I'll be the first to admit that invisible zippers have been the bane of my life for a long while now. Having taught myself to sew, I was never showed how to insert a zipper, invisible or otherwise, so my first attempts were blind stabs in the dark. Hell, I didn't even have an invisible zipper foot! Needless to say, I ruined many a zipper and many a garment; and my sewing machine barely walked away with its life.
Now that I have tamed the snake and realised how straighforward this technique can be, I thought I'd put together the definitive tutorial on invisible zipper insertion - for your sewing pleasure, and my point of reference if I ever feel daunted again!
You will need:
- an invisible zipper
- garment needing zipper (completely open at seam where you will be inserting the zip)
- an invisible zipper foot
- a regular foot/standard zipper foot
- matching thread
- a sewing machine
Open your zipper as far as it will go. You'll want to gently press the zipper teeth away from the tape to make it easier to stitch. Make sure you set your iron on a low heat, or else you'll end up melting the plastic zipper teeth (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!).
With the right side facing down, place the righthand side of the tape down the lefthand open edge of your fabric (right side facing you) and pin into place.
Attach the invisible zipper foot to your sewing machine. Starting from the top, position the raised zipper teeth in the lefthand tunnel of the foot, so that you are stitching to the right of the teeth. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of every line you sew!
Stitch until the foot meets the zipper pull which should still be all the way down. Backstitch.
Gently press the fabric back to reveal the side you have just stitched. Halfway there!
Take the lefthand side of fabric and flip it over so it is lying face down on the righthand side of fabric. Now just as you did before, position and pin the loose zipper tape in place down the righthand egde.
Now position the teeth in the righthand tunnel of your zipper foot and stitch down the length of the zip as you did before, stopping when you can't go any further.
Your invisible zipper is done! Zip it up to the top and admire your work. Now all that's left to do is close the seam. With right sides together (and the zipper closed), pin your seam as usual. Starting about half a centimetre back from where the line of zipper stitching ends (which will be a bit fiddly as the bulk of the zipper gets in the way - if you have a regular zipper foot like the one shown in the photo, use that), sew your seam down to the bottom of the garment. Press open.
All done! Now tell me that wasn't a breeze...!