When I started working on the outdoor cushion covers, I realized that with the piping around the outside of the pillow adding a zipper to the bottom of the pillow would be harder. I wanted to find a way to hide the zipper in the back, which was how the original pillow cover was. I searched and found a great site that helped me out. I changed a few things along the way and thought it would be great to write my own tutorial as I worked on the throw pillows.

*** Edited to add: Please excuse the fact that there are two different fabrics in these pictures – after I wrote this tutorial I realized I wished I had more pictures! So the sizes and colors of fabrics vary in this post!

You will need a zipper longer than your pillow size. In this pillow I only used an 18″ zipper but it is easier if your zipper is longer.

The throw pillows measure 18″x 18″.  For each pillow I cut the following:

  • 1 square measuring 19″ x 19″
  • 1 rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • 1 rectangle measuring 16″ x 19″

Turn the 7″ x 19″ piece of fabric over so you see the back of the fabric. Draw a 1″ line along the 19″ side. Then at your ironing board, fold your fabric to the line creating a 0.5″ seam. Then fold over this new seam and iron so that the selvage is hiding inside this seam.


Turn the 16″ x 19″ over so you see the back of the fabric. This time draw a 2″ line along the 19″ side.  This will be the part that covers the zipper. Then at your ironing board, fold your fabric to the line creating a 1″ seam. Then fold over this new seam and iron.

Take your 7″ x 19″ piece of fabric and your zipper.  Place the 19″ piece alongside the bottom of the zipper, lining it up with the zipper teeth and pin.

Now take your 16″ x 19″ rectangle and open up the 1″ edge that we ironed earlier. Fold it over once and place over the top of the zipper. Pin it to the zipper. Then I sewed with my 1/4″ foot touching the edge of the fabrics.

Once the two pieces are sewn together, fold over that 1″ seam so that it covers the zipper. For an extra finishing touch, I sewed a top stitching line along the fold so that it would have a crisp edge.

You also want to top stitch 1″ from the last top stitched line you made. You can pin it in place if desired. I just eye balled it and sewed along the line (this is the top left picture). This will secure the flap in place so it does not flip open.

Next up is to lay the 19″ x 19″ piece of fabric on top of this zippered part and cut off any excess fabric with right sides together. I had about 0.75″ – 1″ extra.

two pieces together

If you are not adding piping to your pillow, pin around all the edges and sew with a 0.5″ seam allowance. Make sure you leave part of the zipper open or else you won’t be able to turn the pillow inside out! I also like to zigzag alongside the selvage to give it a more finished look. Once you are done sewing, clip the corners at a 45 degree angle to give the corners a more finished look.

Enjoy your pillow!

I am adding piping to this pillow, another blog post to follow.