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How to Sew a Zipper: Easy Steps for Beginners (2024)

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how to sew a zipperAre you ready to learn how to sew a zipper? With just a few supplies and these easy steps, you’ll be able to master the art of sewing zippers in no time.

Now let’s get started so we can transform any project by adding a beautiful new zipper. First things first – finish off the edges where you plan on inserting the zipper with either serging or zigzag stitching.

Be sure that there is enough space left for the recommended seam allowance which is usually 1⁄2 inch or 5⁄8 inch.

Then place your two pieces of fabric right sides together and sew them up until it reaches where you will install your zip fastener using basic stitches only.

Finally press open this seam so everything lies flat before inserting our trusty old friend – the Zipper!

Key Takeaways

  • Gather basic supplies such as scissors, coordinating thread, pins or clips, an iron, and a zipper.
  • Choose the right zipper type and length for your project.
  • Baste the zipper opening using long stitches, then press open the seam allowance.
  • Align and secure the zipper in its place with sewing clips or pins prior to stitching.


Before you begin sewing a zipper, make sure you have the proper sewing supplies like thread and a zipper foot. Choose the right zipper type and length for your project. Select fabric that pairs well with the zipper – woven vs.

stretchy fabrics matter. Prep and cut the fabric, allowing a 5/8-inch seam allowance where the zipper will go. Install the zipper presser foot on your machine and thread with a coordinating thread color.

Position the zipper underneath the seam allowance, pinning it to hold it in place. Take your time sewing slowly, aligning the zipper teeth next to the presser foot. Stay focused and avoid mistakes by double checking the zipper placement. With practice, sewing zippers becomes second nature.

Soon you’ll expertly install zippers even in challenging spots like the center of a dress.

STEP 1: Finish and Sew the Fabric’s Edges

STEP 1: Finish and Sew the Fabric’s Edges
After finishing the fabric edges with a zigzag stitch or serger, sew those pieces together, leaving room for seam allowances. Carefully pin or tape the fabric pieces together, right sides facing. Sew using a 1⁄2 inch seam allowance and leave about 5-7 inches open for the zipper placement.

Mark this opening on both pieces of fabric if needed. Stitch slowly and accurately, backstitching at the beginning and end for durability. When stitched together, neatly press open the seam allowances with an iron. With the finished fabric edges and pieces sewn, you’re ready for zipper installation next.

Be sure to leave ample room for the zipper teeth and tape based on your measurements.

STEP 2: Baste the Zipper Opening, and Press the Seam Allowance

STEP 2: Baste the Zipper Opening, and Press the Seam Allowance
Next, baste the zipper opening with long stitches, then press open the seam allowance. Using a contrasting thread color, baste the zipper opening with long running stitches. This temporary basting provides guidelines for aligning the zipper. Take care to keep the fabric flat and stitches evenly spaced.

After basting, press open the seam allowance using a hot iron. Apply steam while gently pushing the fabric open. Avoid stretching or distorting the shape. Use the tip of the iron to flatten the allowance near the basting line.

Let the fabric cool before handling it. Check that pressing created a neat, flat opening for the zipper. Smooth operation relies on properly spreading the seam. Final project success depends on attention to preparatory steps like basting and pressing.

STEP 3: Place the Zipper

STEP 3: Place the Zipper
Then lay the zipper face down on the basted seam to affix it in place. Carefully align the zipper teeth along the seam edge. Take your time with this step to ensure proper placement – a crooked zipper’s no fun to undo! Use sewing clips or pins to secure the zipper, keeping it flat and neat against the fabric.

Place the pins perpendicular to the zipper tape rather than through it to avoid damaging teeth.

Mastering proper zipper placement now gives smooth operation and professional results on all your sewing projects. With practice, you’ll gain confidence aligning and attaching zippers quickly and accurately every time.

STEP 4: Pin the Zipper

STEP 4: Pin the Zipper
Carefully affix the zipper like a puzzle piece along the seam as you meticulously pin it in place. Align the zipper precisely, minding the zipper teeth and fabric edge. Space pins perpendicular to the zipper about every 2-3 inches for stability.

Take care pinning around the zipper pull so it moves freely. Precision is key, so reposition pins if needed until the zipper lies flat. Use plenty of pins to prevent stretching or shifting. Press pins in firmly to maintain zipper alignment during stitching.

Proper zipper pinning technique ensures a smooth, neat zipper installation. With the zipper securely pinned, you’re ready to sew it in place.

STEP 5: Stitch the Zipper

STEP 5: Stitch the Zipper
Stitch the Zipper:

You’ll treasure the smooth slide of your project as you carefully stitch the zipper in place. Position your zipper foot to begin meticulously topstitching the zipper to the fabric. Focus on keeping even pressure and straight lines. Check to ensure the zipper lies flat as you sew.

Stop regularly to adjust the zipper pull so it stays behind the foot. Pivot at the bottom, lifting the foot to avoid damaging teeth.

  • Embellish stitching with contrasting threads
  • Use a zipper foot for straight, even lines
  • Keep zipper pull behind presser foot
  • Stop and adjust alignment frequently
  • Top stitch slowly and methodically for best results

STEP 6: Rip Out the Basting Stitches

STEP 6: Rip Out the Basting Stitches
Once done stitching, take your seam ripper from the kit and neatly remove the basting stitches to reveal the installed zipper. Carefully insert the sharp end of the ripper under each long basting stitch and slice through to remove it.

Go slowly, slice by slice, to avoid catching and tearing the fabric. Removing all visible basting stitches gives a clean finish.

Your project’s zipper should now function smoothly. For a flawless look, press from both sides along the zipper teeth using the steam iron.

Neatly removing basting is key for any zipper install. With practice, you’ll perfect clean basting removal to expertly sew zippers into skirts, dresses, cushions, and more.

Polka Dot Chair Sewing Lessons Series

Polka Dot Chair Sewing Lessons Series
Amp up your skills with the Polka Dot Chair series and soar to creative heights! From zipper types to materials, this sewing video course guides you through essential techniques. Discover an array of zipper projects, from dresses to pillows. Gain insider tips, like preshrinking before use or flattening zipper teeth.

Draw inspiration from the designer’s portfolio, spanning playful prints to muted solids. Grow your confidence stitch by stitch. Weave in this versatile closure across any creation.

With each lesson, your talents blossom – leading to mastery. Freely explore and find your rhythm.

Let this be your companion, from first zipper to runway-worthy garment. Where will your creativity take you? With trust and practice, the only limits are those of your imagination.

How to Sew a Zipper Into a Skirt

How to Sew a Zipper Into a Skirt
So you want to learn how to sew a zipper into a skirt? Excellent choice! Zippers add practicality and style to skirts.

First, select an appropriate zipper length. Measure from the skirt’s top edge to just below the hip for full zippers. For partial zips, start further down. Then pick fabric with enough structure to support the zipper’s weight.

Stretchy knits won’t hold their shape. The best bets are denim, twill, and cotton.

Next, choose between lapped and centered zippers. Lapped zippers overlap fabric for discreet closures. Centered zips split the fabric for exposed style. Each has unique installation techniques to learn.

Whichever you pick, accuracy is key for smooth operation. Take it slow and align the zipper perfectly along the seam.

With practice, zippers become second nature. You’ll soon be zipping up skirts with ease, confidence and mastery.

How to Sew a Zipper Into a Zip Pouch, Pillow, or Another Item

How to Sew a Zipper Into a Zip Pouch, Pillow, or Another Item
Attach the zipper to your pouch by first basting the fabric edges, then aligning and pinning the zipper in place before slowly stitching it into position.

  • Use sewing pins or washable tape to temporarily hold the zipper.
  • Align the zipper teeth to the fabric edge.
  • Sew slowly and pull the zipper tab down as you stitch.
  • Check the zipper moves smoothly before final stitching.
  • Baste first for easier zipper positioning.

Pre-finishing the fabric edges provides stability when installing a zipper in a pouch, pillow, or other item. Choose an all-purpose zipper matching the project size. Work slowly and carefully to position the zipper accurately before permanent stitching.

Test the zipper to ensure smooth operation. With practice, zippers can elevate basic projects into polished pieces.

What Kind of Zipper Should I Use?

What Kind of Zipper Should I Use
When selecting a zipper, consider the project and fabric type. For lightweight or stretchy fabrics like silk or knit, opt for nylon coil zippers, which flex easily. Sturdy canvas or denim can handle metal zippers, providing that rugged, jean-like feel.

Match the zipper color to your fabric for a seamless look. Get creative with neon colors to make the zipper a fun design element. Ensure the zipper length extends just past the fabric opening. For garments, allow extra length in case of size adjustments.

Avoid zippers that are too short or long. With so many colors, materials and sizes available, you’re sure to find the perfect zipper to flawlessly finish your sewing project.

Basic Parts of a Zipper

Basic Parts of a Zipper
Believe it or not, over 20 billion zippers are produced globally each year! You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the basic parts like the tape, chain, slider, pull tab, and stops to successfully install this versatile fastener.

The zipper tape is the fabric on each side that you stitch into a garment or project. Inside the tape is the zipper chain, which connects each side with interlocking teeth.

The slider does just as its name implies – slides up or down the chain to open or close the zipper.

Finally, there are top and bottom stops at each end to prevent the slider from sliding right off.

Understanding zipper anatomy with these key components – tape, chain, slider, pull tab, and stops – will ensure you choose the right zipper and install it properly for any sewing project.

Supplies Needed for Sewing Zippers

Supplies Needed for Sewing Zippers
Select the right zipper for your project. Consider the fabric type and thickness when choosing between metal or plastic zippers. Measure the zipper opening to ensure you get the perfect zipper length. Have different zipper types on hand like invisible, exposed, and separating zippers.

Add interfacing to stabilize thin or stretchy fabrics before inserting a zipper. Make sure you have hand sewing needles and thread ready for tricky areas the machine can’t reach. Don’t forget small but essential notions like pins, fabric marker, and seam ripper.

With the proper zipper and tools in your sewing kit, you’ll be zipping up projects in no time. Mastering zipper insertion takes practice, but soon it will become second nature. The right materials make all the difference, so prep your zipper supplies before starting to sew.

Step One: Prep

Step One: Prep
Finish your fabric edges before starting the zipper. When prepping for a zipper, choose the right length and type for your project. For garments, get a nylon or polyester zipper; for bags, opt for a heavy-duty metal one.

Ensure your fabric’s cut edges are finished neatly – zigzag stitch, serge, or overcast them.

Next, align your fabric pieces and machine baste the seam where the zipper will go. Leave space for the seam allowance. Use an iron to press open the basted seam so it lies flat.

Take your time prepping and you’ll have an easier time with the zipper installation.

With the right supplies and patience, your next zipper project will zip right along.

Step Two: Sewing

Step Two: Sewing
Sew in the zipper by aligning one side along the seam line and stitching from bottom to top. With the right sides together, position the zipper teeth directly along the seam allowance. Align the zipper tape edge precisely so the stitches’ll catch the zipper teeth. Using a zipper foot, slowly stitch the zipper starting about an inch below the slider, being careful to align the zipper as you go.

Make sure the stitches’re close to the zipper teeth, catching the tape on both sides. Gently pull the slider down to continue stitching all the way to the top. Check that the slider moves smoothly up and down when you’re finished.

Step Three: Mark the Zipper

Step Three: Mark the Zipper
Mark your zipper’s stitching path with fabric pencil before pinning it in place. This ensures proper zipper alignment and positioning. Lightly draw lines along both sides of the zipper teeth where you’ll sew. Take care to mark equidistant lines for even stitching.

For a centered zipper, mark identical lines on the fabric pieces too. Pinning pre-marked lines together guarantees accurate zipper placement. Align zipper pins perpendicular to the stitch path – not into it! Space pins close together, about every 2-3 inches, to prevent shifting.

Correct zipper marking prevents mistakes that require restarting. Don’t risk frustration; diligently mark and pin for stress-free sewing. Proper preparation leads to professional results you’ll proudly wear. Precision and patience are key when handling finicky zippers.

Step Four: Sew the Zipper

Step Four: Sew the Zipper
Before you sew the zipper to the seam, it’s critical you pin or tape it in place to prevent shifting. Carefully align the zipper teeth along the seam and attach it with pins placed perpendicular to the zipper tape or with removable double sided basting tape.

Start sewing just past the zipper pull, stitching the zipper tape to the fabric seam allowance. Use your zipper foot and go slowly over the pull to avoid breaking needles. Continue stitching the length of the zipper on each side, locking off your stitches when done.

Removing pins as you sew will allow the fabric to feed smoothly. If the zipper shifts out of alignment, gently lift the presser foot and realign before continuing.

With focus and care, you’ll have that zipper neatly stitched in place in no time!

Finishing Steps

Finishing Steps
After sliding the suited-up zipper pull along its meshed teeth trail, test that its access unzips and zips freely before ripping those temporary basting stitches with the liberated seam ripper. With the zipper fully functioning, press open the fabric along the installed zipper with the steam iron’s hot plate.

Finger press too for shaping. If the zip’s teeth or pull get snagged, a dropped needle can release it. For smoother operation, wax the zipper’s teeth lightly. Always prewash fabric before inserting zippers to prevent shrinkage issues.

My top zipper trick – use floral pins temporarily to keep the zipper perfectly positioned. And take care not to cut stitches too closely when seam ripping to avoid damaging fabric. With practice, cleanly removing stitches becomes second nature. For now, celebrate your beginner zipper success! The world awaits your unique creations.

More Sewing Lessons

More Sewing Lessons
Check out more tips and tricks in Polka Dot Chair’s Sewing Lessons series to take your skills to the next level.

  • Basic hand sewing techniques
  • Using different types of zippers
  • Sewing with knit fabrics
  • Finishing seams neatly
  • Matching plaids and stripes
  • Easy clothing alterations

Expanding your knowledge of sewing techniques, zipper applications, fabric choices, beginner-friendly projects, and creative sewing ideas will help build your confidence. The Sewing Lessons provide excellent instruction for sewists of all levels looking to grow their abilities one stitch at a time.


Learning how to sew a zipper is easier than you think! With the right materials, practice, and following the steps in this guide, you’ll become a zipper pro in no time. This article covers everything from finishing fabric edges to removing basting stitches.

Be sure to check out the Polka Dot Chair Sewing Lessons for more tips and inspiration too. By using this tutorial, you’ll be sewing zippers like a professional in no time.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.