What's something Craftster means to me? Going for it! I can freeze up with fear of failure but this site has really helped me be okay (or more okay) with making mistakes and "never speak of this again" projects. I always learn something at least! Learning is awesome!
To represent this, I sewed up this pillow and put in a zipper.
I LOVE pillows (former swap partners, you know that ) and I LOVE Halloween (ditto last comment) and I LOVE zippers! Several pillow covers ago I went looking for tutorials on making deep laps (the fold of fabric hiding the zipper.) I found a mention of using a blind hem to do so. That sounded cool! There were no pics or directions or anything but I liked the idea and went for it! It's become 2nd only to invisible zippers for me!
Since this post is more about the pillow and how it's closed, not the Halloween theme, I thought it fit best here with home decor.
The front is done with reverse appliqué (here's a great tutorial on it.) I did the lettering and drew the pumpkin shape (eventually- so not an artist) on paper then traced it onto the press and seal. The brown fabric is on the bottom, orange in the middle and black on top. The colors are off in the pictures. I'm still working on photography.
I know some people fear zippers so I made up this little tutorial as well. Don't fear the zipper!
Decide what size pillow you want. Generally your pillow cover should end up the same size to 1" smaller than your pillow form. This helps the stuffing fill the corners and such better making for a nice, plump pillow with minimal limp "wings" at the corners.
Plan for a 1/2" seam allowance. If you do reverse appliqué or piecing or something else fiddly, leave lots of extra material for squaring later.
Get a zipper at least a couple inches longer than what your pillow will end up being. It makes life so much easier.
Make your front. Have fun!
Now cut 2 pieces of fabric for the back leaving extra for squaring, positioning and cutting if using a serger to finish.
I have them marked with blue-headed pins so I can tell the right side from the wrong (blue=b=back. Yeah, even plain fabric can have a right and wrong side.)
They should be the same width (or height, depending on if you want the zipper running from top to bottom or side to side) of your pillow front. On this 16" pillow planned to finish at 15" the lapped side ended up using about 10 and 3/4" and the other about 11 and 1/2" not including the bit shaved off by the serger knife in the next step. Having the lap fall before the middle of the pillow helps avoid gaping.
Edge finish sides where the zipper will be attached. That's 1 side finish per back piece. There are tons of options for finishes out there. I'm fortunate to have a serger so I used it.
Okay, now pin the zipper to one of the back pieces (top or bottom, doesn't matter unless you absolutely want the zipper pull to end up on a certain side and are using 1-way fabric.)
Right sides together, remember. And line up the long edge of the zipper with the finished edge of the fabric.
Slap a zipper foot on your sewing machine and stitch away.
Don't have a zipper foot? You can still do this method of insertion. See next steps.
As you can kind of see (the little arrow is helping to point it out) there is a space between the stitching and the zipper teeth. The fabric can pull away and reveal that zipper tape! Noooo! This will probably be an even bigger gap if you didn't use a zipper foot! Double nooooo!
But no worries.
Roll the fabric up to close the gap.
Sew! If you don't have a zipper foot, you might want to do this step by hand using some sort of unnoticeable-from-the-outside stitch.
Yay!!!! All closed up!
Now repeat for side #2.
Remember to close the gap as well.
Onto the blind hemming bit.
Fold down your side to be lapped so the fold is even with your edge finish. Press. (you've been pressing all this time, right?)
Then fold the fabric back up about 2 and 1/4" below the last fold. This is the lap part of the lapped zipper!
Roll back to give yourself room to sew beside this roll. Don't press! Really!
Go over to your machine and change your presser foot to a regular one. Flip the stitch type to blind hem.
It looks like "C". The straight stitches will go along on the fabric beside the roll while the zig-zags will get the roll. You'll want to test this out on some scraps first to get the hang of it and/or to make sure your fabric will unroll (see below.) If you look up blind hem, it's the same thing. The only difference here is the zipper.
Blind hem away!
When you get all done, roll out the rolled part so it lays flat.
Cool, huh? I LOVE this stitch. Works great for curvy hems and all sorts of other stuff too.
Remember to iron.
Now you've got your zipper inserted! Your back pieces have joined as one. Pin it to your pillow's front (right sides together) and square up!
You'll need to unzip your zipper a few inches to turn your pillow right side out. To keep the unzipped part close together for sewing (and future zipping) I pin the sides down then sneak my hand inside the front and back and unzip. Don't cut the zipper even with the rest yet to avoid any possible headaches.
Now sew around the whole thing. Twice if you weren't paying quite enough attention Backstitch over the zipper to really secure it. Stitch and backstitch zipper again 1/8" away (on seam allowance) to really, really secure it.
Reduce stitch length as you come to the corners. This gives it extra strength. If I was never going to see the inside of this again (like for a lined bag) I would trim the corners differently, but since I'm not going to be closing this pillow forever (that's why I'm putting in a zipper!) and will be serging to finish, I just cut off a triangle.
Trim the zipper to right next to the on-the-seam-allowance stitching so you keep both lines. You don't want that zipper coming loose but you also don't want the bulk and, if you're serging, you don't want to go serging over those teeth (creates lumps and your knife will be disgruntled.)
Finish the edges. Serge/zig-zag/whatever down each side.
See how the serger caught the zipper end but the knife didn't have to cut it? You can't? Well, trust me, that's what happened. The lighting in my crafting area is not the best as you picked up in the other in progress pics.
If serging, I like to leave nice, long tails of serge then tie them so the corners come together all nice and pointy.
Go ahead and turn it right side out, slip in a pillow form...
...zip it up...
...And there's your lovely, neat and tidy back!