fully quilted pillow – how to add a zipper [tutorial]

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

I finished a couple of cushion covers recently and I love to quilt both the front and the backside of it. I had a hard time finding a good tutorial online on how to add a zipper to such a fully quilted pillow case. So I’m sharing the way I figured it out.

My favourite feature with this method is that the pillow can be used from both sides (as opposed to an envelope back)

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 01 __trim two quilted panels to the size of your cushion filling, adding a seam allowance measuring 3/8” to each side. With a 20×20” filling i.e. your panels should measure 20 6/8” square each. I usually sew around the trimmed panels 1/8” from the edge to keep the quilting seams secure.

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 02 __ Lay your zipper out where you later want to sew it in. With my project I have about 3” left to cover at each side. Cut two strips of fabric about 2” wide (in length at least double of what you have to cover – I cut two 2×7” pieces)

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 03 __ fold and press the fabric strips in half and sew the closed edges to one respective end of your zipper each.

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 04 __ Trim the zipper ends according to the width of the zipper. Lay one of your quilted panels out, facing up. Place the zipper wrong side up on top of it, leaving just 1/8” space uncovered. Pin into place and sew close to the zipper (about 1/4” from the zipper edge.)

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 05 __ Fold the quilted panel over and press lightly. Proceed stitching in place very close to the zipper.

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

Repeat STEP 04 and STEP 05 with the other panel for the second side of the zipper.
Make sure the two parts are lined up correctly because we already trimmed them down!

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 06 __ Fold the two sides together wrong sides facing, line the corners up and pin into place. Open the zipper halfway! Sew around leaving out the side that is closed by the zipper. Use a 3/8” seam allowance (this is what we added to the final size before trimming). Secure with backstitches at start and end.

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 07 __ I usually sew a short diagonal seam at each corner and trim them away, this makes for neater corners after turning.

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

STEP 08 __ Turn the pillow case inside out (this is the part where you will understand why the zipper has to be open) Poke the corners out using a pointed tool.  YOU’RE DONE!

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

Pillow Zipper Tutorial | veni vidi vicky

Thanks to the added zipper ends your corners won’t look clogged but pretty pointy. I love this clean look and the fun feature of the zipper ends (a pop of colour can work so well here!)
P.S. my pillow features quietplay’s geometric bear pattern (this is paper pieced). I hope I will come around to take some nicer pictures of it for a separate post.

Happy sewing!

veni vidi vicky

this post is linked up with Let's Bee Social at 
Sew Fresh Quilts, Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts,
TGIFF this week at A Quilter In The Closet, Finish It Up
Friday at crazy mom quilts, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story
and Freebie Friday at Handmade on Tuesday.


Add Yours
  1. Terri Ann

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial, I love how your zipper looks in this pillow with the tab ends for the zipper! I’m going to have to pin this for later :)

  2. When life gives you scraps… – veni vidi vicky

    […] And as just sewing, not pressing, not trimming, not measuring, not squaring felt quite liberating I kept on adding borders to the HST panel and found some more coordinating scraps to make a separate improv log cabin piece. I quilted both of them up with multi directional straight line clusters and turned them into a pillow cover with my usual zipper finish. […]

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