I used to be strictly an "envelope" pillow cover maker. I always thought putting a zipper in would be too hard, but I finally tried it and actually prefer it now to the other method! Today, I'll show you how easy it can be.
Before we get started here's a few tips: If your zipper is too long, just make a several stitches slowly back and forth over the coils where you want it to stop, and trim the excess. I usually like for the zipper to take up most of the side it's on, but I do leave a few inches of fabric on each end of the zipper to make it easier to get the pillow in and out. Also, I use down pillow forms and cut my fabric about the same size as the pillow measurements. That way, the covers fit nicely and the pillows are easy to plump up. I used a greek key trim from Hobby Lobby on the front that I sewed on before I did anything else.
We'll start with the side that your zipper will be on. With the right sides of the fabric together, pin and then make a seam on the side that will be the bottom edge of your pillow. Somewhere around 1/2" seam is fine. Use a basting stitch, which means you want your stitch length as long as possible.
Spread your two sides apart on the wrong side and press that seam open. Un-zip the zipper and following the directions on your package, press the zipper so the coil is flattened out. Now with the zipper closed, center it face down over the wrong side of the seam and pin in place.
Stitch the zipper with a regular stitch, using the zipper foot for your machine. You want the stitch to be very close to the zipper coils. Go slowly and make sure the center of the zipper is always right over the center of the seam. When you get to the end, sew across the bottom of the zipper and go back up the other side.
Once the zipper is in, go back to the ends of the seam and stitch over again with a smaller stitch than the one you previously basted with. You just want to reinforce that seam and make it stronger.
I also like to stitch across the seam at the top of the zipper to define that area and secure the ends.
Now, carefully use a seam ripper or sharp scissors to open the seam over the zipper, and pull loose threads out.
Now you're ready to sew up the rest of your pillow, but first it's crucial to OPEN THE ZIPPER! If you don't, you'll just sew your pillow totally closed with the wrong side out!
Put right sides together and stitch other 3 sides together using a 1/2" seam allowance.
Clip the corners diagonally (this helps reduce bulk and makes your finished corners sharp and pointed), and press seams open.
Turn inside out, and there you go! I usually press again once the pillow is finished.
So, what's your favorite way to make a pillow? Are you an envelope or a zipper girl?