The Zipper Pillow Cover Tutorial

Pillows are the ultimate decorating accessory in my book. They can add comfort, color, pattern, all in one little piece. Pillow covers are actually more my style, because I change my mind more often than tractors go by (which in my neck of the woods is pretty darn often!) And why wouldn’t I? In about 15 minutes, 1/2 yard of fabric and a zipper later, the look of a chair or sofa can be changed – easy peasy.

You’ll need two 17 inch square pieces of fabric and a 20 inch zipper. You’ll also need a zipper foot for your sewing machine (which probably came with your machine.)

Leaving the zipper closed, place it on the end of the fabric you want on the bottom of the pillow, right sides together (meaning the zipper pull should go towards the printed side of the fabric.) Using your zipper foot so you can get as close to the teeth of the zipper as possible, sew it to the fabric, keeping the edge of the zipper aligned with the edge of the fabric.

Open the zipper up all the way, then align your fabric to the first piece, right sides together, so that the zipper will be even on both sides. Put a straight pin in to hold it in place, then repeat the steps to attach it to the second side. Yay! The hard part is over!

Now zip it half way – do not zip it closed – then line up the fabrics and using the regular foot on your machine, sew around the other three sides of the square with a 1/2 seam allowance. You are going to start by sewing right over the zipper, back stitching to lock it in place.

Snip a little off the corners to make it easier to turn out – then turn it out and iron it.
Add in an insert and you’re good to go! Big change, little time, small budget – gotta love that!
About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. Thank you for posting this!! I am about to conquer sewing and this really helps!

  2. I have bookmarked this, I’m tryyyyyying to learn to sew, when I get a moment to myself, and really want to make simple easy pillows in the fabrics I like. Thank you, wonderful tutorial. xoxo tami

  3. Very nice tutorial, easy, cheap, perfect!

  4. You make it look so easy but I hate zippers! I never have luck with them. Love the mattress ticking fabric you chose.

  5. stinkin’ adorable! you’re right pillows are soooo easy to make!

  6. That was explained rally well. Thanks!

  7. Oops meant really not rally

  8. That’s it….I’m pulling out my machine and I’m gonna give this a try! Hope I can find the zipper foot 🙂

  9. Thanks, Gina!!

  10. You explain things so well Gina! I forgot how easy zippers are to install ~ is that the right word? I see pillow covers in my near future… 🙂

  11. Thank you for this! For those of us who have machines but have limited skills, this really helps! I usually just sew on paper but find myself interested in projects just like this. THANK YOU!

  12. OH my gosh! I really didn’t know it was that EASY to sew in a zipper, I just might try it!

  13. What a great way for a quick change!! So happy I found your blog. Can’t wait to see more!!

  14. Pillows can change a room! I think I have to get myself a sewing machine!!! Looking to revamp my living room with new pillows but haven’t found “the ones”…, so maybe I have to make them myself.

  15. I’d love to know where you found the ticking stripe. I’ve been looking for some this color but haven’t had much luck.

  16. Hi! I am new to following your blog but think it is great. 🙂

    I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Hop on over to this link to collect your Award Button:

    Have an awesome day!

  17. hello there! your newest follower! I just found your blog and I’m so glad I did. Great tutorials and content!!! I have so many clients who adore the shabby chic decor aesthetic as do I.

    Please stop by and pay me a visit. Id truly appreciate it.

    Thank you!

    C’est La Vie

  18. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have avoided zippered pillow covers after making an attempt 6 years ago using the traditional method and just about going crazy. But I wanted to make a bunch of pillows for my bed and window seat so I found you on a blog search. I have now made 4 and your method is soooo easy and looks just as good as the difficult way (better, because I don’t mess it up now)! I am getting pillow happy now and have plans for 8 or 10 more for window seats, gifts, and outdoor pillows for my porch. Love your blog!

  19. Dawn Herried says:

    In the picture it looks like the zipper hangs over the material?
    Please HELP!

  20. So looking forward to making this!!!!!!!

  21. Great tutorial, Gina! Did you use a 16 inch or 18 inch pillow insert?

  22. I’m an 85 year old been sewing for 70 years. You sure make zipper placement look easy, great for the beginning seamstresses out there. Thanks we need more like you that are willing to share the things you have learned. it takes time patience and love for sewing to get to perfection and I keep learning. Sarah


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