Inserting an invisible zipper: the definitive tutorial

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)
  • pins
  • an invisible zipper foot
  • a regular foot/standard zipper foot
  • matching thread
  • a sewing machine

Step 1

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!).

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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!

Step 4

Stitch until the foot meets the zipper pull which should still be all the way down. Backstitch.

Step 5

Gently press the fabric back to reveal the side you have just stitched. Halfway there!

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

Step 8


Step 9

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...!

x Elisalex

  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
  • sewingtutorialzippers

Comments on this post ( 9 )

  • Aug 12, 2014

    I’ve watched a lot of videos on sewing an invisible zipper. This blog encouraged me to try it. I DID IT! I made three dresses in one day using this invisible zippers technique and they all came out great. Thanks so much for making this easy enough for me to understand and apply!

    — Liza

  • May 10, 2014

    loved to see it very close and well done!!

    — Ilona Katalin Dako-Tolman

  • May 06, 2014

    Brilliant! Thank you for including photos that encompass the surrounding area of the zipper so one can get an idea of how it is all laid out. Other tutorials had fantastic close-ups, but it was frustrating figuring out which end was up!

    My dress pattern had me sew the entire skirt, leaving a few inches open at the top back seam. Instructions indicate to sew skirt to bodice, then insert zipper. I have my fingers crossed that I can still use your method given that the entire dress will be finished with the exception of the zipper. Oh, and have I mentioned that it’s poly satin? Wish me luck!

    — Lis

  • Apr 08, 2014

    Fab tutorial. Currently on my third Charlotte, and zip gone in first time. Many thanks x

    — Teresa

  • Feb 18, 2014

    Thank you so much.
    Brilliant tutorial! You have saved me from pulling out anymore of my hair. This is by far the easiest invisible zip tutorial I have come across. Once again thank you!

    — Jennifer

  • Jun 17, 2013

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! It’s the best one I’ve seen by miles and every time I need to insert an invisible zipper I come back to this page.
    You are a zipper-inserting genius!

    — Laura

  • Jun 17, 2013

    And thank you for letting us know you found our tutorial helpful! Much appreciated and definitely feeling very happy that we can make inserting an invisible zipper a little less painful.

    — byhandlondon

  • Jan 26, 2013

    Great tutorial. So so helpful!

    — Kirsty

  • May 10, 2013

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! Previously I have always sewed up the back seam before putting the zip in, but always ended up with a ripple in the fabric at the top of the seam. I’ve just done it this way, and no ripple! It’s the neatest zip I’ve ever done, and my Charlotte skirt is looking great!

    — Lynne

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