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Inserting an invisible zipper; tips and tutorial

Sewing a zipper into a pattern can seem like a daunting task, especially if it calls for an invisible zipper. Don’t be alarmed, we have some great tips and a tutorial to show you how to achieve a perfect finish on your invisible zipper!

Firstly, what is an invisible zipper? An invisible zipper is concealed within the seams of the garment so that only the zipper puller, which is normally smaller and neater is seen. Invisible zippers are usually used on skirts, dresses, and more formal garments, such as a gown or dress pants (Where the zipper is often inserted in the side seam).

Secondly, do you have an invisible zipper foot? Having an Invisible zipper foot will change your sewing life! I have to say, I was skeptical at first since most of them are plastic and less than $10, but it is soooooo worth it. It will make sewing your invisible zippers so much easier, trust me. The foot being plastic, actually helps in gliding as you sew too!

My foot of choice is the YKK invisible zipper foot. It comes with several attachments and heights. This foot holds the zipper coil securely in place, so your stitching is kept even and a uniform distance from the zipper. A regular zipper foot is used for sewing up the remaining seam after inserting the zipper. You should be able to purchase a universal or brand compatible invisible zipper foot such as the YKK one, or one specifically designed for your type of sewing machine.

Regular Zipper Foot (paid-links*)

YKK Zipper Foot (paid-links*)

Invisible zipper sewing machine foot

This guide shows you how to sew in an invisible zipper. It’s a clean method to create a beautiful garment.


Tip 1. There’s not just one type of invisible zipper; they come with varying tapes, weights, and lengths, you should choose one to work with the type of fabric you are using.

Tip 2. The invisible zipper should be inserted before the seam of the garment is sewn up.

Step 1. Measure the distance of your seam allowance to the edge of the teeth, (In this case I chose 5/8″) It’s handy to mark the fabric with some tailor’s chalk where the edge of the zipper will lie parallel to the seam of the fabric and mark the top and bottom of where the zipper will start and finish.

Tailors Chalk

Step 2. Choose a zipper the correct length for your garment and pin to the fabric upside down with the slider at the top and the teeth underneath facing the fabric.

Step 3. Ensure you pin the zipper all the way from top to bottom with the teeth of the zipper 5/8″from the edge of the fabric or the correct seam allowance for your pattern. (See photo below left)

Step 4. Place the fabric and zipper in the machine and slide the teeth of the zipper into the groove of the foot. (See photo below right)

invisible zipper

Step 5. The teeth should automatically fold open slightly with zipper foot. Continue sewing the zipper all the way down towards the zipper slider, removing pins as you go.

invisible zipper

Step 6. Stop before you get to the zipper slider at the bottom of the zipper. Then back tack (reverse stitch).

Step 7. Slide zipper shut to make sure you do not sew over any of the teeth and it slides smoothly.

Step 8. With faces together, place the fabric of the other side along the zipper tape. Ensure to line up any garment seams accurately, using pins to pin this section first and then the rest of the zipper. (see photo below)

Step 9. Use a small baste stitch on any seams are located along the zipper and ensure they match up before sewing in the full zipper. (see photo below right)

invisible zipper

Step 10. This time the groove/ teeth of the zipper will sit in the groove on the right as shown. Sew the full zipper ensuring you stop before the end to back tack. (See photo below left)

Step 11. Slide the zipper shut to check you didn’t sew over any of the zipper teeth when sewing, make sure the zipper slides freely. You may need to pull away the fabric in the first instance to help the zipper glide easily, this should ease over time. (See photo below right)

invisible zipper

Step 12. Pin the seam together, pinning approx. 1/16th of an inch closer to the edge than the stitching of the zipper as shown, this is to ensure you get a smooth transition from the zipper to the garment seam. Check the outward appearance to make sure it’s sitting nicely.

Step 13. Using a regular zipper foot move your needle all the way to the right. Then begin sewing where you place the pin, being careful to hold the end of the zipper out of the way. Remove pin and Continue sewing the seam.

how to sew a zipper

Step 14. Iron the seam below the zipper open. Turn your garment over and iron from the face side (zipper underneath) for a smooth professional finish.

Enjoy your Sewing Adventure, be sure to tag me @ginareneedesigns so I can see your creations!

If you want to download your complete guide for sewing an invisible zipper, download it below!

Gina Renee Designs is an affiliate of Amazon in order to help promote her favorite sewing tools.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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