How To: Pillow with a zipper and piping

Summer is over, my friends. Sob. You know what that means? It's time to kick velvet toolbox back into high gear and get busy with some home projects! As you know, I made it my challenge this year to learn how to sew. One of my first projects for this fall is to sew pillows for the living room sofa (which, by the way, is still nice and white!). Instead of doing basic pillows, I decided to push myself and make ones with piping and zipper enclosures. Using my trusted Google search skills, I found an extremely helpful tutorial by noelle o designs.

At first glance, I felt overwhelmed by all the steps and concerned I would muck it up so I decided to practice with scrap fabric. I bought duck feather pillow inserts (only $7 at IKEA!) so that I could get some karate chop action goin on when styling the pillows (if you don't know what I'm talking about, keep reading). I also got some welting cord from the local fabric store to make the piping. Everything else, I already had at home.

My first attempt was not a colossal failure but was far from perfect. The piping was too loose, I messed up the ends of the zipper and the piping didn't reach all the way around the pillow. I practiced some more on small scraps of fabric until I was happy with the end result. I also re-read the tutorial and noticed some tips that I missed the first time.

I made a second practice pillow and it was nearly perfect, but again I messed up the zipper, and the piping ends didn't finish up nicely.

For the third attempt, I decided to use one of the real fabrics. And....drum roll....what a beauty!!

Pillow with Piping

Notice the indentation at the center of the pillow? That, my friends, is what we in the design world refer to as the karate chop! It helps fluff up the pillow, but keep in mind that you can't really get the same results with regular cotton or synthetic inserts.

Pillow, fabric detail

Zipper Detail

Piping Detail

Practice really does make perfect and I noticed that I feel A LOT more comfortable with the sewing machine now. I can thread the machine really quickly, my lines are consistently straight, and I feel like I am actually in control of the sewing machine for the first time ever.

1 pillow down, 4 more to go! It took me about 2.5 hours to make the pillow, so my goal now is to become a lot more efficient which each new pillow I sew. Yay me!