Welcome back, everyone! Let’s zip up these pillows!

When we last left each other, you had just created your flap seam to attach your zipper, and made the switch from the regular foot to the zipper foot. Now we are going to sew it down.

Before we start, here are the two pieces of caution I will give you:

  • The only small headache you will have is navigating around the “tug” part on your zipper. It is going to be in your way for one small portion of your sewing, and you just need to be prepared for that.  It’s workable, and simple, and you’ll do it.
  • Always position and keep your needle a safe enough distance from the zipper teeth. Broken needles are unpleasant and not the safest thing to have happen.

However, those are the only two things to be aware of, and if you’re careful and take your time, you won’t have a problem.


Now that your zipper is laid flat facedown on your seam, centered, and pinned, let’s sew it.

Pick a spot about three-quarters of the way from the top of the zipper (when I say top, I assume that your “tug” part of the zipper is on the top), slide your fabric into the machine, and set your needle down at a spot safely to the right of the teeth like this…


Start stitching slowly, removing pins as necessary. Don’t cut it close – take out the pins well in advance of the needle getting there. Once you’ve sewn a bit, the zipper will stop moving, plus you can use your hands to keep it in place.

When you get to the edge of the zipper…


Stop stitching, raise the foot (not the needle, leave the needle) and turn your fabric 90 degrees.  Put the foot back down.  Sew the edge seam slowly, stopping at the spot where you will turn the fabric again (but don’t turn it yet). Backstitch that seam one time to make it extra secure. Then sew forward again before you raise your foot and do another 90 degree turn. Now you’re ready to come down the other side. Put your foot down and stitch (slowly) down the other side, being careful not to hit the teeth of course.

Now we’re going to navigate around the “tug” part.

Eventually, your needle is going to get close to the zipper’s “tug” part, and you can’t sew over or around it.  So when you’re about an inch away, stop sewing. We’re going to move the “tug.”

Raise your zipper foot (not the needle – it’s not necessary), and very gently and carefully, take your index finger, reach into the little space between the “tug” part and the fabric, and poke the “tug” part of the zipper away from you (towards the seams that you have already sewn). It takes some finessing, but you’ll find a sweet spot where, just like a zipper works, the “tug” part will start to zip/slide away from you, and end up in a spot where you have already sewn the seams on both sides of the zipper.

Like here…


At that point, the “tug” part is out of the way. Put your foot back down and sew the rest of the way around the zipper. When you arrive at the edge (two inches from the top), do the exact same thing as you did on the first edge (including turning your fabric, backstitching, etc.). Keep stitching until you have sewn all the way around your zipper.  It is now secured and you have just installed a zipper! Congratulations!

Now we are ready to rip out the original “basting” seam, sew the three remaining sides, iron our project, and insert our pillow forms. In other words, the FUN part!

Finishing Our Pillows

First thing’s first, remove the zipper foot and put the regular one back on. We’ll need that to sew the three remaining sides.

Flip your fabric over. See how awesome this looks?


Now we have to remove the basting stitches so we can actually use our zipper.

If you look at the fabric (right sides out), you will see a “rectangle” of stitches where we’ve installed the zipper. Go to the right side of the rectangle and insert your seamripper just inside of the rectangle. That should be where your first basting stitch starts. Work your seamripper under that first stitch.

Very, very gently, glide your seamripper through those basting stitches, stopping just shy of the opposite end of that rectangle. You will need to remove whatever thread is sticking out after you rip those seams. However, once they’re gone, you should have a fully functioning zipper.

Now it’s time to sew the three remaining sides.

IMPORTANT: Before you sew these three sides, make sure your zipper is partially open. If you sew the three sides together with a fully closed zipper, you will not be able to turn your pillow right side out and use it. And yes, I speak from experience.

With your partially open zipper, place your fabric right sides together, line them up, and sew your three remaining seams like so…


Once you’ve done that, you can clip extra fabric off the corners to avoid bunching (just be careful not to clip too close and make a hole). Cut all loose threads, etc.

Now turn your pillow inside out, and make one last trip to your ironing board for a nice finish.


And there you have it! Carefully insert your pillow forms and zip up!


Again, I hope to see you all at the golf outing, and I can’t wait to meet the lucky winner of these Golfer Throw Pillows. The Golf Classic is Monday, June 11, and there are still plenty of opportunities to participate. For more information, visit cancerhopenetwork.org/golf

Thank you all so much for joining me, and happy creating, crafting, and future zipping!