How to: Zippers (Part 3)

comments (5) September 23rd, 2008     

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Shannon_Dennis Shannon Dennis, contributor
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This is the right side of an invisible zipper.
This is the wrong side of the invisible zipper.
Stitch down the raw edge of the seam where the zipper will be using a scant 1/4-inch seam.
This is the right side of an invisible zipper.

This is the right side of an invisible zipper.

Photo: Shannon Dennis

Invisible zippers are my favorite! I have now learned how to adjust patterns to accommodate an invisible zipper simply because they are so easy for me. Here are the steps.

First things first. Know the difference between the front (right side) and back (wrong side) of the invisible zipper. The front is very smooth and the teeth are invisible. The back looks like a regular zipper.


This is the front of the zipper . . .


. . . and this is the back of the zipper.

Next, I like to stitch a scant 1/4-inch seam along the raw edge I will be sewing the zipper to. A scant 1/4 inch is just a pinch narrower than a true 1/4 inch. I usually select a straight stitch with a center needle position and move my needle position to the right.


Sew a scant 1/4-inch seam along the raw edge of your zipper seam.

Finish off your raw edge with a zigzag to keep the fibers from getting caught in your zipper, and pin the zipper to the fabric right sides together. Match the tape (non-tooth) side of your zipper to the scant 1/4-inch stitch line.


Pin the edge of the zipper to the fabric.

Next comes the foot. I'm a fanatic about invisible zipper feet mostly because they work for me, every time! The foot has a specially designed groove that rolls the teeth of the zipper out of the way, allowing you to stitch in the perfect little tunnel under the teeth.


Stitch your zipper in place with your invisible zipper foot.

Stitch down the other side of the zipper the same way. Zip the zipper closed and press with an iron.


Close the zipper and press with an iron.

Sew your facing or neckhole lining in place as directed in the instructions.


Following your pattern instructions, sew the facing or neck lining in place. Backstitch over the zipper teeth.


Finish the facing as directed in the pattern instructions.

Starting 1 inch above where you stopped sewing the zipper in place, sew the remaining seam on the garment closed.


Finally, sew the remaining seam of your garment closed, beginning 1 inch above where you stopped sewing in the zipper.

If you missed the first two parts of this zipper series, follow these links to the Garment Zipper and Craft Zipper posts!

posted in: how-to, invisible zipper

Comments (5)

zanygumby writes: ZIPPERS!! I have so many problems with them. I have a project, skorts needing the zipper replaced. Can you give some helpful advice. It has two layers to go thru, the shorts and the skirt part. Please help.

Thank you,
Posted: 8:02 pm on January 17th
wildenfunky writes: Thank you so much Shannon, next time I am in a city I will definatly go and see if I can find an invisible foot.
Posted: 5:21 am on November 1st
Shannon_Dennis writes: wildenfunky - Invisible zipper feet are somewhat of a new addition to specialty feet. I would contact a local Elna dealer in your area and see if they have one for your machine. Check out www.elnausa.com to locate a dealer.
Posted: 6:35 pm on September 28th
wildenfunky writes: I have a VERY old Elna SELECTOR. Do you think I can find an invisible zipper foot for it? I'm loving this tutorial on Zips!! They scare the daylights out of me and this invisible zip is stunning.
Posted: 3:29 am on September 24th
peggyv writes: Sewing the 1/4" guideline is a terrific idea. I measure from the edge and pin the zipper but sewing a guideline is probably faster and more accurate. I agree with you about the invisible zipper foot. I finally got one and I love it.
Posted: 12:36 pm on September 23rd
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