While newbies are usually eager to master basic skills, I have found that zippers seem to intimidate beginners as if they were way out of their class. Well, they are not! If you don’t know how to sew a zipper, it’s time to learn.
Sewing is trendy these days and the number of new seamstresses is soaring. Of course, the growing popularity of sewing makes me happy.
But what makes me even happier is the fact that sewing breaks stereotypes. It is no longer grandma’s hobby. There are more and more young people learning the trade and more and more men sitting in front of sewing machines.
The noble thing about sewing is that there is always a simple way to create something. And as you hone your skill, you can gradually take on more elaborate projects and try more complicated ways.
A basic zipper is actually quite easy to sew. You may not use this technique to sew a jacket or bridesmaid dress, but you can use it for pouches, totes, pillows, and even some clothes and skirts.
Once you master these basic techniques, you will feel more confident to move on to more advanced projects. And you will make many beautiful items along the way.
Table Of Contents
- Sewing a basic zipper
- How to sew an invisible zipper
- Step 1 – Finish the edges of the fabric
- Step 2 – Sew the pieces together
- S tap 3 – Place the zipper
- Step 4 – Open the seam
Sewing a basic zipper
Before you start, make sure you have all the items and tools you want need.
These include your sewing machine, a zipper foot, fabric, thread, chalk, scissors if your machine does not have an automatic thread cutter, pins or wonder clips, and a seam ripper.
Step 1 – Finish edges
First you have to finish the edges of the fabrics you want to join zippers.
A serger is the best option to do but to start with is a regular zigzag stitch sufficient.
Step 2 – Align the zipper with the edges
Place your zipper on the right side of the fabric and align it with the edge of the fabric. Place the zipper up so you can see the right sides of both the zipper and the fabric.
Now attach these to the fabric with pins or clips. I prefer miracle clips, but pins are fine too. Try to align it as closely as possible.
Step 3 – Attach zipper to fabric
I said you need a zipper foot. It comes with all modern sewing machines. But if you don’t have one, a regular presser foot can also do the job.
With the zipper foot you can easily get very close to the zipper. It is adjustable, so you can attach it to the right or left of the needle.
It’s time to sew. A zip pull can get in your way, so avoid it.
There are several ways to do this. For me, the easiest way is to skip the top part of the zipper and sew a few inches below the zipper pull.
Align your presser foot with fabric and start sewing. When you get to the end, do a few backstitches and cut the thread.
Now it is time to go back to the top section.
Pull down the zipper to go past the area you have already sewn. Start from the top, make a few backstitches and continue until you have the sewn patriciate.
Step 4 – Attach the Other Side
Now it is time to attach the other piece of fabric.
It’s basically the same process as the first. Line it up, pin it or clip it and you can sew from the bottom this time. Before you reach a zip pull, stop, unzip and continue to the end.
Don’t forget to sew top and bottom
Voila! You made a zipper!
Step 5 – Be proud of your first zipper
It wasn’t rocket science, was it? When it’s done, you can press it and even make a topstitch next to the zipper for a more professional and sleek appearance.
Take a few minutes to admire your very first handmade zipper!
How to sew an invisible zipper
If you sew a skirt or dress, don’t want your zipper to be very prominent.
Now I’ll show you how to hide these.
Step 1 – Finish the edges of the fabric
Step one is the same as with the basic zipper – work the edges.
Step 2 – Sew the pieces together
Sew the two pieces together with a ⅝ seam allowance, or any other seam allowance specified in your pattern.
Turn to the wrong side of the fabric and press the seam open.
S tap 3 – Place the zipper
Place the zipper on your hem.
The right side of the zipper should face the seam. Line it up with the seam so that the teeth of the zipper are exactly on the seam line. Take it slowly and pin it.
Instead of pinning, you can use duct tape or a hand basting stitch to hold the zipper in place. Whatever works for you!
Start about ½ inch from the top to leave some room for the top seam allowance.
Create a chalk mark on the bottom of the zipper. Since your zipper is facing down, you don’t want over the metal bump at the bottom.
Start sewing and avoid the zipper pull tab in the same way as before. When passing the bottom of the zipper, turn the fabric to sew 4.5 stitches at the bottom.
Turn it one more time and continue sewing from bottom to top. Stop when you get close to the zipper pull. Make sure your needle is down when you turn the fabric.
Step 4 – Open the seam
Don’t forget this step or you won’t be able to use your zipper!
Grab a seam ripper and open the seam. Remove basting stitches if you had any. Unzip the zipper just enough to complete the top section.
And please, it’s done! I hope this tutorial on sewing zippers came in handy for all the beginners out there. Share to spread the word!