When you sew a pillow cover, you spend time to sew/quilt a beautiful front then all you want is to finish it as quickly as possible. So you sew an envelope closure that takes 5 minutes. It is a great closure but if you want/need something fancy, then a zipper closure is the answer.
If you cringe when you read the word “zipper”, fear not: this technique is so easy, quick and it does not even need a zipper foot!
These are my new pillows and I thought they deserve a better closure; I took pictures to show you the process, so keep reading.
This is my Love is all around reverse applique pattern; this design works wonderfully will small flowers fabric like this (an equilter fabric).
The hearts are cut out from the green fabric and then the cutout design is fused to the floral fabric.
I zig- zag-ed the edges of the hearts, making the panel stronger, for longer use.
But why using only floral fabric? I have an owl fabric in my stash so here is my pillow for a little girl.
I made one more experiment. I used felt for one of the reverse applique designs of this pattern- All You Need Is Love.
Felt does not unravel when cut and this is a big advantage for any applique technique. There are different types of felt, made out of different fibers (wool, synthetic, blend of the two, bamboo, even an eco friendly type) and it comes in different thicknesses. I think it is an appropriate fabric to use in the winter season.
Here is the look of the felt fused to fabric (with fusible web) and quilted.
Now let’s see how to sew the zipper closure to a pillow.
First step: measure the front panel of your pillow.
For the back of the pillow cover, cut one piece of fabric that is 2” wider and 6” longer than the front piece.
For a 16” pillow panel, you have to cut a piece 18” x 22”.
Cut the back in half widthwise – you will have two pieces 18” x 11”.
Fold and press one of the long edges of each pieces as shown in the next steps. See the measurements below, but basically you fold and press a hem on both pieces and one hem should be wider (1”) than the other (1/2”).
Fold the fabric over 1/2” , press and fold over again 1/2” and press.
Fold over 1/2”, press and then fold over 1” and press.
This is how the folded edge of the second piece looks like.
The zipper will be attached first to the backing piece with wide hem.
Place the zipper – right side down – on the folded edge, aligning the tape with the bottom folded edge of the fabric.
The zipper should be at least as long as the backing fabric (18”).
Keep the zipper in place with pins.
Stitch through all the layers. If you want you can use a zipper foot but I used the regular presser foot in may machine.
Turn the piece on the other side. That flap created in this way will keep the zipper hidden/invisible in the final pillow cover.
Fold the flap down and pin it as shown to reveal the top part of the zipper.
Take the other half of the backing; place its folded edge along the teeth line of the zipper. Make sure you keep the top and bottom backing vertically aligned (right edge of top piece in line with right edge of bottom piece). Pin to keep the pieces in place.
Sew close to the edge.
In the next step we will have to open the zipper, so stitch as shown below to keep the two parts of the zipper together.
The backing is ready for the last steps.
Open the zipper half way – very important, don’t skip this step! Remove the pins and fold the flap back over the zipper.
Place the front panel of the pillow over the back, right sides together; keep them nicely aligned. Pin to keep the pieces in place.
Sew at 3/8” from the edge.
Trim the back even with the front then zig zag all the edges of the piece.
The pillow cover should look like this:
Turn the piece right side out.
The zipper closure with flap looks like this. It is such an elegant look, compared with a simple, envelope closure. And as you see, it requires just a few seams!
Now we know how to add a beautiful detail to a pillow cover. Let’s use it more often!