pillows with cording and zippers

Each summer, I try to tackle one project that has pretty much scared me to death. Two years ago I attempted to make my own quilt, and last summer I reupholstered a pair of chairs. So far, I’m a big fan of this “tackle one scary thing each summer” method. I have more time to think through things and try again if I mess up, and it breaks up daunting tasks into more manageable chunks.

Since things are pretty crazy around here this summer (I’ll share more details later), I opted for a smaller (but still scary) project: making pillows with coordinating piping and zippers.

I’ve made my own pillow covers several times before- some with zippers, some with envelope closures, but I wasn’t completely happy with how they looked, and the fact that people would instantly ask, “Did you make these?” drove me a little bit crazy.

Since our winter pillows in the living room were in need of a change, I decided to start with those.

First, I chose a fabric. I had been planning on incorporating black and white chevron into the living room via either pillows or a rug, because I liked how the bold, graphic pattern would stand out. However, when I starting browsing online and found this, I was kind of in love. The colors were exactly what we have in the living room, and it was a much softer version of what I had been planning.

So, I put it to a vote. The Angle girls were here visiting, so they all got to chime in. There ended up being a tie, but since Zach voted for blue and I’m in love with him, blue won. So glad it did.

The fabric is a great weight- sturdy, but not too thick, with a little bit of rough texture to it, and the natural stripes are basically the exact color of our sofa. Plus, the price was definitely something I could be happy about.

After doing my happy dance over the fabric, I finally bit the bullet and got to work. I started with making the cording- about a 7 on the “I’m super scared to sew this” scale. Thankfully, I used this amazing tutorial, and it was really pretty simple.

I used another tutorial from the same site to attach the cording. *I will say this: I am normally not a pinner (I’m a rebel like that), but I pinned like crazy on this project, and I think it really helped.

Although I’ve done zippers before, I was a little less confident dealing with piping and a zipper, so I used this (with a few of my own modifications) to coach me through it.

Yep, I’m starting to think that blogs are the best thing to happen to visual learners since…glasses.

And the final product…


The end result may not be perfect, but I was so excited to make pillows that looked more custom and professional than what we had previously been using. I’m still a fan of the envelope method for fast, easy knife-edge pillows, but I’m so happy to know that I’m capable of doing something like this. The other pillows in our house better watch out.



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