Part of getting settled into our new home has been sewing a seemingly endless parade of pillows. I’ve been keeping them pretty simple since a) I needed to make a ton of them and b) I can still go back and add fancy pillows later. However, I couldn’t quite content myself with just sewing squares, so my pillows all have piping around the edge and an invisible zipper so that the covers can easily be removed for washing. Since I instagrammed a finished pillow, folks asked how I sewed the piping, so here’s the answer!
Start by cutting squares of fabric for your pillows. I’m using a luscious cotton I bought in Thailand, but it’s a pretty loose weave so I serged the edges. If your fabric doesn’t ravel much, finishing the edges isn’t necessary since they will be well hidden inside the pillow. Tip: cut the fabric 1-2″ smaller than the size of your pillow form. This will make your pillow look well stuffed instead of slightly deflated.
Sew piping all around the edges of one square. Since this is just a pillow, the seam allowance doesn’t need to be exact, so I just line the edge of the piping up with the edge of the fabric. Use your zipper foot to get your needle as close to the piping as possible. This example is with ready-made piping, but most of the pillows I sewed with my own piping. Since this piping isn’t easing around any curves, it doesn’t need to be cut on the bias so it’s super simple to make your own – just cut strips of fabric 1″ to 1 1/2″ wide and fold it in half with a piece of cording down the middle.
Tip: Bring each corner in a bit. You can see the flat, it doesn’t make a perfect square to bring the corners in a little, but when you put the pillow form into the finished pillow case, it will make your pillow look square instead of ending up with corners that kinda poke out like ears.
When you start and stop the piping, allow it to gently angle from the seam line to the edge of the fabric so that you get an overlap for a join that is minimally visible. Snip the fabric on the piping at the corners to allow it to relax.
Use an invisible zipper that is the length of a side of your pillow. With the right sides facing together, sew the zipper to one side of the pillow.
When I sew down the zipper, I usually make a first pass that just anchors the zipper in place and then a second pass that is close to the invisible zipper. (I know this isn’t the most elegant way to install an invisible zip, but it’s fast and easy and on a project like the bottom of a pillow where it’s hidden by piping, it does the trick just fine).
Sew the other side of the invisible zipper right sides together with the other square of fabric.
Lay the squares right sides together on top of each other and sew them together. You will need to use your zipper foot to sew right up against the piping. When you get to the start and stop of the zipper (shown on the right side of this picture), sew around the curve and down the side a half inch or so.
Turn the pillow case right side out and stuff in a pillow form. Voila!