Easy DIY pillow cover with zipper

Toss pillow cover on sofa, photo

I am redecorating my living room. Red has been lovely, but the colors of the sea are calling me. I like Ikea’s Fjädrar inner cushions (which are 20 x 20 inches), but none of Ikea’s pillow covers go with my new color scheme. So, using a cover that I bought in the as-is section for a couple bucks, I figured out how to make my own. Plus I decided I was due an easy project after last week’s marathon.

Three navy blue cushion covers, photo

UPDATE: 3/6/21: My living room had been navy blue and white for eight years now (way before it was trending, and I’m so happy that it is because I can easily add matching accessories if I want to). I made several navy-blue patterned pillows using these instructions. (Yes, I still have the same white Ikea sofa.)

The aqua pillow in this tutorial has been moved to the guest room. It’s so easy to swap out pillows when you can quickly sew your own covers.

How to make a zippered pillow cover

  • ¾ of a yard of 45-inch fabric

  • 18-inch zipper

  • thread

  • sewing machine

  • scissors

  • rotary cutter, mat & metal straight edge (optional)

  • straight pins

  • water-erasable marker

  • tape measure

  • sewing gauge or small ruler

  • iron and ironing board

Fabrci on an ironing board with iron, photo

1. Wash, dry, and iron your fabric to preshrink the fabric. I find that it’s easier to wash it and iron it dry than to use the tumble dryer.

Cutting fabric with rotary cutter, photo

2. Cut one piece of fabric these dimensions: 42 inches x 21½ inches: Fold your fabric in half, lining up the selvages. Measure 21 inches from the fold, and cut. Then cut the left edge, measure 21½ inches and cut the right edge.

Mark the corner, photo

3. In each corner opposite the fold, mark a line that is ¾ inches from the top and 1¾ inches long. Sew along this line, backstitching at the ends.

Folding the seam down, photo

4. Fold over at the seam and press each side down.

Seams folded down, photo

It will look like this.

Measure and pin, photo

5. Place the zipper upside-down on top of the seam, about 1 inch from the edge. Pin in place.

6. Lock down one side by sewing perpendicular to the zipper, about ½ inch long, just before the zipper stop. Sew back and forth a few times.

Sew on the zipper, photo

7. Unzip the zipper. Using your zipper foot on the left side, sew along the left side of the zipper, ¼ inch from the edge, lining up the edge of the teeth with the edge of the fabric. When you get close to the end, put your needle in the down position, lift the presser foot, and zip the zipper closed. Then put the presser foot back down, and keep sewing to the end.

8. Move your zipper foot to the right side, and repeat step #7 for the right side of the zipper. Then lock down the opposite end in place by repeating step #6.

Pillow case turned right side out, photo

9. This is how it looks turned right-side-out. Not perfect, but not bad for my first try. Turn it inside-out again.

Sew the left and right seams, photo

10. Unzip the zipper. Sew the left and right seams the entire length with a ½-inch seam allowance.

Finished pillow cover, photo

11. Turn the cover right-side-out and insert your Ikea inner cushion. You’re done!

Crafty Nest easy pillow cover with zipper Pinterest image

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Made this project? Email your photo(s) to monica (at) craftynest (dot) com, and I’ll share your version here!