Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Pillow Cover with Zipper

So I recently took on the task of making some pillows for Madi's playroom.  I wanted a couple of pillows for the 60s gold yellow futon that we are still using upstairs.  It's where we cuddle and read so it needs to be cushy.  Also, I wanted at least one pillow that could be used as a floor cushion.  The hardwoods can be rough so I wanted a little seat.  So, without much guidance or know how, I began looking into my options.

There are many options.  My original thought was, who cares?  I'll just cut and sew a square.  Stitch it up and if I get bored with the pattern, I can cut it out of there and replace it.  After really thinking about it and some friendly advice, I decided if I could DO a zipper, I'd love it more.  There are always buttons (at this point I had no button hole experience either), there are the "slip" covers that leave a flap in back which I was afraid would be disastrous on the floor.  Of course, I've never done a zipper (well, not the right way) so I didn't know if it would work.  But, why not try?

The insert was about 24 x 24.  The material was from JoAnns.  A real fun bird pattern.  I have loved little birds since having Madison.  Don't know why.  And, sadly, the zipper was left over from a clearance sale years ago where I bought a bunch of stuff.  Funny, my mother in law Susan informed me it was a jacket zipper.  Apparently there are different types of zippers.  Yeah, I'm THAT smart.

So, I set about cutting my squares.  That was the easy part.  Stitching them all together, yep.  I can do that.  Then came the zipper.  I have my book, Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time
which I've told you before how I feel about it.  Ha.  It was a bit over my head and I began piecing together all kinds of ideas from different websites.  Searching everywhere to find a good tutorial.  My book was fine, but she is so professional that she adds like 20 steps.  I feel bad, but I want it a bit simpler.  For now...

I found a tutorial at Design Sponge here.  This seemed to be in my language and how the Lord intended it to be.  I could do this.  I know I could.  First try was, well, awful.  I was so proud and then as I stuck the pillow inside it all ripped out, horribly.  Luckily, my mother in law was in town shortly after this and sort of talked me through my madness.  I was doing nothing wrong.  Small really.  I needed to stitch across the entire zipper across the opening to secure it better.  Really?  Of course, this was made a bit more difficult because of the "type" of zipper I had.  Trust me, I'm a genius at this!

Ha. She encouraged me along and I decided to try again.  She is better at this than she gives herself credit for.  Maybe because HER mother in law was a seamstress.  No pressure or anything...

Once I took everything out and did it again, I finally made it.  I learned that there are things such as different types of zippers (like the one for garments that comes completely undone at the bottom).  There are hidden and exposed ways of securing the zipper. There are zipper feet for your machines.  Yeah, there are.  It is important to leave the needle IN your work when raising the foot and turning your work.  There is a such thing as basting stitches.  And, don't leave the zipper closed the whole way while you're doing your last few stitches.  See, the garment is inside out and it makes it hard (not impossible) to open the case and turn it right side out. This information I'm deducting from what could happen.  Not that it's what I did.  Come on, you know me...  OF COURSE I DID.

I will say that the seam ripper was my favorite part.  My zipper isn't perfectly straight but cutting back the seam and seeing that beautiful zipper in there that opens and closes.  Amazing..

Anyway, if I can do this, so can you.  All you need is this:
1.5 to 2 yards fabric
24x24 pillow insert
zipper (I can tell you to get one 20 inches but know that I don't know how long mine was actually, it was not bought for this)
seam ripper

Sorry, this isn't exactly a tutorial since I don't really know what I did.  Ha.  Someday, I hope to offer more of those.

Guess it turned out okay.

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