So, I don’t know about you but I have always been afraid of putting in zippers. They just seem difficult and I have heard horror stories, so I basically avoided them like the plague. However, unless we want all our clothes to have a massive amount of buttons or all be made from some kind of stretch fabric, it seems we need to conquer our fear of the zipper. So, with no little trepidation, I undertook my first hidden zipper.
I am currently making a TARDIS dress, which I talk about in my first post here. This dress finally reached the point where it was time to put in the zipper. Many, many searches on the internet of videos and tutorials proved to be somewhat fruitless, especially since I do not have a zipper foot for my sewing machine. At long last, I called my mother- the woman who taught me to sew and is pretty much my go-to for anything crafty when I get in a pinch or need a little creative boost.
So here it is.
The Easy Hidden Zipper Tutorial (no zipper foot required!)
Step 1: Make your garment and sew it up completely, leaving at least a half inch fabric on the inside seam where you want to place your zipper. **Use large enough stitches for your seam where the zipper will be so that you can easily cut this seam out later by hand.
Step 2: Turn you garment inside-out and iron open your seam where you are adding your zipper.
Open back seam of dress
Step 3: Place the zipper face-down on the seam and pin the zipper in place. This step is very important! You want to make sure your zipper lines up as closely as possible with your seam. Also, use the smallest pins you have and place them horizontal (laying across the zipper)- not vertical! This is because you will NOT be removing the pins when you sew, so you want them horizontal so the machine will jump the pin. Don’t over-do the pins, one every inch and alternating sides should be enough.
Zipper pinned face-down to seam
Step 4: Sewing! Once your pins are in place, put your garment into the machine. Starting at the top of the zipper, sew down one side. When you get to the bottom of the zipper, stop with your needle IN the fabric, lift your foot, rotate the fabric, and then sew the small part at the bottom of the zipper. Then again, stop at the corner with your needle IN your fabric, lift your foot, rotate your garment, and sew back up the other side of your zipper.
**Note: It may be difficult to get the zipper into the machine when sewing the very top of the zipper- that is ok. I had to sew the first little bit with my foot still up. Just make sure to GO SLOW!! If you go slow, it will be easier on your machine to hop the pins and you are less likely to make a mistake or break your needle.
CONGRATS! You finished! Now turn you garment right-side out and check to make sure you didn’t sew any extra fabric into your zipper.
Oops! I accidentally sewed some of my skirt fabric into my zipper the first time, but that’s ok! Just flip it inside out again and snip the stitches loose, then sew again.
If everything looks good, carefully snip the seam open on your garment.
CAREFULLY cut seam open on outside of garment
Viola! You now have a hidden zipper which should look like this.
I am now over my fear of zippers! My zipper still wasn’t perfect, I had a lot of puckering, but I know you can do better! Have fun and if you mess up, just remember practice makes perfect!