Learn how to sew an invisible zipper with no magic required! The idea of sewing something invisible has a really magical ring to it. Sewing an invisible zipper must require a magic wand or fairy dust! But no, actually it is one of the more simple zipper closure techniques and with these easy directions, can be tackled by anyone.
Invisible Zipper Vs Regular Zipper
Invisible zippers have fine teeth with semi-transparent tape. They are designed to be sewn into garments in a technique that makes them blend into the seam. When you look at your sewing pattern, you will notice that the invisible zipper is sewn first before the seam is completed. This is different from the order of construction when sewing a regular zipper.
Invisible zippers are measured along the teeth and not the tape. Your local fabric store should have a variety for you to choose from and I have a tutorial on how to shorten a zipper if you can only get one that is longer than you require.
You can see the types of zipper in the photo below.
What are Invisible Zippers Used For?
Invisible zippers are used in the side seams of skirts and trousers and often on the back of dresses. Cushions typically use an invisible zipper on the side so as not to detract from their designs.
How to Sew an Invisible Zipper - Supplies
You will need:
- A zipper foot (read sewing machine feet guide). This can be a regular zipper foot or a specialized invisible zipper foot. You will get great results with both but you can generally get a little closer to the tape with the specialized foot. Look for a top quality one as cheap and cheerful won’t have the same magic effect!
- An invisible zipper to insert (types of zipper). Don't worry if you don't have the right length for your project - you can easily shorten them. (how to shorten a zipper). Invisible zippers are made from nylon coil and are normally on a mesh or lightweight tape.
- Pins or tailor’s chalk.
- A garment
- And a magic wand!! (No, not really, but if you have one...)
Follow these simple steps and your invisible zipper will be inserted in no time.
How to Sew an Invisible Zipper - SEWING
Step One - Prepare the Fabric
Keep each piece of fabric flat and not sewn together at all. The zipper will be applied from the right side of the fabric and the seam should be completely open.
Step Two - Finish the Seam
Neaten or finish the seam edges if necessary before applying the zipper. Necklines may have stay stitching along the edge to stop them stretching out while you insert the zipper.
Step Three- Mark Zipper Position
Mark your seam allowance on the edges of your fabric with tailor’s chalk or pins to show where the zipper will lie. Check your pattern, but this will generally be ⅝" (1.5cm) or ½" (12mm).
Step Four - Prepare the Zipper
Open the zipper and turn it to the back side. Check your iron settings are on low so you will not melt the plastic zipper teeth.
Gently press open the curled zipper teeth so they lie straight and slightly flat. They will generally re-curl slightly when you are finished but not as much as they were initially.
Pressing open the curled edges will allow you to get closer to the edge of the tape for maximum invisibility.
Step Five - First Edge
Open the zipper up and lie it right side down with the zipper teeth on the marked guideline. (Important: the zipper head will be facing down)
Pin in place with the zipper teeth facing away from the edge. If the fabric is slippery it is a good idea to baste the fabric in place.
Alternative method - Notice how the top of the zipper tape is even with the top raw edge. If your pattern has a finished edge (this may be a folded hem or bias edge), then place the top tooth even with the edge. You can then fold the ends over when you are finished.
Step Six - Stitch the Zipper
Starting at the top edge, stitch the zipper in using either your regular or invisible zipper foot. At the bottom, stop at the end of the teeth. You may need to move the zipper head out of the way to do this at the end.
Invisible zipper foot: Put the zipper teeth under the foot and into the left groove and then sew all the way to the bottom. Before you start, check your needle is not going to hit the metal of the foot. You may need to move your needle across slightly.
Regular zipper foot: Sew as close as possible to the edge of the teeth.
Find the right balance - Sew close to the teeth but not on top of the teeth otherwise the zipper may not open easily.
Step Seven - Other Side of Zipper
Put the two pieces of fabric side by side and flip the piece with the zipper over to the other side. This puts the opposite side of the invisible zipper in the correct place to sew. Repeat steps 5 and 6 stitching the edge of the zipper.
Step Eight - Stitch the Seam
Do up the zipper and get ready to finish the job by sewing up the back seam. Pin your back seam from the bottom of the seam to the end under the bottom of the zipper.
Pull the zipper tape ends out of the way by gently moving it to the side. You can just see the ends sticking out in the photo below. Start sewing as close as possible to your previous line of stitching. Overlap a little to create a line of continuity and make sure you backstitch. Follow down to the bottom of the seam.
Step Nine - Press
Press the back seam open and check the zipper lies flat. There should be no bulges or little bubbles along the way.
How to Sew an Invisible Zipper - in Conclusion
Congratulations you have just learned how to sew an invisible zipper! It’s an easy nine-step process. No magic required! Invisible zippers give a smart finish to dresses, skirts, and tops. Use them for closing cushions and look for other projects that need a smart invisible closure.
More Articles on Sewing Zippers
- How to Sew a Zipper
- How to Shorten a Zipper
- How to Sew an Exposed Zipper
- Types of Zipper
- How to Sew an Invisible Zipper
- How to Cover Zipper Ends
- Zipper Pockets
- How to Fix a Zipper