Throw pillows are an easy way to add a pop of color and fun into your home décor. They’re great for mixing and matching to brighten up a space, and you can use all your favorite patterns. Today we'll share four different methods for constructing toss pillows and the pros and cons of each so you can decide which method suits you best!
- Fabrics for Pillows (3/4 yard will make at least 2 pillows with mismatched fronts and backs). We recommend any medium to medium/heavyweight home decor fabric.
- 20” Pillow Form
- For the invisible zipper pillow: Invisible zipper Invisible zipper foot
- For the inset seam zipper pillow: 22” zipper Zipper foot
- Coordinating Thread (polyester)
Use a ½” seam allowance throughout. I serged the edges to all my pieces to prevent fraying.
MC: Main color
CC: Coordinating Color
Envelope Closure Method:
MC: (1) 21”x21”
CC: (2) 15” x 21”
This is a great method for beginners, as it doesn’t require a zipper at all. It’s also a good choice if you plan on changing out your pillow covers often (great for holiday pillow covers!)
The premise is that you have two back pieces that are hemmed that overlap to completely encase your pillow form. It’s super easy and fast to whip these up.
Hem the two back pieces on one long side by folding over twice at ½” and sewing
Place your main fabric right side up, and place your back pieces right side down and overlapping. The long and unhemmed edges will be on the top and bottom of your main fabric piece. It doesn’t matter which way you place it if your main fabric is non-directional.
Sew all the way around at ½”, locking your stitches when you start and stop. No need to leave a space to turn, your envelope closure is all you need!
Trim your corners and turn, fill with your pillow form.
Invisible Zipper Method:
This is probably the easiest method, but it does have one special requirement – an invisible zipper foot. You can purchase generic ones on Amazon for most machines, but the more expensive machines usually require you to buy a particular brand in order to fit. It’s a worthwhile investment, and by far the easiest way to add a zipper to garments and pillows!
It requires only two pieces, and no visible stitching on the right side of the pillow. This is great for fabrics that are hard to top stitch or look best without top-stitching, like lighter weight faux leather, velvet, or if you don’t like cutting out very many pieces.
MC: (1) 21” x 21”
CC: (1) 21” x 21”
Iron your invisible zipper with the top of your iron flattening out the zipper teeth. This will make it easier to get close to the zipper teeth when sewing.
Place your invisible zipper on the right side and bottom of one pillow piece, with the teeth on the seam allowance (1/2”), the right side of the zipper tape facing the right side of the fabric.
Sew this with your invisible zipper foot, your needle getting as close to the zipper teeth as possible without sewing over the teeth. If you sew over the teeth, you won’t be able to open your zipper!
Repeat this on the other side. It’s okay if your zipper is twisted once, as long as you untwist it before you sew around the edges. It helps to have the two pieces butting up next to each other that you’re sewing the zipper tape to.
Close the zipper to make sure everything zips up all right, but leave it half open before sewing the pieces together or you won’t be able to turn.
Sew the edges at ½” seam allowance, matching up the seam of the invisible zipper.
Trim the extra zipper tape and the corners for a perfect finish, and turn. Stuff with your pillow form for a perfect pillow!
Lapped Zipper Method:
A lapped zipper creates a lovely professional pillow with a fully hidden zipper. It does require some extra pieces and a bit more steps while sewing but the finished product is so worth it.
MC: (1) 21” x 21”
CC: (2) 21” x 11.5”
On one back piece (right side up), place zipper right side down on one long side and sew along the edge with your zipper foot. Flip out and press. You can also top stitch on the backing fabric for a professional finish, but that is optional.
On the other back piece, fold over 1” and you can either just press, edgestitch, or hem based on your preference.
Right sides facing up, place the folded/hemmed edge of one back piece over the zipper tape on the other piece. Pin or carefully keep in place. Using your zipper foot, top stitch next to the hidden top part of the zipper. Your zipper foot will ensure that you are sewing right next to the zipper teeth that you can’t see. Go slowly and make sure you’re keeping everything lined up.
Test your zipper, leave it open halfway before sewing the pillow together
Sew all the way around your pillow with a ½” seam. Trim the corner and excess zipper tape.
Turn using your open zipper.
Inset seam zipper
This zipper method is great for upholstery projects and it does not require an invisible zipper foot or zipper. You can use a standard zipper and zipper foot for this method, but it is a little nerve-wracking. We will sew the zipper on a closed seam and open it up using a seam ripper to expose the zipper. You will be able to see your bottom thread on the finished pillow. This is perfect for fabrics that won’t be damaged using a seam ripper too close to a seam. You can use this for almost anything!
MC: (1) 21” x 21”
CC: (1) 21” x 21”
Right sides together, sew the bottom seam. You can use a longer stitch length to make it easier to rip out later (3.5mm), or if you’re feeling confident, you can use a standard stitch length.
Press this seam open and leave wrong side facing up to insert the zipper.
Lay your zipper on the back of your pressed open seam, zipper teeth right on top of the seam.
Sew over the zipper tape on the wrong side with your zipper foot to get as close to the teeth as possible. Lock your stitches when beginning and ending. Unzip your zipper a little/enough so that the zipper head will be expose when you rip it out.
Turn your pieces over to the right side. Insert the tip of your seam ripper into the stitches. You should be able to feel the zipper teeth with the seam ripper.
Carefully rip out your line of stitches all the way down, exposing your zipper! Leave about 1” – 2” on either end unripped.
Optional: stitch a perpendicular line on each end for extra durability.
Make sure your zipper head is exposed as well. You may have to feed it in between the zipper tape and the enclosed seam. Unzip your zipper half way.
Right sides together, sew all the way around at ½”, matching your seams from your zipper.
Trim zipper tape and corners. Turn and stuff.
Happy pillow making!