Putting a Zipper in a Pillow

We were at Goodwill last week and while turning down an aisle, Redding started shouting, “A Thomas! A Thomas!” And on top of one of the clothes racks (I always forget to look up there because it’s above eye level for me) was a fleecy Thomas the Tank Engine Pillow. Redding wanted it so bad, and after a glance at the price sticker I threw it in the buggy. $0.99. Heck Yes. The day before we were at Target and they had some Thomas pillows for $20 and $30. So Hurray for thrifting!

The Thomas pillow had a couple white milk spots on it and it was pilling a bit on the black parts. But it was in good shape otherwise. I decided to make this pillow into a zippered slipcover so I wouldn’t have to worry when it gets dirty or something gets spilled or peed on it (which will happen). I ransacked my stash of zippers and found a 20″ white poly zipper that was perfect. The pillow is 17″ across, so I just needed to shorten the zipper.

I started by ripping out the seam in the top seam of the pillow where I wanted the zipper to go, and threw away the old stuffing.. I washed and dried the pillow inside out. With the pillow still inside out, I backstitched over the ends of the original seam at the left and right of the pillow and sewed around the corners and in across the top seam by about 3/4″ to give the zipper somewhere to anchor.

I pinned the zipper in place where I wanted it to go and basted it in place using black thread so that I could see it easily. I took out the pins hen and unzipped the zipper so I could sew in the zipper without the sliding part of the zipper getting in the way.

With the pillow right side out, I used my zipper foot to secure the zipper down each side, and then handstitched the ends of the zipper in place. Move the gliding part of the zipper out of the way while sewing. Cut off the excess zipper at the tail end and melt the edges of the zipper with a candle or lighter so it doesn’t unravel.

I mentioned the black felt parts of the pillow had pilled, so I used my scissors and carefully cut away the pills. I cut a bit too deeply on one part and left a little bald patch in the felt, so I touched it up with black sharpie and no one’s the wiser. I used one of Redding’s bed pillows and stuffed the pillow with it.

And Redding was very happy 🙂

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