Installing an invisible zipper into a pillow is one of the easiest sewing skills to learn. Your family will think you’ve lost your mind because you can’t stop making them.
-1 invisible zipper (a few inches shorter than your pillow form/or follow a tutorial to shorten it)
-front and back pillow panels (cut to the exact size as your form)
-zipper foot or invisible zipper foot
-walking foot if your pillow top is quilted
-pinking shears (optional)
Step 1) ::Cut the Pillow Front and Back::
Cut your front and back the same dimensions as your pillow form. My pillow form is 12″ x 14″ so I cut my front and back 12 x 14 inches. Same goes if panel is quilted.
These measurements produce a rather “stuffed” looking pillow, so add more an inch or more to the dimensions if you like a more relaxed fit.
Optional: cut (2) of the same measurements from muslin to line the pillow. Muslin adds structure to the finished product, but is not necessary, nor is zigzagging the edges, but I prefer the professional look and that it washes well.
To use muslin place your pillow front and back on top of the muslin pieces aligning the edges. Pin and over lock the raw edges or serge.
Step 2) ::Zipper Feet and Zipper ::
It is not necessary to iron an invisible zipper if you have an invisible zipper foot.
Invisible Zipper Foot: (Left/ 35)
An invisible zipper foot is worth your money in gold. You can buy them (and cheaply) for any machine. The groove opens the zipper as you sew getting a very close stitch. Bonus, you don’t need to iron your zipper or move your needle.
Regular Zipper Foot (Right/ 4)
You will need to iron your zipper if you use this foot.
Unzip your zipper and place it right side down on your ironing board. Uncurl the teeth from the zipper tape by ironing them on a low setting so that the teeth of the zipper lay to the front of the zipper and the back is flat.
I’ll say it one more time, don’t iron if you have an invisible zipper foot!
Step 3) ::Aligning Your Zipper to Front Panel::
Fold your front and back panels in half by width, mark folds with a pin at the bottom of the panels.
Fold the closed zipper in half and mark on each side on the side where NO teeth show when it is closed.
Open zipper, place it teeth down aligning pin and marker. The whole zipper will be on the pillow top.
Pin the zipper tape to the bottom edge of the pillow front with the pinheads facing the end of the zipper for easy removal.
Place a mark or pin at the top of the zipper tape to mark where the zipper teeth begin.
Step 4) ::Install the Zipper Foot::
Invisible Zipper Foot-
No needle adjustment necessary with an invisible zipper foot.
Regular Zipper Foot-
Attach your zipper foot adjusting it (if necessary) and your needle position for close stitching (about 1/16″) to the teeth of the zipper.
Step 5) ::Stitch Zipper to Front Pillow Panel::
Drop the needle and begin sewing at the mark/pin that marks the start of the zipper teeth.
Sew a few stitches and then backstitch to secure. Continue sewing the length of the zipper removing pins as you sew.
Sew until your needle is about a half inch from the zipper stopper. Backstitch to secure.
Check out your stitching. Now is your chance to go back and sew even closer if you are seeing the zipper tape.
Step 6) ::Align Zipper to Back Side of Pillow::
Place the second side of the zipper tape right side down on the bottom edge of the right side of the pillow back. The teeth will face the center of the pillow.
Make sure to align the mark and pin again just like you did in Step 3.
Pin the zipper tape to the bottom edge of the pillow back with the pinheads facing the end of the zipper for easy removal.
Place a mark/pin to mark where the zipper starts on the tape.
Step 7) ::Sew The Zipper to the Pillow Back::
For a Regular Zipper Foot, switch the zipper foot side and needle position as needed (use the mirror button on your machine).
Drop the needle to begin sewing at the mark/pin that marks the start of the zipper teeth.
Sew a few stitches and then backstitch to secure. Continue sewing the length of the zipper removing pins as you sew. Sew until your needle is about a half inch from the zipper stopper. Backstitch to secure.
Step 8) ::Aligning the Edges::
Close the zipper and align the corners on either side of the zipper.
Pin the corners up to the zipper moving the zipper tape that is not sewn down on either end to the outside edge of the pillow.
Unzip the zipper about 2/3rds. You will be hosed if you forget this step;)
Pin the pillow top and pillow back right sides together around the perimeter aligning edges best you can.
Step 9)::Sew the Perimeter::
Install your regular sewing foot or a walking foot if your pillow is quilted.
Sew the top and back together starting in line with the stitch line from the zipper, about a 3/8″ seam. Start sewing as close to the bottom of the zipper as possible. Sew a few stitches, backstitch to secure.
Stop with the needle down 1/2″ from each corner, rotate the pillow 90 degrees and continue sewing with 1/2″ seam on the sides and top of the pillow. When you come to the last corner sew to 3/8″ of the corner. Rotate the pillow 90 degrees and continue sewing with a 3/8″ seam. End the stitching as close to the zipper as possible. Backstitch to secure.
Step 9)::Pink Corners, Trim and Press::
Trim across the corners to reduce bulk. Be sure not to cut into your stitching.
Open the zipper completely and turn the pillow right side out.
Push the corners out with a turning tool. Press.
Insert the pillow form, zip the zipper and enjoy!