Sometimes I feel that the mention of sewing invisible zippers sends shudders down people's spines. But I am here to assure you that sewing invisible zippers is actually very easy and compared to other closure options, by far the quickest!
This tutorial shows the very basics of sewing an invisible zipper and in the near future I will do another tutorial going further into sewing a zipper in a dress with a lining.
How to Sew An Invisible Zipper
You will need:
Your current project ready for it's invisible zipper. I suggest finishing the edges of your fabric - whether by overlocking or zig zag stitch before sewing in your zipper. Leave the seam at which the zipper will go, completely undone - do not sew any of the seam.
Invisible zipper foot
Silver - non-bead - headed pins
Placing your item good-side up in front of you, place your zipper also facing the good-side up, in between the edges of the fabric.
Open the zipper all the way.
Taking the left side of the zipper flip it over so that the good side of the zipper is facing down onto the good side of the fabric - along the left side edge of the fabric.
Now to position the zipper.
It is very important that the zipper is straight along the seam so make sure you keep the tape of the zipper parallel to the edge of the seam. It's also important to note what seam allowance you have left as a zipper is only 1cm wide so if like me, you keep a 1.5cm seam allowance, then you will need to measure the tape of the zipper in the half centimetre from the edge. *I use my overlocking stitch as my guide.
An invisible zipper has a hard plastic stopper at the top. This will need to go just under where you want your zipper to start.
Pin the top of the zipper in place. You will need to push the pins in as close to the zipper teeth as you can as the pins will help to keep the teeth rolled out as you sew.
Pin the zipper until about 1.5cm from the head of the zipper. Invisible zippers do not get stitched in all the way to the bottom!
Time to sew!
Set up your sewing machine by swapping out your normal foot to your invisible zipper foot. Most machines should just be a push of a button.
Then taking your garment with the left side of the zipper pinned in place, position the teeth of the zipper under the left groove of the zipper foot. The foot will guide the teeth of the zipper and make sure the needle stays in close to the teeth as you sew.
Very carefully start sewing, of course remembering to reverse stitch at the start and continuing at a steady pace, taking out the pins as you go and using your fingers to keep the teeth in the groove of the foot.
Stop at your last pin which should be about 1.5cm from the head of the zipper.
The left side is done!
Onto the right side!
Like at the start, place the garment out flat in front of you with the good side facing up.
Do the zipper up and taking fabric chalk or pins mark onto the right-hand side of the zipper at which point the zipper starts on the left-hand side and at which point the zipper ends - this is the point where the stitching finished.
Then reopen the zipper and flip the right-hand side of the zipper onto the right-hand edge of the seam - lining up the chalk mark at the top with where the zipper will start and then pinning all the way down until the end chalk mark. At the end, place the pin horizontally so to signal where to stop stitching.
Again make sure the zipper is positioned to be straight with the edge of the seam and keeping the necessary seam allowance.
Sew the right side of the zipper in place, this time positioning the teeth of the zipper under the right groove of the zipper. TIP: On a domestic machine, change the width of your stitch to move the needle over to the right as much as you can so that it will help sew as close to the teeth as you can.
With the zipper all stitched in, the seam below the zipper can be stitched.
To make sure there is no hole below the zipper, start the seam about 2cm above where the last stitches were made on the zipper. When the invisible zipper is all sewn in, it doesn't open all the way to bottom but rather only opens to where the start of the seam (below the zipper) begins.
Give the seam below the zipper a good iron but I read in a book not to iron over the zipper so that the zipper remains more invisible because it leaves the fabric sort of covering the zipper. If you do iron, just a gentle press but don't pull the fabric away too much.
To finish at the bottom of the zipper, stitch the bottom of the zipper tape to the inside of the seam. And at the top fold and tuck the top tape of the zipper into your facing or waistband when you stitch it in. Finally, my last recommendation would be to hand sew a hook and eye to keep the top of the zipper securely fastened.
And you are done!!
When I first started sewing I refused to use elastic! I thought it was just cheating and cheap home-sewing. I no longer hold that belief and I do think when elastic is used right, it can certainly make very cool and easy-to-wear clothes. Though during the years of denying elastic's existence, I am grateful that I gained my confidence and love for zippers - conventional and invisible! I'm excited to share this tutorial and I really hopes it helps!
My 3 pieces of advice for sewing invisible zippers:
The life changer - getting an invisible zipper foot. These make the zipper look so perfectly inserted as they can get the needle in so close to the teeth. Honestly, when you buy a sewing machine, automatically buy an invisible zipper to go with it!!
The reassurance to take it steady - Using lots of pins. Eventually you will learn to go without pins but for starting out they're a great way to learning how the zipper works and ensuring you go steady as you sew on the machine.
A helpful philosophy to persevere with zippers - I always used to say to myself, "I can sew an invisible zipper but it may not always be perfect." By saying this I made sure that I didn't get upset if a zipper wasn't exactly right but at least I'd sewn it myself and made something for myself! So that eventually with all my practice I finally became a pro. ;)