! Woohoo! Cue the band and light the fireworks! I don’t know why, but it seems like a momentous occasion on my learning-to-sew journey. I’ve been wanting to do this little project since we started cleaning up our guest room. I purchased the pillow on the top left from TJ Maxx and it serves as the color inspiration. I picked up the other two fabrics at JoAnn.


I love that these fabrics feature my favorite green that reappears in several rooms of our house. What makes this color scheme fresh for this room is the addition of the dark blue.

To figure out how to install a zipper, I just Googled it. First I looked at this video on YouTube and thought it was too complicated. I didn’t like how there would be two lines of stitches along each side of the zipper. So, I skipped over to this website. This option looked like it would easily replicate how the zipper was sewn into the pillow I purchased at TJ Maxx. It involves sewing the seam together, then adding the zipper, followed by ripping the original seam apart to reveal the zipper. I do not like how it turned out.


This method may work for a different fabric, but my fabric is white with a dark pattern printed on it. I can see every little hole where the thread went through. Awful! I left it this way because I didn’t want to ruin the fabric any more than I already did. I don’t have enough to cut new pieces.

For the second pillow, I followed how it was done on the YouTube video and it almost looks like it was done by a professional. I’m still not sold on the double lines of stitches, but I think that could be corrected if I used no sew tape to iron the fold down, eliminating the need for one line of stitches, and then sewed on the zipper.


I did run into some trouble sewing over the thick parts of the zipper. My bobbin thread kept bunching up, so I learned to walk the foot and needle of my sewing machine over the thick part of the zipper. Next time, I think I would probably hand stitch the ends of the zipper to the fabric to avoid that problem. Just to give myself a little pat on the back, I’m pleased with how well I matched the pattern up on the seams of the pillow. It isn’t exact, but it’s pretty darn good.

Overall, this little project taught me not to rip seams on this type of printed fabric, or maybe not at all, and to try hand stitching through the thickest parts at the ends of the zippers.

Do you have a helpful hint for sewing zippers? I could sure use your advice for next time.

This entry was posted in Decorating, Sewing and tagged , by Jennifer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jennifer

I'm an interior designer at my core and a big fan of simple pleasures and Mother Nature. Originally from Iowa, I've lived up and down the East Coast, plus Alaska and Germany (thanks to my husband, who must have nomadic blood in his veins). Currently I'm a Yankee in South Carolina, trying to keep up with my son and constantly adjusting to life in the South.

2 thoughts on “Zip It! My First Try At A Zippered Pillow Cover

  1. Wow! It looks great! I have tons of advice about zippers! But I think one trick I like is to buy a zipper bigger than you actually need. Then you make sure the zipper is all the way at the top end of the zipper pull and set that end with the zipper on it off the edge of the fabric that you are going to sew so that the zipper isnt anywhere near the pressure foot while you are sewing. Then sew the three sides like you normally would then when you get to the top where the zipper is pull is pull the zipper down out of the way of where you need to sew across it at the top going across it a few times to tack it down at the end. Then cut off the excess zipper! That is one trick that works!
    But usually what I do is sew one end without the zipper there and then I zip it to the other end and sew the other end without the zipper there. That works too! On the MADE blog Dana has a simple video she posted recently with a few other ways to do zippers. You should check it out. Also I think there is a free Craftsy class about zippers too!

    • I obviously didn’t research it very much, but I did catch the idea of buying a longer zipper than you need and cutting the end off. I’m glad I finally tried this project because I won’t be afraid to try it again. Thanks for mentioning the additional resources. I always forget about Craftsy!

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