Quilted Zipper Pillow Tutorial
Quilted pillows are some of my favorite things to sew and very popular items that I sold at arts and craft fairs. This tutorial will show you step-by-step how I create my quilt pillows. Starting with a small sized quilt block, you can create both a beautiful and sturdy pillow.
The quilted zipper pillow is an advanced intermediate sewing project. Basic patchwork, basting, quilting, and binding skills are required, as well as, how to sew in a zipper. I will walk you through the pillow construction and you should have a fun new pillow in no time!
Quilt Pillow Ideas
There are so many quilted pillow options. You can use a single block from a larger quilt pattern, such as this quilt block from the Scrappy Hearts quilt by Quilty Love.
Another option is to make a traditional quilt block and then finish it into a pillow. This snowflake quilt block made a lovely wintery pillow.
Traditional quilt piecing techniques are great for pillows also. This cute pillow was created using triangle piecing with fun Tula Pink fabric.
Applique work combined with quilt piecing is another option for quilted pillows. For this pillow, I combined very basic strip piecing and overlayed appliqued fabric on top of it. This was the most requested pillow I sold at arts and crafts fairs. Alison Glass fabric was used to create the strip piecing for the background of the pillow.
Step-by-Step Quilt Pillow Tutorial
Supplies Need for Quilt Pillow Project:
You will need the following supplies:
- Pillow Form
- Zipper (slighter larger than the pillow)
- Sewn Quilt Block (for the front of the pillow)
- Fabric for Back of Pillow & Binding
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
- Basting Spray -or- Safety Pins
- Binding Clips
- Zipper Foot (optional)
- Walking Foot (optional)
- Sewing Machine
Step 1: Preparing the Pillow Cover
Grab your completed pillow top. This pillow top was made using the Firecracker Quilt sew along Mini Firecracker foundation paper piecing pattern from Pen + Paper Patterns. A variety of Ruby Star Society fabric was used to create this adorable pillow as well.
Sashing was added to the edges of the finished quilt block to fit the 14” x 14” pillow form.
Step 2: Baste & Quilt the Pillow Top
Now that the front of the pillow is sewn and the same size as the pillow form, it is time to baste and quilt it. For this step you will use the same techniques as you would for a larger quilt.
Cut the batting 2” x 2” larger than the pillow top. For this example, the pillow top is 14” x 14”. The batting has been cut to 16” x 16”
Next, add the backing fabric. Muslin fabric works great. It is low-cost and lightweight. Cut the muslin fabric 2” x 2” larger than the batting. For this project, it has been cut to 18” x 18”.
Baste the pillow top the way you would normally baste a quilt. You can use safety pins or basting spray (I used basting spray).
Quilt the pillow top. I went with a simple ½” x ½” square on point design. White thread with a longer stitch length was used to create the pattern.
Once the quilting is finished, trim off the excess batting and muslin.
Step 3: Prepare the Zipper
The zipper will be attached to the center of the back of the pillow. This zipper will be exposed. I selected a bright, red zipper to add a little pop of color to the back of the pillow. The zipper should be slightly longer than the pillow. As the finished pillow will be 14” x 14”, I went with an 18” nylon zipper.
Cut two L: 4” x W: 3” strips of fabric.
Iron the 3” edge approximately ½” towards the wrong side of the fabric. No need to measure, just eyeball it. Repeat for the second fabric.
Fold the fabric in half along the length with the right sides facing each other. Sew along the open length using a ¼” seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam. Repeat for the second fabric.
Turn the fabric right-side-out and then press.
Slide the folded edge of the fabric tube over the end of the zipper with about a ½ inch of the zipper in the tube.
Sew using an 1/8” seam allowance along the fold. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Using your cutting mat as a guide, place the sewn edge of the zipper 1 ½” away from the edge of the pillow top.
On the other side of the zipper, unzip it about halfway.
Trim the zipper 1” from the edge of the pillow top.
Slide the folded edge of the second fabric tube over the end of the zipper with about ½” of the zipper in the tube. This tube should be 1 ½” away from the edge of the quilt top. Pin to hold in place.
Sew with an 1/8” seam allowance along the folded edge of the tube. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Both zipper tubes should be 1 ½” into each side of the pillow top.
Step 4: Create the Pillow Back
Cut out two exterior fabric, 2 batting, and 2 muslin panels using the following calculation. Add 2” to the width of your finished pillow. This pillow is 14” wide, so the width of the six panels will be 16”. The height of the panels is determined by dividing the height of the finished pillow by 2 and then added 1”. The pillow height is 14”, so the height of all the panels will be 8”. See the diagram below:
Place one exterior fabric over one batting panel. Center the zipper over the two panels with the zipper pull facing down. Pin to hold in place.
Place one muslin panel over the pinned zipper, exterior fabric, and batting panel. Pin to hold in place.
Sew along the pinned edge to attach all the layers to the zipper. A zipper foot can be used for this step. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
Fold open the fabrics so that the zipper is exposed. Give the fabrics a quick press and then with an 1/8” seam allowance, sew along the folded edge. I used a longer stitch length for this step.
Repeat these steps to attach the remaining exterior, batting, and muslin panels to the other half of the pillow back to the zipper.
Step 5: Sew the Pillow Front and Back Together
With the right sides of the fabric facing out, place the exterior top centered over the exterior back of the pillow. Pin to hold in place.
With an 1/8” to scant ¼” seam allowance, sew along the entire edge of the pillow front.
Trim excess pillow backing.
Step 6: Create and Attach the Binding
To finish the pillow, you will create and attached the binding to the outer edge of the pillow the exact same way you would for a quilt. To calculate how much binding you will need and how to make it, check out our How to Bind a Quilt tutorial. A 2 ½” wide binding is used for this step.
The binding will be machine sewn, so you will attach the raw edge of the binding to the back of the pillow first.
Fold the binding over to the front side of the pillow. Use binding clips to hold it in place.
Sew with an 1/8” seam allowance to attach the binding to the front side of the pillow.
Congratulations! The quilted zipper pillow is finished!
These pillows make great gifts and look wonderful in your home. They are sturdy and beautiful! If you make one, please tag us on Instagram @little.fabric.shop. We love seeing your work. Happy sewing!!