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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

Press.

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

Comments on this post (56)

  • Apr 06, 2020

    Thank you! Finally something I can understand and is easy to do. Thank you, thank you!

    — Suzanne

  • Mar 10, 2020

    Thank you – great instructions

    — Sarah

  • Mar 10, 2020

    Lovely clear instructions. Would you be able to show how to insert a zip in a side seem which is enclosed top and bottom. Can’t find anything on the Internet. Many thanks.

    — Jenny

  • Mar 10, 2020

    Thank you so much for this. I have spent all day trying to put an invisible zip following the instructions that came with my invisible zipper foot. I have now done it first time watching your tutorial. Thank you so much x

    — Alison

  • Nov 27, 2019

    Thank you for the BEST instruction and close-up directions ever!….haven’t messed up invisible zips since!
    xoxo

    — Deborah

  • Dec 02, 2019

    Wow – I would never have thought that I could put in a zipper (to say nothing of an invisible one) all by myself, but this made it possible! Yes… I did go wrong at a certain point (sewing the second half of the zip on to the wrong side of the fabric) but that was more the result of me not studying the photo carefully enough – not your directions. Excellent tutorial!

    — Karen

  • Dec 02, 2019

    THANK YOU!!! I was staring blankly at my fabric, zipper, and indecipherable instructions! Thanks to your fantastic and easy to follow tutorial I was able to figure it out in no time!

    — Stephanie

  • Dec 02, 2019

    Thank you, really helpful guide.

    — Jane

  • Feb 05, 2019

    Nic n clear tutorial..thanks

    — Jasvinder kaur

  • Feb 05, 2019

    Nic n clear tutorial..thanks

    — Jasvinder kaur

  • Oct 04, 2018

    Thank you! I have succeeded in sewing in the trial invisible zipper following your instructions. What a sense of accomplishment. I tried last night using a You Tube instruction and managed to break the zip. But I bought a few for practise. I made a few mistakes and tomorrow I will try again using your instructions to improve. This has really increased my confidence. .

    — Your Rosie

  • Aug 18, 2018

    Oh my goodness! This was amazing. I was so confused by previous tutorials I tried – my first try looked like I sewed the zip in drunk – it was the most visible invisible zip ever (with wobbly lines and sewing over the teeth to boot). This tutorial was SO helpful – I now have a perfect invisible zip – invisible zips all round for everything from now on!

    — Rachelina

  • Aug 13, 2018

    Made the job twice as quick. Thank you.
    But I still can’t get it so the zip doesn’t show.😩

    — Vivienne Pennington

  • May 14, 2018

    Thank you made it so easy. Put the zip in and then pulled it up only to find (I had used and old zip) I had cut the end off. So had to start again with new zip.

    — Vivienne Pennington

  • May 14, 2018

    I am a very experienced sewer who just needed a quick reminder on how to install the invisible. With clear, concise, simple pictures that said it all, took me no time at all to scan and implement your directions. Discovering and looking through your blog, however, took many, many minutes of pleasure. You are in the right business my dear!

    — Lynn

  • May 14, 2018

    I must have looked at 10 zipper tutorials before I found this one and it’s the only one that made the instructions clear and easy. Sewed in my first invisible zipper today and it was painless and flawless! Thank you so much.

    — Cal

  • May 14, 2018

    Close up pictures of what happens at the closed end of the zipper and beginning of the back seam just wonderful. Very clear instructions. Off to try again, this time with confidence.

    — Kathy

  • May 14, 2018

    This is so clear. Thank you so much. Feel a bit more confident to apply now! : )

    — edith.strawhorn

  • Jul 17, 2017

    thank you …so clear xxx

    — josy

  • Jul 09, 2017

    I found the tutorial very clear and helpful. Thanks.

    — Phyllis

  • Jul 06, 2017

    You are amazing! Thank you so much!

    — Lou

  • Jun 21, 2017

    Brilliant, crystal clear – thank you!

    — Sarah

  • Jun 17, 2017

    Thank you so much for this! Am making my first dress and just couldn’t work out what the pattern was saying about the zip till I read your clear instructions and photos.

    — Jane

  • Mar 31, 2017

    Thank you for the clear (foolproof) invisible zipper instructions. The photos and dialogue made it so easy to follow.

    — Llesa

  • May 14, 2018

    This was the most helpful tutorial I watched. I managed to put my first invisible zip in today ? The instructions and photographs were very clear. I had tried a couple of other tutorials but this was by far the best. Thankyou ?

    — Susan Fyvie

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