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Sewing In a Zipper

Interface the zipper area
Lapped zipper
Invisible zipper
Interface the zipper area

Interface the zipper area

The invisible zipper
This is the easiest and fastest zipper application, because there's no need to baste or topstitch. Use an invisible zipper foot (available from your local fabric store or Clotilde, 800-772-2891; that lets you sew extremely close to the zipper coils, making them invisible from the right side.

Insert this zipper before sewing the garment seam. First unzip the zipper and press the coils as flat as possible with a cool iron, and don't close the zipper again until after inserting it.

Press the coils flat Sew zipper to garment
Before inserting an invisible zipper, press the zipper's coils as flat as possible with a cool iron.   Stitch down each side of the invisible zipper with coils along the seamline, right sides of zipper tape and fabric together. Stitch as far as the zipper stop will allow you to stitch.

Positioning this zipper might be confusing at first. Just remember to always keep the zipper and the garment right sides together with the zipper coils along the seamlines. And position the zipper foot for each side of the zipper so the needle clears the center hole and the coils glide under the groove.

Sew the left side of the zipper to the right garment section, top to bottom, until you get to the zipper stop. Align the remaining tape to the left side of the garment and sew in place. Then complete the garment seam.

Keep in mind that you cannot stitch the seam so it connects smoothly to the zipper stitching without leaving a gap. I recommend starting the seam as close to the zipper stop as possible, then hand-sewing the gap closed. Or machine-stitch the seam completely, but switch to a zipper foot to get those final stitches as close to the stop as possible.

Celeste Percy works at 27th Street Fabrics in Eugene, Oregon.

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Comments (10)

Wazrent Wazrent writes: Nice tutorial great tips
Posted: 2:11 am on July 14th

user-2128681 user-2128681 writes: Thanks for the nice tutorial the interfacing and chalk lines were very good tips. I am going to try them then next time I make a project with a zipper.
Posted: 10:36 pm on April 10th

SewFascinated SewFascinated writes: I have made a zippered dress where the bodice was lined. I've only done it once but if my memory serves me correctly, you baste the zipper to the dress first and then with the zipper sandwiched in the middle you stitch the dress & lining together. I'm probably not explaining it well, but the pattern I used was Simplicity 2401. Hope that helps.
Posted: 10:37 am on December 30th

Vicki_J Vicki_J writes: Do you have instructions on how to attach the waistband after I install a centered zipper as above.
Posted: 11:22 am on September 23rd

JoaniesJosh JoaniesJosh writes: I've been trying everywhere to get instructions on how to handle a center back zipper when a sleeveless dress is completely lined. I seen RTW made this way (on better RTW) and I would love to learn what the steps are in creating a garment like this. The RTW appears to have no hand-stitching when inserting the zipper. Please help this Grandmother achieve this goal.
Posted: 4:43 pm on August 16th

KimsIdleHands KimsIdleHands writes: I too would like to know about zippers and linings. I have always had a difficult time with this.

TO Lorraine, you have to let the fusible interfacing cool before sewing. THis should help a lot.
Posted: 4:15 pm on July 26th

sandydemouy sandydemouy writes: I know this article is a bit dated, but I am looking for information on how to apply a zipper when a full lining is involved as well! Just curious if anyone has any info on this. thanks!
Posted: 10:16 pm on September 9th

rewetzel1 rewetzel1 writes: I've put in a few invisible zippers before but I can't understand how to do it when a full lining is involved. I'm baffled.
Posted: 10:05 pm on February 18th

metamorfosis metamorfosis writes: I am a begginer and i've had troubles with how to sew zippers so thanks for explain it so clearly. I think this article it is very useful for me.

Posted: 5:16 pm on February 14th

Lorriane Lorriane writes: Using fusible interfacing before sewing the zipper ended up doing a sticky job on my needles ...
Posted: 5:25 pm on January 5th

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