How To: Zippered Pillow Cover – the easy way

how to insert a zip into a pillow cover

Last week I had some fun Free Motion Quilting a pretty vintage tea towel (watch the video here). I was very happy with the result, and this week I’ll show you how I made it into a zippered cushion cover (pillow if you are in the US).
Inserting zippers are usually quite frustrating for me, so I tend to avoid them where possible, but the technique I’ll be showing you today is fool proof.

You will need:

Fabric/quilted panel for front and back of cover
Zipper longer than the width of the cover
Pillow insert
Zipper foot
General sewing supplies

how to insert a zip into a pillow cover

How to:

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Attach your zipper foot.
  3. Cut your front panel to size (same size as your insert), as you can see the zipper is slightly longer.
  4. Cut your back panel to match the front (I have used wool blanketing).
    how to insert a zip into a pillow cover
  5. Align your open zip to the edge of the panel, right sides together, then sew as close to the teeth as possible with your zipper foot. Make sure the start and end of the zip overhang at the ends.
  6. When you are about a third of the way down, zip up the zipper to a closed position and continue to sew.
  7. This is how it should look.
  8. Align the front panel to the back one and pin into place, right side facing in.
  9. Sew zipper as per step 5 & 6
    how to insert a zip into a pillow cover
  10. Yay! Zipper inserted without any swearing.
  11. Now pin front and back together and stitch along the dotted lines.
  12. Take note of how the zip ends are pinned, this will ensure finished cover corners are neat where the zipper meets. Also make sure zipper is open about a third of the way to ensure you can turn inside out.
  13. Reinforce the seam over the zipper ends by reversing over it a few times, just being careful that the needle doesn’t hit the teeth as there may be a risk of breakage, especially with a metal zip. Cut off the excess ends and trim any bulky seams. Serge raw edges if desired.
    how to insert a zip into a pillow cover

Now turn your cover inside out and insert your pillow insert. Time to make a cup of tea and enjoy your handy work.

how to insert a zip into a pillow cover


  • Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says:

    gorgeous pillow Cintia, the colors are fabulous! If you haven't joined SewSet yet, I sure hope you will! And upload a photo of this and some of your other sewing tutorials for the directory!!! Your work is just fabulous πŸ™‚

    – Jess

    • Miss Cinti - my poppet says:

      Thanks for sharing Jess, I'll pop over an check it out now.
      x cinti

    • Sew Set says:

      I featured it on the homepage today! And PS – how did you get the wallpaper in the background of the image to look like that? I love it!

      Thanks again πŸ™‚

  • Heidi says:

    LOOOOOOVELY! That flower print actually took my breath away, it's AMAAAAZE!

    Cintia, I did the patches on my kids jeans the other day (yep….I'm not fast at getting to projects) and all 5 of them look so great! cutie little knee circles to pass down to the younger boy.

    You rule

  • Leslie says:

    Thank you! Thank you! How did you know I was sewing some pillows today?!?!?!?
    Whenever I spot down feather throw pillows (I don't care if the fabric on the outside is ugly, I cut it off and throw it away) at Goodwill or yard sales, I buy them to make new covers for. (I wash them, too.)
    I typically just sew the bottom seam closed after putting the pillow slip on, but that means more work when I want to wash or change out the covers.
    I sewed the seams shut because I didn't know how to do a zipper.
    Now I have no excuse!
    Thank you very very much.
    I found this post on Pinterest, by the way πŸ™‚
    Hugs and blessings to you as you make your home.
    P.S. I need to go get some zippers now. πŸ™‚

    • Miss Cinti - my poppet says:

      I think I may be a little bit psychic, lol. I'm so happy that I've inspired you to give zips a go. Oh and I usually pick up my zippers at the thrift stores too.

  • katrina says:

    your pixelated wall and most of all, your zippered pillow cover rock!! πŸ˜€

  • Tami Rebekah says:

    Sooo cute!!! You are about to get Bloglovin followed!! ( I always feel a bit creepy when I say that) Love it!!

  • Sunae says:

    I can't even express my appreciation for this tutorial! I love whipping up little cushions for around the house and usually do an envelope back, as zippers just about bring me to tears sometimes haha. So good to see there IS an easy way to insert them πŸ™‚

  • Laura Does Days says:

    Is that your wall behind the (neat-o) cushion? It looks fabulous!

    Is there any larger pictures that I could have a peak at?
    Laura x

    • Miss Cinti - my poppet says:

      Hi Laura, I actually created it using photoshop so it only lives in the virtual world. I wish it was my real wall.
      If you look closely its actually a pixelated image of the cushion cover πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    thanks for sharing..

  • Jessica says:

    Great tutorial- you make it look so easy! How do I determine the proper size for my front and back panel? I’m afraid of cutting and not leaving enough overage to fit my insert OR cutting too big and having a loose cover around the insert. Yuck!

    • Miss Cinti @ My Poppet says:

      Hi Jessica, I usually measure the length of the insert sides/edges and cut the covers the same size. I prefer the covers to be a little overstuffed so I don’t add extra seam allowance.
      eg. the insert is 45x45cm so i will cut my tops and back 45x45cm but when sewn with a 1cm seam allowance the finished size will be 43x43cm

      I hope that helps

  • Marinda Ramalheiro says:

    Tx for the inspirational post

  • Sabrina says:

    Thank you for the pictures to go with the written steps. I only had to do it once to get it right but I did need both the pics and words!

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