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Invisible zipper woes

grammy07 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Does anyone have any tips on putting in an invisible zipper? I am making a dress that has a waistline seam and each time I’ve tried to put it in the waistline seams do not match up. Can I put in by hand? Has anyone done this? Thank you in advance for your help.


  1. beo | | #1

    Threads issue 119 has a great article on inserting an invisible zipper using a regular  zipper foot.  One of the first steps is to machine baste on the outside edge of one side of the zipper tape.  She didn't say to do this on the second side of the tape, but you might find that useful.

  2. User avater
    purduemom | | #2

    This works for me: Insert one side. Zip the zipper. Mark the tape on the other side where the seam crosses. Continue pinning to top. Sew the remaining side. My favorite foot to use is the long, thin, double-ended zipper foot. I also suggest the issue mentioned in the other reply to your post.

  3. alotofstitches | | #3

    If you can find it in archives:  The Invisible Zipper, Oct/Nov. 1992, is the best article I've seen.  Marking the seam as it would be sewn before you press the zipper is IMPORTANT.  Pin the closed zip to the right side of the seam, marking where the zip stops and where it ends, MAKE MATCHING MARKS ON THE ZIPPER.  Also mark the zipper where it will cross seamlines such as waistline or empire seams.  When you HAND BASTE the zipper in place you can match the marking on both the zip and seam markings.   Hand basting works best for keeping the zip from shifting.

  4. mainestitcher | | #4

    There's more than one way to insert an invisible zipper. I've done this, on seams that have to match:Baste the seam closed, just like you would to insert a regular zipper. Put the regular zipper foot on your machine. Separate one seam allowance just as if you were going to baste in a zipper. With the open Invisible zipper facing the seam allowance, using the zipper foot, stitch one side in place. Stitch really close to the crease, where the coils meet the tape. Zip the zipper, double-check the seam placement, pin or tack at seam, unzip, and then stitch the second half in.

  5. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #5

    The saga of the invisible zipper... he he he
    It took me over a year to get up the courage to put one in a dress I was working on. And three trys to get the waistline seam to line up. But I finally got it right. I marked my seams on the zipper with chalk, and then pinned the marks in place as I sewed the zipper in. I took my time, and sewed carefully. It went in beautifully! Only I caught the skirt fabric in, and had to pick it all out and do it again. The 4th try was successful!!! Make sure your waistline seam is trimmed and graded smoothly, it makes it a lot easier. Cathy

    1. SAAM | | #6

      Congratulations on mastering the invisible zipper! I love them and use them whenever I can. I find them much simpler than a standard zipper.

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #7

        Like all new skills, it does take a bit of practice to get them down the first few times. Now I wonder how I ever lived without them. Almost makes me LIKE putting in zips. Still not my favorite thing to do, but sure makes life a lot easier. The instructions sound so complicated, but in reality, they go in very easily, after the first one. Cathy

        1. MDNB | | #8

          Do you use the invisible zipper foot. I sew on PFAFF and the notions type feet don't work on my maching. I can buy a foot for about $30 what I need to know "is it worth it?"

          1. stillsuesew | | #9

            You do not need an invisible zipper foot to put one in but if you have never done it it would help. If you have a foot that has a little groove under it, it will work also. The trick is to get the zipper teeth folded back out of the way and stay that way so you can sew up close to them. A needle that adjusts side to side is especially helpful if you are trying to use a different foot.

          2. User avater
            GoodShipLollyPop | | #10

            Hi There,

            Check out this video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzVLRsoOVzY

            There are some great invisible zip insertion videos on the site.



          3. MDNB | | #13

            thanks to all of you for the advice

          4. cafms | | #11

            I also sew on a Pfaff, though an older one - 1229.  The regular zipper foot for mine is a small one.  It is only 3/4 inch long and 1/2 inch wide but it has two groves on the bottom that work great for the invisible zipper.  The needle stays in the center hole and the coil rides in one of the grooves.  Check the bottom of your foot and see if there are some groves on it.  Sometimes, depending on the thickness of the fabric I will move the needle just the slightest bit towards the coil to be sure to be close enough. 

          5. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #12

            I sew on an older model Bernina. I had a heck of a time hunting down a specialty foot for it. Turns out I did not need to. I could have used my regular zipper foot and just sewn down the edge. As another poster pointed out, if you have the ability to sew from both sides of your zipper foot, you can do it that way.
            I could have saved myself the time and frustration of looking for a specialty foot that does make a job easier, but could be done otherwise. It comes down to the TIME=MONEY thing. I can spend the time, or the money. Which is more valuable to me at the moment?
            On the more personal side of things, I am glad I bought the zipper foot because I hate putting in zippers, of all kinds, tee hee hee. The zipper foot makes inserting them a so easy. You do not have to guide the foot along the edge. Once you insert an invisible zipper with one, you won't want to do it any other way, and $30 dollars does not seem so expensive. ;) Cathy

  6. dressed2atee | | #14

    It is very important not to sew the seam before you insert the zip.  I use a reg zip foot.  First I open and press the invisible zip as flat as I can....sew the zip to the seam, sort of in the middle of the zip tape, then move the needle over as close to the teeth as you can and sew will pressing the zip down.  I then close the zip and mark any intersecting seam lines points on the unsewn zip tape.  Then I open the zip and pin it starting with the marks, if any, then I pin the rest of the zip---sew down the center of the tape and then close to the teeth.  I close and check to make sure tops/seams meet.  Usually they do.  Then I switch to a regular foot and sew the seam.  I also tack the tails to the seam at the bottom of the zip.


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