Ah, the invisible zipper. At first glance, it looks intimidating and daunting. But we're here to bust that myth — not only are they NOT hard to install, you can easily sew an invisible zipper into a pillow in just 4 easy steps thanks to this tutorial!
The beauty of the invisible zipper is that you won't see it, if it's installed correctly. This makes it a common finish in pillows as well as garments. The teeth of the zipper are very fine, and the invisible zipper foot on your machine allows you to sew right up against them, hiding the zipper tape inside your pillow.
Invisible Zipper Tutorial Supplies
- Starling quilt pattern (that's what I'm using in this tutorial, but lots of Suzy Quilts patterns include pillow instructions)
- Front and back panel for your pillow according to the pillow pattern
- Invisible Zipper the same length as the bottom of your pillow (it can be longer and still work - we'll show you how to trim the excess in this tutorial!) Be sure to buy a zipper that is labeled as invisible.
- Iron & ironing board
- Wonder Clips
- Temporary marking tool
- Simple sewing machine
- Invisible zipper foot for your sewing machine
Before we get started, I need to gush a little bit over the fabric I'm using. I am typically not a "groovy pastels" kind of girl, but let me tell you, this AGF collection, Flower Bloom completely won me over. That roller skates fabric literally brought me back to my childhood (mind you, I'm a 90's kid) and it was so fun to mix in a little flower power and rhythmic expression to coordinate.
I quilted my front and back panels using wavy horizontal and vertical lines — is anybody else getting lava lamp vibes?
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Step 1: Press the Invisible Zipper
First, unzip your invisible zipper. Lay it out on your ironing board or pressing mat with the zipper up. Use your iron (on a low heat setting) to press the teeth away from the zipper tape so that they lay flat instead of curling up.
Repeat for the other side of the zipper. This step may seem silly, but I promise it makes the installation process easier and gives it a better finish!
Step 2: Attach the Zipper to the Front Panel
Next, lay your pillow's front panel right side up. Place your invisible zipper along the bottom edge right side down. The end of the zipper tape should be about 3" from the right edge of the panel.
Pin in place so that the edge of the zipper is aligned with the bottom edge of the panel. Make a mark on the zipper with an invisible marking tool 2" from the left edge.
With your invisible zipper foot installed on your machine, slip the zipper teeth into the left groove of the invisible zipper foot. Begin sewing approximately 1" from the end of your zipper (it's really not possible to get right up to the stop since the zipper pull blocks it.)
Backstitch to secure, then sew along the edge of the zipper, stopping at the mark you made on the other end of the zipper. Backstitch to secure.
Step 3: Attach the Zipper to the Back Panel
Next, place your back panel right sides together with your front panel, aligning the edges. Then, pin the other side of the invisible zipper to the edge of the back panel, as shown above.
Make a mark on your zipper where your seam started on the front panel. This mark is where you'll start sewing for the back panel. On the other end, make a mark on the other side of the zipper aligned with the original mark. This is where you'll stop sewing. Use your invisible zipper foot to attach the zipper to the back panel just like you attached it to the front panel in Step 2.
Step 4: Sew The Pillow Closed
This is the last step in the invisible zipper tutorial! Whaaat? YES! You're nearly finished!
First things first, let's deal with the excess zipper overhang. Zip your zipper halfway shut. Bend the extra zipper tape down at a 45° angle on both ends of the zipper, and stick a pin in it to hold it in place.
See where your seam from installing the zipper begins and ends? Those are the spots where we will begin and end sewing around the perimeter of the pillow. Starting on the lefthand side, backstitch several times to reinforce, then sew around the perimeter of the pillow using a 1/2" seam allowance.
When you get back to the other point on the other end of the zipper, backstitch in place a few times to reinforce. Be sure not to sew into the invisible zipper or the overhang.
Trim the excess zipper tape about 1/4" from the marked line.
Clip the corners to reduce bulk.
Turn your pillow cover right side out, pop in the pillow insert, and zip that dazzling invisible zipper closed! See? That wasn't so hard! With this new skill in your toolbox, I'm sure you'll find many other projects to try it out on.