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Insert a Zipper by Cover Stitch

Get a decorative effect with this swift method
Threads #204, Aug./Sep. 2019

A triple, wide, or narrow cover stitch is a secure and attractive way to insert a zipper. The result looks like perfectly parallel topstitching rows along the zipper, an effect that is quick and easy to achieve with a cover-stitch-capable machine. This technique is ideal for projects such as tote bags, purses, pillows, or duvet covers. Use the standard or clear presser foot, or a dedicated cover/chain stitch foot, which is narrower than the standard foot, enabling the needle to get closer to the zipper coil. Apply interfacing to add body to lightweight to medium-weight fabrics and to prevent puckering along the zipper. See the full article by clicking “View PDF” below.


zipper close up with cover stitch
Learn tips for installing a zipper by cover stitch.


Machine settings

The cover-stitch machine offers three stitch options suitable for this technique. Be sure to test the stitch settings before beginning, to achieve the best results.

Thread: For an everyday look, use serger cone thread in the needles and chain looper. You can also pair topstitching needles with 12-weight thread for bolder stitches.

Stitch: A triple, wide, or narrow cover stitch is appropriate. The narrow cover stitch is stitched using either the left and middle or middle and right needles and creates two lines of topstitching. The wide cover stitch uses the left and right needles and creates two lines of topstitching. The triple cover stitch uses all three needles, resulting in three lines of topstitching, and can stand up to more strain than the narrow cover stitch.

Stitch length: Set it at 3.0 mm to 4.0 mm, depending on fabric weight. Lighter fabrics work well with 3.0 mm, but sturdy home décor zippers or heavier fabrics require longer stitches.

Differential feed: Set it to N or 1.


See the full article by clicking “View PDF” below.

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