More Pillows and Why Was I So Afraid of The ZIPPER?

I made a bunch of pillows for the living room sofa this week.  The living room really needed some warmth and color to offset the white sofa and light walls and carpet.  I always make envelope back style pillows because (1) I never have a zipper just laying around, so it means a shopping excursion, and (2) – the bigger issue – it seems like a hassle to put one in.  I really wanted these pillows to have a professional look to them. I also wanted them to be removable and washable, so a zipper was the only choice this time.


I found this tutorial on Design Sponge that seemed pretty straight forward, so I thought I’d give it a try.  The instructions were well written with lots of pictures and I found it easy to follow.  I made the first one and was so proud of myself, and then immediately got nervous about making the next one.  I guess I’m slow in jumping on the confidence train.  By the forth pillow – I wasn’t nervous anymore.  I was a confident-zipper-pillow-making-machine.



Here are a few of my tips:

Tip 1:  Pre-wash and iron the fabric before cutting and sewing.  This is a step I sometimes skip as I’m always in a hurry, but it’s so important because any shrinkage will occur before the fabric is cut and sewn.  You’ll be happy you did when you want to wash them later.

Tip 2:  Zippers come in lots of colors, but chances are there won’t be a zipper in the exact color you are looking for.  My advise is to buy a zipper that is lighter in color than your fabric. Ecru looked good with each color I worked with.


Ecru is on the left.


Ecru is on the right.


Tip 3:  If you can, buy pillow inserts from Pottery Barn or West Elm.  They are down filled and really make a difference in the finished pillow.  They are not that expensive in comparison to other pillow inserts.  A 20″ poly-fil insert at Joann’s retails for 18.99 and even though you can get 40% off with a coupon it just doesn’t hold up well.  A 20″ down or down alternative pillow insert from PB or West Elm retails for around $14 – $16 and will keep it’s shape forever or at least a really long time and sometimes you can find a 20% off coupon on line.  I’ve bought plenty of pillow inserts from different sources and paid good money, but the Pottery Barn and West Elm inserts are excellent quality, keep their shape and last a long time.



It turns out that a zippered pillow cover is not that hard to make after all.



 I hope I remember that next time I make a pillow.



Note:  I tried switching out the big coffee table for this wooden bench, but it is a little too small, so I’ll have to think of something else.


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  1. Anonymous says

    I completely agree about the pillow inserts. I have several from PB and they do hold up great. I was able to go to the PB outlet in Memphis, TN about 3 years ago and picked up some fun square pillow covers with zippers, so I changes those out seasonally. They are all washable so very easy to clean and have all held up well.

    Foam pillow inserts are a waste of money :)

    My guys like to smoosh up the pillows and the only ones that hold up are down filled. They bounce back every time.

    Great job on your pillows, by the way.

  2. says


    I must admit that I kid myself that I make envelope slipcovers because someone it makes it more washable …. but the truth is, I’m afraid of zippers too! I must get over that fear …

    And I’m cheap so I make my own pillow inserts …

    And thank you so much for not only linking up at Pillowpalooza but for featuring my button so prominently! Seriously, BNOTP, Funky Junk, Home Stories — who are those tiny little blogs. But Pillopalooza? Yeah, that gets some serious real estate!



  3. says

    Oh, what wonderful pillows…They add such a delightful pop of color and are so summery! Overcoming the fear of zippers is a challenge the first time..but, from then on…they are a breeze!
    Thank you for the great post!
    Happy Pillowpalooza!