Sewing an invisible zipper feels like a mission impossible? Fear not! Today I’ll tell you all the secrets on how to sew an invisible zipper in 7 steps: the easy and stress-free way.
The invisible zipper is one of my favourite closures: it’s quicker than buttons and it looks better than a standard zipper. Once you sew it, it’s perfectly concealed and you’ll only see the little pull on the outside of the garment. It’s perfect for skirts, dresses, pants and even tops.
Sewing an invisible zipper may seem daunting but it’s just a matter of knowing the right techniques. Today I’ll share with you all the tips & tricks to sew the queen of zipper. Ready to go??
Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: 3 / 5
- invisible zipper of the right size (see the instructions of your project)
- invisible zipper foot
- standard zipper foot
- sewing machine
- iron and ironing board
- fabric marker
- ruler or measuring tape
How to sew an invisible zipper in 7 steps
The secret for an invisible zipper to be truly “invisible” once sewed lies in the fabric and zipper preparation. In order for the zipper to be perfectly concealed behind the garment the seam need to be close – very close – to the zipper’s teeth and the zipper has to be correctly aligned to the fabric. This is why we need a special pressing foot which has two little guides through which the zipper’s teeth can slide allowing you to sew very close to them.
But before we get started at the sewing machine, there are a few things to do to make sure things go smoothly. Let’s get started!
First step is pressing the zipper. Oh yeah! Pull the zipper open and put it on your ironing board wrong side up. Open the zipper’s teeth using your fingers and press the zipper’s seam allowance with a medium-temperature iron and a bit of steam. Be quick ’cause the zipper is made of polyester and melting it down on your ironing board is not a good idea to get started! 😉
Finish the seam allowances of your garment first. If you’re sewing a skirt and you want to sew the invisible zipper to the centre back seam, finish the seam allowances at CB with your favourite technique (I used a serger or overlock machine, if you don’t have it use one of the finishing techniques – zig-zag, overedge stitch or clean finish – explained here). Don’t forget this step because once you sew the zipper up there’s no way to finish these seam allowances!
Then press the seam allowances towards the inside of the garment (check your project instructions to figure out your included seam allowance, e.g. 5/8″). You can use a ruler or a measuring tape to make sure you’re pressing the right amount of fabric all the way down CB.
With a fabric marker mark the seam allowance at the waist (if you’re sewing the zipper to a skirt or a pair of pants) or at the neckline (if you’re sewing the zipper to a dress). In my case the seam allowance is again 5/8″. This mark will help you placing the zipper’s stop correctly.
Place the skirt on the table wrong side up. Place the zipper on the folded seam allowances of the skirt right sides together like shown in the picture. Align the zipper’s stop to the mark on the right side of the skirt. Make sure the zipper’s teeth are flush with the fabric border. Pin the zipper down to the seam allowances of the skirt only.
Note: attaching the zipper to the right side of the garment first makes it easier to sew it afterwards.
Attach the invisible zipper foot to your sewing machine. Open the seam allowances and place the zipper underneath the foot with the teeth inside the guide on the right. Bring the needle down and begin to sew from the zipper’s stop all the way down to the zipper’s base removing the pins as you go. Be careful not to loose the alignment between the zipper and the fabric. Stop sewing as close as you can to the zipper’s base. Backstitch both at the beginning and at the end. Cut the threads and pull the zipper closed to make sure everything is going smoothly. Now it’s time to sew the other half!
Place the left side of the invisible zipper on the left side of the skirt and align it as you did with the other side. Sew it with the invisible zipper foot, this time using the left-hand guide. Cut the threads and pull the zipper close to make sure it looks fine.
Good, you’re almost there!
Note: Be careful while placing the zipper on the garment: zippers tend to twist and twist making it easy to make mistakes!
It’s time to sew the centre back seam of the skirt. Close the zipper, pin the seam allowances at CB, right sides together, aligning notches if any. Make sure the base of the zipper doesn’t get caught in the seam.
Attach the standard zipper foot to your sewing machine. In order to have a smooth transition at CB from the base of the zipper to the seam, the secret is to partially overlap the two seams by 1″ or so and to sew as close as the zipper’s seam as possible. That’s why we use the zipper foot.
Put the right side of the zipper foot close to the zipper and move your needle to the right (if you’re sewing machine allows you to) to sew as close as possible to the previous seam. Begin to sew about 3/4″-1″ above the zipper’s seam and keep going using the pressed seam allowances as guide. Press the seam and then press the seam allowances open. Stitch the base of the zipper down to the seam allowances with a few stitches either by machine or by hand.
Et voilà! You just sewed an invisible zipper!
And it wasn’t too bad after all, was it? You’ll see that with some practice you’ll sew invisible zippers like a piece of cake. Now just serve yourself a drink and pat yourself on the back ’cause you made it! 🙂
I hope you liked this tutorial. Now tell me, what’s on your sewing table involving an invisible zipper? Leave your comment below!