Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How To Make Pillows With A Trim Edge & Zipper Closure

After posting the "Really, It's Not That Hard To Make Pillows" tutorial, here and here, I received a few questions asking why I didn't use zippers, hand stitching the opening closed instead.

Oh, zippers. I have a thing about zippers. (And not in a good way!) I designed and manufactured a line of clothing for over 12 years...sewing many a sample and sometimes correcting problems with various production runs before shipping. Why did the issues so often have to do with the zippers being put in wrong? I will now avoid sewing a zipper at all costs!

But here goes. I promised one reader I would do a pillow tutorial using an invisible zipper, and I figured while I was at it I would also add a welt made from one of the two fabrics. It was certainly more work than following my simple pillow tutorial, but I have to say...the end result is so nice will I ever be able to revert to my old ways and make a plain pillow? Probably not, shoot!


Supplies: fabric (use one fabric or two coordinating styles), pillow insert, zipper, cording for welt, thread and an invisible zipper.


Measure the height and width of the pillow insert and add one inch to each measurement. In this case my insert measured 12 x 16 inches, so I cut the fabric into13 x 17 inch pieces.


Next, to determine the length of fabric needed to make the welt trim, add together the measurements of the four finished sides: 12 + 12 + 16 + 16 = 56 inches. Add an inch to this measurement and cut a strip of fabric this length by 1 1/2 inches wide. (Mine was cut 1 1/2 x 57 inches.)

While there are endless styles of trim that can be used, I chose to make a self-welt using the ivory fabric selected to cover the backside of the pillow.


Lay the cording onto the wrong side of the fabric strip, fold the fabric over right side out, and stitch a seam down the length, encasing the cording to create the welt. Begin and end the stitching 1/2 inch from the cut ends.


Afterwards sew the two cut ends together to create a continuous loop and then stitch this section closed to completely encase the cording.


Place the welt around the outer edges of the fabric that is to become the topside of the pillow.


Stitch the welt to the fabric, running the stitch as close to cording as possible using a zipper foot.


Ah, then it is time for the zipper. Lay the front and back layers of the pillow right sides together. Beginning at the outer edges, stitch towards center, leaving a section open the length of the zipper to be sewn in. Then lay out the fabric, wrong side facing up. Pin one side of the zipper in place and stitch along zipper coil the length of the zipper.


Repeat these steps, pinning the other side of the zipper in place and stitch down the opposite side of the zipper coil.


Then pin the remaining three sides, right sides together, and sew together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.


Trim the corners and turn the pillow right side out.


Press with an iron if necessary and insert the pillow. Done!



Is this something you have done, will try...or leave to someone else?!

This project is attending Judy's linky party at DIY by Design!

123 comments :

  1. Your pillow looks gorgeous- I think I might need to invest in sewing machine just so I can make pillows- fabulous tutorial- thanks!!

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  2. Thank you for posting this Janell! I'm hoping to make pillows this weekend, and this tutorial is great!

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  3. I've done a few with a zipper, butn ever done welting. Not bad, but I would much prefer to have it done at a workroom. Mine never seem to have that professional look.

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  4. Thank you for posting this - you make it look so easy! Your pillow is gorgeous.

    I have mastered zippers, but cannot seem to master welting. Mine always goes wrong and looks wonky. Will keep trying though, using your tutorial.

    If you don't mind me asking, where do you get your beautiful graphic fabric? I've been looking for something similar in green and white/cream for ages.

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  5. It is totally on my to do list, I have my mom's hand me down quilting sewing machine that I still need to figure out. It could get ugly! Your instructions leave me with hope:)
    s

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  6. Perfect! Your pillow looks great. Thanks so much for the clear instructions and pictures, I will be making one soon!

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  7. You make it look so easy that I want to try it! = )

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  8. I am a novice sewer so I used velcro for my pillows. The velcro runs through the middle of the pillow, so there is definitely a front and back, but great for those who do not want to tackle a zipper...no tutorial, just pics..
    http://thebasic2beautifulhome.blogspot.com/2010/12/two-down6-to-go.html

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  9. You always do such great pillows and your tutorials are so easy to comprehend.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

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  10. excellent tutorial..it looks so easy..
    and the pillows look beautiful..how long did it take for you to sew this pillow from start to finish, cutting out the fabric to stuffing the pillow insert in?..
    maureen

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  11. I have no problem sewing zippers - it's welts that I am deathly afraid of!!! I think I'll leave those to the experts :)

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  12. Great question about how long it took. It took a total of 2 hours, which seemed like a long time because I was thinking if I had gone the simple route it would have taken under an hour. AND, I only did ONE, I wasn't feeling very patient!

    Janell

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  13. Janell, you are an answered prayer. I'm planning to attempt this very soon! What size cording is that?

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  14. Fabric Link: Robert Allen Cats Cradle, I used the Papaya colorway.

    http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/search.htm?Ntk=primary&Ntt=cats+cradle&Nty=1&D=cats+cradle&Ntx=mode+matchall&Dx=mode+matchall

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  15. I've never sewed a zipper on before but after seeing how you did it I think I can do it myself. I'm planning on making a slipcover and need a zipper for the cushion. Your tutorials are the best! Thanks.

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  16. i love that you come up with pillow with ziopper this time.
    Love the color seems like welcoming the Spring, can't wait for it though ;)

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial with all this beautiful pillows that I've seen which is pretty pricey.

    I will probably try this myself.

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  17. thanks for this! i have made one zippered pillow, but this will help me make the next one a little more professional looking! :)

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial Janell. I've attempted trim on pillows before, but never zippers. Your easy to follow tutorial gives me a little faith!

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  19. Too advanced for me. But if you start selling pillows, I will buy one from you! Very pretty.

    oxox, Mon

    http://www.splendidwillow.com

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  20. Wow! This is something I'd typically leave to someone else... but you make it look so easy! I have my grandmother's sewing machine and my goal, after our bathroom renovation, is to learn how to use it!! Thanks for the tutorial! xo

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  21. That is a fabulous tutorial! Congrats on overcoming your fear of zippers! Thanks so much for sharing - I will definitely try this!

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  22. wow, you just made it look so easy! amazing!

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  23. Great tutorial. I've made lots of pillows but never used a zipper. I usually go with the envelope back...but the pillows can't be reversible then. I have a brand new blog so I'm just learning all the blogging ropes. Your blog is full of wonderful information. Thanks!

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  24. I can make a pillow with cording but that dang zipper looked like greek to me...:) Certainly not your tutorial but my "simple" brain.....you do make it look easy though!

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  25. Excellent, concise tutorial. Pillows are easy, people! The hard part is choosing the fabric!

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  26. I need one of them fancy rulers you've got there. That MUST be the secret, lol!

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  27. I try to avoid zippers also - mostly because they usually involve another trip to the fabric store! This is a great tutorial - thanks.

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  28. Yes, I've had this square since studying fashion design, I use it ALL the time in projects! And the cording is 1/4 inch diameter.

    Janell

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  29. Hi Janell ! Danke für dein Blog ! Ich lasse mich jeden Tag inspirieren ! xoxo from Austria! margaretha

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  30. Great tutorial! I haven't done one with welting or a zipper I've always been intimidated by them but I may just have to give it a try thanks to this post! :)

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  31. Great tutorial, yes I have done the zipper, usually just use the cording and then blind stitch them shut. I hate zippers. Hugs, Marty

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  32. This is something I think I would leave to someone else, but sure would love to try. I am getting better with my sewing machine, so I may give it a shot. Your tutorial makes it look easy enough...but it still intimidates me for some reason. :D

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  33. Your new pillow looks great and I have to agree, that you make it look so easy! I am definitely going to try one...now I just have to make a decision about fabric (always my hardest part).

    Thanks for the tutorial!

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  34. i am going to give this one a try, i have always wanted to sew a pillow with piping and a zipper, so fancy!

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  35. I've been wanting to learn how to put zippers in my throw pillows. So helpful! Thanks Janell!

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  36. You make sewing look so effortless. Love that pillow.

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  37. You make it looks so easy. Zippers are the bane of my existence.

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  38. I've made the simplest kind of pillows - w/o trim and a zipper, but I'm dying to try your tutorial!! It looks fairly straightforward! I probably just jinxed myself saying that....:)

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  39. I avoided using zippers for the longest time. Now that I use them I will never go back to hand sewing pillows closed again. Very nicely written tutorial.

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  40. Janell!
    Thank you so much for your encouragement today, and for visiting Fieldstone Hill! It is my dream to pursue online interiors!
    I am so thrilled to learn about your blog. It is stunning. Simply stunning.
    Off to snoop around. It looks as though I have much to learn from your beautiful style.
    - {darlene}
    www.fieldstonehilldesign.com

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  41. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I'm definitely bookmarking it for later. My mom gave me money for my birthday to buy a sewing machine because I've always wanted to learn how to sew. My question is, for a beginner, what should I look for in a sewing machine? Any brands that you prefer? Love your blog :)

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  42. Thank you so much for posting this wonderful tutorial. I'm just getting into sewing and I needed this! I'm a very visual learner so the step by step with photos makes me happy! Thanks again!

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  43. It is something I would try, but not so sure mine would come out looking as fabulous as yours. I love that Robert Allen fabric!

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  44. Thank you so much! Your tutorial came at such a perfect time! You are such an inspiration!!

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  45. Oh, sewing machine brands! I've had my sewing machine for...ouch...20 plus years?! I would suggest you go to a store such as Joann fabrics or another store that carries several machines and see if you can try the various ones to see which feels best. I'm not a huge fan of all the bells and whistles and having it be computerized,(unless you plan to do some fancy stitch work) but make sure you select a machine that is heavy duty enough to handle all types of fabric. Mine is a Bernina, it has been put through the test and still going strong.

    Janell

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  46. Gorgeous! You make it look sew easy! ;)

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  47. I love to sew and have avoided zippers since a formal dress went wrong in my high school sewing class. Maybe it's time to get back on the horse. Nice tutorial.

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  48. Bless you! I knew I should try and tackle welt(ing?) but now I'm not afraid. Another question: you said yours was 1/4 inch and you cut the piece of fabric 1-1/2 inches wide. Is there any "rule" as to how to figure it if you use a different size welting?)

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  49. Janell! I just mastered the other pillow tutorial and now I have to learn this one! Grr.. :)

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  50. I just made some pillows for my friend with fringe but when my mom came over to put in the zipper the fabric plus the trim was to thick to fold, UGH! I had to hand stitch it closed which I am pretty bad at. I'm getting ready to do some for myself, but I'm leaving the zipper for my mom to do. I haven't gotten the hang of the zipper thing yet! I would like to know if you cut the fabric on the bias for the welting, please say no.

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  51. THANK YOU for posting this! I have been looking and looking for a good and simple tutorial on this exact type of pillow and haven't had much luck. Great job! Yours ended up looking very high quality and I can't wait to make one.. maybe tonight even! Thanks!

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  52. Thanks so much Janell! I'll definitely go to JoAnn's and give em a try :)

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  53. Love your tutorial. I can sew a pillow like this but would have made it seem soooooo much harder than you have. Carol

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  54. When I use piping, I use my zipper foot, which really helps to get the line right up close to it.

    I *can* do zips but I'm still a bit scared of them. My friend's always laugh at me because I do harder things than zips!! But for some reaason they just freak me out!!!

    Your tutorial was great though, perhaps just the thing to get my rear in gear zip-wise!

    Sarahx

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  55. Hi Janell,
    Great tutorial. I do my zippers a little different. I baste stitch the right sides together, iron the seam open, lay the zipper upside down centered over the seam, and using the zipper foot, stitch down the zipper on each side of the zipper coil. Then I go back and using my seam ripper open up the seam the zipper was sewed on. It does show the stitching on the right side of the fabric after the pillow is completed. But I just have that side down when the new pillow is placed on my couch or chair.
    I need to try your method to get the zipper completely invisible.
    Today would be good if I only had my supplies on hand. I'm stuck in the house due to a little snow outside!!!

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  56. Ha! I just bought 6 zippers this morning for new pillows. I typically do zippers just like Mary mentioned. But I think your tutorial looks great and will try it your way. BTW I am also referring to your drapery tutorial for fourteen (ugh!) drapes in our sunroom. Thanks so much!

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  57. Thank you for the fantastic tutorial. I am just learning to sew and bought some great pillow fabric. I can't wait to try it.

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  58. Yowzers, the end result is gorgeous!! I've only ever tried the simple sew method with a hand-stitched closure, but you make it look so easy (and fabulous!) that I might just have to try this out. It would certainly upgrade my pillows dramatically! Thanks for the great tutorial.

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  59. You have impeccable timing! I just wrote about how welts & zippers are the next items on my list of sewing skills to master. Thanks for the great tutorial, I can't wait to try it!

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  60. You seem to make everythign you touch so easy! I love this tutorial and I cant wait to try it!!

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  61. Oh, you brave soul! I too avoid zippers at all costs but have yet to try an invisible zipper on pillows. Thanks for the tutorial, I think I will try this on the next pillow. Now if I can only get a match for a fabric back to my change mai!

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  62. I'm so late!!! You know, I purchased a sewing machine during the Black Friday sales and it is still in my garage... I think I'm just too scared to try it! I first have to try your tutorial for window treatments. Then I'll try your "simple" pillow tutorial. You make everything look so easy!

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  63. Mary, excellent advice!! This is an approach to putting in a zipper that I used to use, before impatience hit and I knew I could just sew them in without basting. But for anyone first starting out...great way to go!!!

    Lakeitha, you bought a machine? Did I know? Well, don't be too intimidated and remember, I've probably only sewn a 1000 or two items in my life, so I should be able to make it look easy!!!

    Janell

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  64. This is soooooo awesome! I am definitely going to have to try this the next time I make some pillows!

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  65. Looks amazing and great tutorial! I really need to learn to sew!

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  66. Adorable! I love the fabric choice, too. Great tutorial. I need to brush up on my sewing skills!

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  67. That's Fantastic!!!!! I never knew how to sew the piping! Thanks so much for the tutorial! LOVE IT! You always put my sewing skills to shame :)

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  68. Your pillow looks gorgeous and your tutorial is very thorough. I have always wanted to figure out how to do a zipper on a pillow. I am going to try this. I have one question - When you sewed the first side of the zipper on, do you have the zipper opened or closed? Thanks. Don't forget the link is open for my first party. You should so link this project. It's really a great tutorial.

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  69. Well, that is an excellent tutorial and very easy to follow. I am keeping this for when I do learn to sew. Great fabric, too! I actually went looking for a machine, Janell. I came home empty handed. I got so overwhelmed and intimidated by all of the computerized functions. I want something very basic. I guess I am old fashioned. I could not find one.

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  70. Thank you so much for linking up to my first party. I really appreciate your support.

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  71. Thanks so much for the tutorial! i can't wait to try it!
    Do you prewash your fabrics? i see that everywhere...
    also what find of fabric did you use for the back of the pillows? i can't seem to find anything heavy enough. Thanks!

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  72. Note to self- must learn to sew. Love the fabric and you make it look so easy!

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  73. Back in the days when I had a bit of a pillow-making obsessions, I could never, ever get the welt right. I think in England it's called piping, but whatever the name, it used to drive me crackers. You make it so blissfully easy!

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  74. Hi Janell, I admire anyone who takes the time to make their own piping! You go girl. This pillow turned out so nice. I scanned all the other comments, but I didn't see any mention of where you found this great fabric.

    Warmly, Michelle

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  75. The fabric is Robert Allen's Cats Cradle in Papaya, I purchased it from www.onlinefabricstore.net

    There are several colors available!

    Janell

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  76. cute pillow on that settee. Love that orange!

    and might I say this is a very useful tutorial. I'll be coming back here to view it again (as i don't retain this stuff too well until after I've done it a few times!)
    thanks for posting it!

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  77. Thank you for always answering questions and being so generous with your information. Glad you told me the fabric colours, I would never have guessed yours was the papaya, it looks so different on their site/my computer.
    They also have the green I was looking for - yay!

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  78. The fabric used on the welt and back is from Calico Corners, 'Brandywine Duck' in Natural. Here is the (long) link!

    http://www.calicocorners.com/p2p/searchResults.do?method=view&search=basic&keyword=Brandywine+Duck&sortby=priceAscend&page=1

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  79. Oh my goodness, great job and that pillow looks just perfect there! I will probably leave this to the pros though! I can barely sew straight seams ;-)

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  80. great tutorial! I've made many pillows over the years - loving your fabric choice :)

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  81. your sewing skills are amazing and you make it look so easy! this pillow is perfect...

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  82. Good looking pillow ! I often refer customers to Better Homes & Garden web site, they have a tutorial on making welt cord. It is more effective to make it on the bias, so that it lays better on the curves/ corners of the pillow.

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  83. Janell, it turned out beautifully, of course! Love the fabric choice too! Thanks for the explanation on the cording too. Linking to our diy projects list, k?
    Shannon
    {aka}|design

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  84. I've been so afraid of zippers... maybe this step by step guide will help me finally break through! Thank you, Janell!

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  85. so glad i found your blog - once i get a new sewing machine i just might try pillows with welts - skipping the zipper though.

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  86. Dear Janell,
    I've been visiting your inspiring blog daily ever since I discovered it in 2009. Dont think I need to tell you what a great decorator you are! your sewing projects really wanna make try my hand at making my own stuff and if you could please tell me what features i should be looking for in a sewing machine. i'm looking into getting one. mind telling me what you're using? i havent sewn before but would love to try out all your tutorials! Cheers :)

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  87. This is so helpful! Thanks Janell!! I think I might make the EXACT same pillow, I love how it turned out. :)

    Morgan @ PDB

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  88. I don't like to sew zips either! And the piping is something I've been wanting to learn too. Fabulous post...I'm off to get my sewing machine out!

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  89. Janell,

    I wish I had this talent for crafts and sewing...
    The pillow turned out fantastic! Bravo!

    Kristine

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  90. Thanks to your directions, my pillows turned out perfectly! Thanks for posting!

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  91. Your pillow turned out lovely. Did you use a special invisible zipper foot or just the standard zipper foot that came with your Bernina? I also have a Bernina that I love. The invisible zipper package states I need to use a special foot. Do you ever wash your 100% cotton home decor fabric that says dry cleaning recommended?

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