Welcome to our free Tips section. Below are some links about upholstery tips on how to do some upholstery works.
HOW TO INSTALL A ZIPPER IN A PILLOW.
Cut your zipper length about 1-2" from pillow plate corners. We use #4 aluminuim chain zipper. Put the slide on the proper end. Fold a piece of pillow fabric and sew far enough back across it to leave a small pocket to hide the zipper slide when the pillow is closed. Sew another fabric tab across the other end of the zipper.
Skip this step if your pillow has no welt. Center zipper piece to pillow plates. Start sewing at the plate's corner and the center of the fabric tab, expanding outward as you approach the zipper. Then sew as close as you can to both the zipper teeth and the welt cord.
Next fold fabric 1/2" and top stitch the other pillow plate to the zipper. Try to cover at least half the zipper teeth. You shouldn't be able to see any of the zipper at this point. If you don't have welt cord on your project, sew both plates in the same manner. Back stitch or sew twice at the beginning and ending corners as you learned in "Cutting and Sewing Basics".
Try to use a thread color that blends with your fabric. The better you can hide the zipper the more you'll avoid the "why didn't you use a colored zipper?" complaint.
HOW TO HAND SEW
The simple technique shown here is one of the most versatile sewing methods that upholsters use. With it you can close pillows and cushions, make repairs, sew down outside arms and backs, and cover some of your goofs. You'll see other sewing methods where we install seats and so on, in later segments.
Here we're using a cushion stretcher, or cushion equalizer. It's adjustable and locks in place making our job much easier. You can also use upholsterers pins, or that expensive tool, the clothes pin. I'm using a 3 1/2" curved needle and nylon hand sewing twine for this job. I'll use black thread so you can see me working and also so you can see that when this done right, the thread doesn't show anyway (maybe they should teach this in medical school). For light weight fabrics use a thinner, smaller needle and thinner but strong sewing machine thread. Also, it's a good idea to have marked the center of the plates to help you keep them aligned.
Tie a knot in the end of the twine and thread needle. Start by going inside the pillow to the right so as to lap the sewing machine stitch. See above photo.
Next take about a 1/2" bite through the welt fabric, less for lighter weight fabric. Avoid going into the cord itself. Pull tight.
Hold your thread straight up and down to determine where your needle should enter the upper plate. Continue this method untill you've lapped the spot you sewed on your machine. If it looks as if the top plate, for example, is going to have more fabric than the bottom, then insert your needle a little to the left of normal on the top plate. This will help take up some of the slack.
When you're finished sewing wrap the twine around the needle a time or two and insert it into the pillow fabric or welt. Hold the thread snugly, close to the spot where the needle goes in. This will produce a knot which can stay inside the fabric keeping your work from coming loose. You'll usually hear a little popping sound when you successfully tug the knot into the right place. Cut off the excess twine.