How To Sew A Zipper For Beginners

Dear friends, if putting a zipper terrifies you more than watching a Japanese scary movie alone, this is your post!

To get started in the wonderful world of zippers, let’s take a look at how to attach and sew a nylon zipper centered on a seam. It is the type of application used to close a skirt on the side or in the central seam of the back and on pants.

So put the remote control aside and forget about the scary movie for the moment because we are going to see the necessary steps to sew a zipper.

Step-1 Sew the seam where the zipper will go

  • Overcast the edges of the seam allowances of the two pieces that will form the seam where the zipper will be applied.
Overcast the sides of the pieces.
  • Face the rights of the two pieces, making the overcast edges coincide.
Face the rights of the pieces.
  • Secure the two pieces with pins.
  • Place the zipper on the top end and the overcast edge.
  • Make a mark on the bottom stop of the zipper.
Mark the bottom stop of the zipper.
  • Machine baste (sew with the longest possible stitching) the part of the seam that corresponds to the zipper opening (from top to the marked point) without attacking at the beginning or at the end.
  • Starting from the mark, return the stitching length to 2.5, ensuring at the beginning and at the end to have a firm and stable seam.
Sew with different stitch lengths.

You will find many other ways to sew zippers. It is very common not to machine sew the part that opens with the zipper and only sew from the mark on the bottom stop of the zipper down. Try and experiment but I can tell you that by sewing that part (which we will later uncover) we make sure that the teeth of the zipper are well hidden and polished.

  • Iron open seam allowances on reverse.
Open seam with the iron.

Step-2 Prepare the zipper

Once we have the seam ready and ironed, the next thing is to fix the zipper to the seam allowances.

  • Place the right side of the zipper against the seam allowances.
Face the zipper with the seam allowances.
  • The tooth chain must be centered with the seam.
Tooth chain centered on the seam.
  • Pin the zipper tape to the seam allowance without pinching the main fabric.
Pin the zip tape to the seam allowances
  • Baste and remove the pins.
find the zip tape to the seam allowances

Step-3 Sew the zipper

To sew the zipper there is a special foot for the sewing machine. Depending on the machine model you have, it may vary slightly.

The main feature of this foot is that it can be hooked in two different positions and work as half afoot, that is, the width of the foot is reduced and we can get closer to the center of the zipper to do the stitching.

We will place the foot in a different position depending on the side of the zipper we are sewing. Step by step, it will become clearer. Let’s continue!

Foot sewing machine for zippers
  • On the right, undo about 6 centimeters of the machine-basted seam.
  • Chalk the bottom stop of the zipper.
Undo machine-stitched stitches
  • Nail the needle 3 mm below the mark and 5 mm from the center of the seam (approximate measurements, depending on the width of the zipper slider you sew).
  •  Start sewing without attacking at the start with a stitch length of 2.5.
  • Cross teeth and rack another 5 mm.
Sew down the zipper
  • Stick the needle and pivot.
  • Continue sewing up.
Pivot needle and go up through the first stitching
  • When we approach the cursor, stick the needle in, and lift the presser foot.
  • Lower the zipper by hand to clear the obstacle.
  • Continue sewing.
Move cursor to continue sewing.

First side of stitched zipper.

First side of stitched zipper
  • Repeat for the other side, changing the tab of the foot, in order to get closer to the chain of teeth.
  • Nail the needle into the bottom corner sewn in above.
  • Sew over the topstitching to reinforce the end of the zipper.
Sew on top of the first stitching
  • Nail the needle, pivot and continue sewing up.
Pivot needle and continue sewing the second side of the zipper

Sewing the zipper from bottom to top has two advantages:

  • Avoid creating fabric buns at the end of the zipper.
  • Reinforce the lower part of the zipper that with opening and closing many times will need extra resistance.
  • Once the zipper is sewn, we will open the machine basted seam and with small cuts, we will undo it.
  • Remove basting stitching from the back.
Undo machine basted stitching
  • Iron with steam and with fingertips, without the iron touching the zipper since it could undo it.

And zipper ready! If you use matching thread and zipper it can be practically like an invisible zipper.

Centered stitched zipper

A remarkable aspect is that if we do the stitching very close to the chain of teeth it is possible that when you go to lower the cursor, it will not happen!

Back stitched centered zipper

We have many applications and different types of zippers ahead of us, but they all start from the basis we have seen today: the zipper tapes rest on the seam allowances.

We can already prepare popcorn and choose a romantic comedy to celebrate the lesson learned.

Until next time!

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