Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Zippered Pillows for the Novice

I sewed four pillow covers yesterday. Quite a feat considering I haven’t delved into much craftiness in months! {More finished product photos at the end if you want to skip the nitty gritty.}


The day before I didn’t have the zippers yet so I cut the fabric for each one. It was actually nice to start the next day with all my materials and everything cut {kind of like a cooking show with each ingredient premeasured in a little bowl!}.

I found a great tutorial which made things SO MUCH EASIER! Check out the most simple pillow cover with a zipper tutorial at Scout and Nimble first. Her instructions and photos are very easy to follow.

So why the post? I sew so {ha!} infrequently that I usually feel like a big novice every time! I thought I’d share some things I learned along the way for any other novices out there. Please, save time from my many mistakes! It was almost laughable today, like when I sewed up the end of the fabric in the zipper seam because I wasn’t careful! If you are a regular seamstress, this post is not for you!


For starters, don’t think you should do a long stitch on that first seam before attaching the zipper thinking it will be easier to rip out. It needs to be a smaller stitch so it won’t pull out when you put a pillow through the hole. The seam ripper will have no trouble cutting through even a smaller stitch.IMG_5623

One problem I encountered was not having zippers the same length as my pillow cover as Jesse did in her instructions. By the time I got to the third and fourth pillow, I started figuring out what I needed to do.


I learned I didn’t need to make the zipper foot on the machine go around the zipper pull, but just stop close to it and come back to that part after I unzipped it a bit. It is loose above, but after ripping the seam open, you can grab the pull and open the zipper some. Then you can sew around the end. MUCH easier and neater!


You can see in the photo above the green lines I sewed after the back stitching {after I had unzipped the zipper some}.


I also thought I’d try sewing the zipper to the seam edges only and not through both pieces of fabric to not have the sewing lines seen on the outside of the pillow. It is doable, but in the end I wonder how this pillow {below} will look in the long run. The crease from ironing is the only thing keeping the zipper somewhat hidden. Sticking to the instructions and using the right color thread is the answer I think!


The floral pillow ended up in our bedroom for now. It’s destination to the patio was routed by a travel pillow on sale at AREA {a fabulous store in Portugal}. That fabric wasn’t made for the outside anyway.


Outdoor pillows are not that easy to find here in Portugal, if it is possible at all. For all my friends living here, I found outdoor fabric on fabric store row in Campo Ourique in Lisbon, but they only have stripes and solids. It wasn’t expensive at all when you don’t need a whole meter.


Three pillows made with outdoor fabric, one cheap IKEA solid I had, and my new travel pillow. It might need a mate! Hopefully we can finish up our back patio projects soon so I can post all of it then.

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