Tuesday, October 23, 2012

adding a zipper to a store bought pillow

Target is a weakness of mine. As I was walking from the toy section to the register I passed through the linens. This orange pillow caught my eye and I saw that it was on clearance for $5. In my cart it went.
It was perfect on my bed but all I could think about was that it probably fell on the floor in Target and the floor is dirty and I didn't want my head laying on it.  The pillow wasn't washable so I decided to make it washable by turning it into a pillow cover that could be removed.

It's very easy and if you want to turn your pillow from the store into a washable cover I'll share a few pointers on how I did it. Let me know if you need more clarifying or something doesn't make sense because I did type this up pretty fast.
I had an invisible zipper and got to work.

First, pick out the seam on one side and remove all the stuffing.
Because you normally add an invisible zipper before any side seems are sewn you also need to unpick the stitching around the corners and a couple inches down each side to give you room to sew it in like you were starting the pillow from the beginning.

Line up the edge of the zipper to the edge of the"right" side of the pillow and, using your zipper foot, sew down as close to the zipper teeth as you can.  In order to get closer to the teeth, hold down the teeth flat with your finger.

Sew back and forth across the zipper teeth a few times so you can shorten the zipper if yours is too long like mine was. After sewing, cut off excess zipper. (I normally switch back to my regular foot to do this as it offers even pressure, but here I just kept the zipper foot on. )

Match up the other side of the zipper to the edge of the other side of the pillow's "right" side and stitch down it.  Make sure the zipper is open half way or more when you do this for turning purposes. Slide zipper pull out of way, if needed, when you get to it as you sew.

After you have sewn both sides of the zipper on, you need to go back and re-connect the couple inches on each side of the pillow. Sew up and round each corner, not sewing over the zipper but turning right before the zipper making a rounded corner and back stitching after 1/2" or so.

Clip inner corners, as shown above, if they were not already clipped. Mine weren't and I like to get rid of excess bulk. Turn the pillow right side out.
You can see below how the corner was sewn that it hides the end of the zipper.

Now is the time to use the stuffing you pulled out to make a new pillow form. Use muslin and cut it the size of the pillow cover but 1" larger on each of the 4 sides. That way it will fill out all the corners of the pillow cover when inserted.
I decided to use a pillow form I already had. It was a little flat and because it had a zipper I was able to add some of the extra stuffing to plump it up a bit more.

Insert you pillow form and enjoy. But don't for get to wash your now new cover first. No more dirty floor pillows to lay you head on.
All clean and on my bed ready to enjoy.

Fresh Poppy Design


  1. Great idea! I've passed up fabulous pillows for the same reason--it's icky to think about putting your head on something that's fallen onto the store floor many times.

  2. This is book marked for the next time I see a really cool pillow. Actually I have one on my couch now that the family loves, but it needs some serious washing. I guess I'll just have to put a zipper in it.

  3. The "ick" factor hadn't occurred to me, but I would just like add zippers to all of my store-bought pillows as they take up so much storage space and I change them out with the seasons. Also I need to learn to make pillow forms (by hand, even - no machine) so I can make use of old clothing fabric (from stuff that's not even in good enough condition to give away) to make covers. Obviously sewing is new to me (beyond buttons and hems) so I'm excited to learn how to make decor items out of scraps!