Here is what I do when my outdated pillows need a face lift.
Zipper foot for sewing machine
Cutting mat and rotary cutter
Cutting Your Fabric
The first step to create a professional looking pillow is centering the fabric design to the middle of the pillow. This is especially important when using more than one pillow of the same fabric in the same room. Like curtains, all pillows made from the same fabric should be identical. If your fabric has a large pattern, pick your favorite element of the print to center on your pillow. This means unless you are using a solid or a fabric with a very small repeat, you will need more fabric than just twice the size of your pillow insert.
For each pillow cover you will use two pieces of fabric measuring the same size as your pillow insert – one for the front and one for the back. By cutting the fabric to the same size as the insert, you will create a pillow cover which fits perfectly – snug but not tight and loose but not messy.
Sewing the Invisible Zipper
Determine the size of your zipper based on the size of the bottom edge of your pillow cover. I leave 2” on either side of the zipper to make it easy to insert and remove the pillow form. For a 20” pillow I needed a 16” zipper. My local fabric store does not stock 16” zippers so I used a 20”– 22” zipper which will be cut to size later.
The first step to attaching an invisible zipper is ironing. When you take the zipper out of the package it will be wrinkled.
Open up the zipper and gently iron both sides.
A zipper is much easier to use and attach when it is straight.
Using one piece of fabric, right side up, align zipper edge with fabric edge of the bottom of your pillow and pin in place as shown below.
The zipper should start and end about 2” from each side edge and the coil should be ½” from the edge of the fabric.
Mark end of zipper with pin or pencil to denote where to stop sewing.
There are two options for sewing the zipper to the fabric. The first is a zipper foot which comes with most sewing machines.
The second is a plastic zipper foot made for sewing invisible zippers. These can be found near the zipper section in most stores which carry zippers.
I use the plastic zipper foot when I am making a non-welted (i.e. non-corded) pillow. The ridge on the foot guides the zipper coils smoothly without risk of sewing the zipper itself.
With right sides together match up sides and bottom edges of pillow cover. Pin the zipper in place.
Unzip the zipper.
Attach zipper using zipper foot, being sure to stop once again 2” from side edge.
Close zipper to just past where you finished attaching it to the fabric.
Using a needle and thread, make several stitches to create a stop for the zipper.
Cut off excess zipper.
Unzip zipper. Align and pin all outside edges of pillow cover with right sides together.
Using the zipper foot which came with the sewing machine, sew around outside of pillow cover using a ½” seam allowance. Start and end slightly past the opening and closing points of the zipper.
Turn pillow cover right side out through zipper opening and insert pillow form.