The Dreaded ZIPPER!

Designs By Donna Zipper

……is not so dreaded after all

During my 20 plus years upholstering  pieces of furniture I have sewn many a zipper.  Creating a zipper boxing for cushions is  a fairly straight forward task.  Two pieces of fabric and one zipper straight stitched between the two.   However, putting a zipper into a pillow along a piece of cording does take a bit more skill and when it comes to invisible zippers, well that is a whole different ball game!  Having the chance to work with Donna when she agreed to teach at the Sewing and Upholstery Retreat and seeing her zipper techniques made me think that, Wow, there are many ways to approach this task and lots of things to think about.  So…. wanting to make sure and get the word out I asked Donna to share her knowledge with all of you.  Please take a minute to read her guest blog post below and when your done hop on over to her website and take a look at her talents.

Zippers in Pillows

 Written by Donna Cash/Designs by Donna

Designs By Donna

I love designing and fabricating pillows for my clients. There are so many options for pillow size,
shape, style, trims and embellishments that no two pillows need be alike.  This allows me to create
pillow collections for the client’s bedroom, living room, or sitting room. So many options, so much fun!
However, with all the different options, there is one common element in almost all pillows. The
zipper. I have talked with some folks who will walk away from pillow fabrication all together because of the dreaded zipper. Other’s choose to hand stitch the pillow closed and not deal with zippers
at all.  Can you relate?
Zippers Donna Cash
I learned to embrace zippers early on in my custom soft goods career. Coming from a dressmaking background, I never found zipper insertion to be a problem.  I, and an assistant, worked on our zipper fabrication methods until we found the right techniques for our different pillow designs and which zipper type to use for each. We then documented our system for zippers in pillows. This allowed us to use the same zipper application each time we made the different pillow types, which sped up our fabrication time and increased our profits.
Using zipper chain and adding zipper pulls allows you to make the exact size zipper you need
each time.  This is also more cost effective than purchasing individual zippers.  Choose the zipper type
and size appropriate for your project and keep those in stock. We keep nylon coil zipper chain in both
regular and invisible on hand for the different types of pillows we fabricate. A #4.5 regular zipper and a
#3 invisible zipper is what we use for most of our pillows.
zipper sizes
What does the size number refer to?  The zipper teeth are measured in MM. The teeth on a
#4.5 zipper measure 4.5MM while the teeth in a #3 invisible zipper measure 3MM.  Check out the size 30 zipper below. How do you like that?
Check out the #30
We use invisible zippers in knife edge pillows, bolster pillows, and in boxed pillows where no trim is used in the seam.
Zipper with no trim in seam
Lapped zippers are used when pillows have brush fringe in the seam and the zipper needs to be inserted above the seam.
Lapped Zippers Designs by Donna
When pillows have decorative braid cord, the zipper application we use is what we call our zipper next to decorative braid cord.
Decorative Braid and Trim
A bound zipper is a dress maker application. These take a little more ti
me to insert and we like to use contrasting fabrics to make the zipper an embellishment. However, these are also functioning zippers.
Decorative but functioning Zippers
You will find that once you understand the fundamentals of zipper insertion, you can
experiment with breaking the rules as I did in these pillows.
Fun Pillow Details
Thanks for taking the time to read my guest blog post,
Designs by Donna,  Atlanta Georgia

       Wow, Thanks You Donna for sharing that great information.  Now that we all know zippers can be fun and not just functional.  Please take the time to check out Donna’s website and see what else she has to offer.

For more detailed information on this topic, Donna has an e-book for sale on her website. You may find it
If you are interested in finding out about Donna’s  hands on seminars, speaking to groups or private instruction.  contact her by email:  for  more information

Thanks for reading the blog and I’ll see you on the inside!