Monday, May 7, 2012

Invisible Zipper tutorial.

i posted this tutorial over on rhonda's blog in april.

i am just re-posting it here... 

first gather your ready, you need a lot of stuff...

two pieces of fabric cut 1 1/4 inch bigger than the pillow you are covering.
{if you have a 16" pillow form you should cut your two pieces 17 1/4"... 18" form needs 19 1/4"... 22" form needs 23 1/4"... and so on..}
so again, two pieces of fabric.
one long ol' invisible zipper
a small ruler
fabric pen

i have a serger, thanks to my sweet husband, so i take the time to serge the edges of the fabric before i start.  it gives me a 1/4" guide when i am sewing, and it makes the pillow look professional when it is done.  if you don't have a serger, no worries, it is just how i do it.
lay the invisible zipper with the zipper pull facing down and mark your fabric at 1 1/2".  this is where you will start sewing your zipper. 
with your zipper pull facing down on the right side of the fabric (make sure you have your zipper foot on your machine) sew the zipper to the fabric a 1/4 inch away from the edge of the fabric starting at the 1 1/2" mark.  this is where my serged edge comes in really handy as i use it to line my zipper up with.  make sure to stay as close to the closed zipper as you can when you are sewing.
here is what it will look like.  you can see from this terrible picture that the thread line is not every close to the zipper.  we are going to stitch it again... closer this time.
pull the zipper open, push the zipper teeth up with your finger and nest the zipper foot right against the zipper teeth and sew it again.  you can see in the picture below that the foot is holding the zipper teeth up as you sew.  go slow so you can get the new stitch line close to the zipper teeth.
you can see the two thread lines here...  i am sure you are thinking why would i sew that twice, why wouldn't i just open the zipper up and sew it once... i do it this way because i am able to get a straighter stitch line closer to the zipper.  it stays put when i am stitching it close to the zipper.  but honestly, i am a creature of habit, kind of a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of gal.  i was taught that way and it works for me.
and we repeat the whole process with the other piece of fabric.  making sure to keep your two pieces lined up mark it at 1 1/2" again.    
staying close to the zipper sew it a 1/4 inch from the edge, or line the edge of the zipper up to the serge line and use it as a guide.
open the zipper up, push the zipper teeth up with your finger and nest the zipper foot right against the zipper teeth and sew it again.  go slow so you can get the new stitch line close to the zipper teeth.
again, you can see the two stitch lines.
now that you have your zipper stitched to both fabric pieces we need to make sure that the zipper is the right length and that it is secure before we trim it.  take your zipper and with a zig-zag stitch stitch the zipper together like so...   
now that the zipper is secure cut your extra zipper ends in an upside-down V shape with the tip of the V just short of the end of the fabric.  see below.
remember how we started 1 1/2" from the end of the fabric? we have to sew that area closed.  start sewing a 1/4" before the end of your stitch line from the zipper and stitch the pillow together with a 1/2" seam allowance.
it may take a few times to get it looking perfect, as you can tell from mine i am still working on making it perfect.  make sure you back stitch a couple times at the beginning and end of your stitches to keep it secure.
trim the corners 
now turn that baby right side out and admire the crap out of your pillow cover!  

if you have any questions let me know.  as i was typing this up i thought, i should have just done a video... ;) maybe soon.


  1. Great tutorial, I especially love the ruffle detail! :)

  2. you're like invisible zipper queen. All hail the queen!

  3. Thanks for the tute!! I tend to shy away from zippers when it comes to anything bigger than a pouch!

  4. I will continue to pretend I have not seen this!!

  5. I must try this method. MUST! I'm not a-feared of zips, I just never seem to have the right colour or length. Good excuse, yeah? *winks*

  6. Great tutorial, I'm definitely giving it a try. Thanks!!!

  7. You did a great job, Nicke! And I'm admiring the crap out of your pillow!

  8. what a great tutorial. Now I just need a tutorial on how to use my serger--had it for a year and have never used it--it intimidates me!


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