Learn all about how to use a zipper foot! The zipper is such a great invention no dressmaker can ever imagine what life in the sewing room would be like without the zipper. Then of course the famous zipper needs a useful foot to ensure it sews up perfectly. That’s where the zipper foot makes its entrance. If you are going to sew a zipper into your garment don’t attempt this process without a zipper foot.
What is a Zipper Foot
The zipper foot enables the sewing machine needle to stitch close to the raised edge of the zipper. The gadget itself can be attached to the machine’s presser foot shaft. The zipper foot has the added advantage of being able to attach to the right or the left side of the presser foot holder. Use your zipper foot to insert piping as well as cording.
Your zipper foot will look slightly different depending on your brand of machine. The foot on the left is from my modern Janome and the one on the right is from my mother's older Singer machine. The attachment may vary from a snap-on to a screw-on version depending on your machine’s specifications.
How to Use a Zipper Foot
Start by looking at the zipper and where you plan to place it on your garment. Will you have an opening in the middle of the seam and a center placing, or will the zipper seam be lapping over to the left or the right. Before you start using the zipper foot decide on the different options that suit your garment and zip closure.
How to Use a Zipper Foot for a Centered Zip
Here are the steps for how to sew a zipper.
Step 1 - Baste
Baste and stitch your seam together right sides facing and press the seam open.
Step 2 - Stitch
Place the zipper under the seam line on the wrong side where the machine line was stitched.
Attach the zipper foot to the machine. Set your machine to a regular straight stitch on the left side of the foot. Follow the machine instructions for your particular brand of machine.
With right sides facing up stitch along the zipper opening down to the bottom. Pivot the needle and stitch across the end of the zipper. Make several back and forth stitches with the machine to form a bar at the end of the zipper to act as a stopper. Return to the other side and repeat sewing.
Step 3 - Unpick
Both sides should be stitched now. Remove basting threads and sewing stitches from the center seam down the zip opening. To do this use a seam ripper carefully.
How to Use a Zipper Foot - Different Zippers
Here is how a zipper foot helps sew different styles of zippers:
This zipper is hidden in the seam and appears to be invisible. The only part of this zipper that should be visible is the pull at the top. The zipper foot helps the machine to sew close to the edge and keep the zipper concealed. Read my full tutorial on how to sew an invisible zipper.
These zippers are able to open at the top and bottom to separate two sides of a garment or the front opening of a garment. The zipper foot enables the stitching to sit neatly against the larger pull and slide mechanism of this zipper style.
The zipper foot enables one side of the zipper to be stitched close to the zipper while the opposite side laps over and is wider. Having a zipper foot makes the lapped zipper easier to control and finish with a neat stitched side.
The fly front zipper has a fly front facing and can be a little tricky. The zipper foot gives a neat edge and helps with careful stitching to create a really smart-looking fly front zipper.
More About the Zipper Foot
Zippers are used for a wide range of items including bags, sports gear, jackets and pants, and all kinds of camping and outdoor wear. The zipper, sewn correctly, is a force to be reckoned with.
The zipper foot allows the machine needle to sew neat close to the edge stitching. After using a zipper foot you will never want to sew in a zip without one. Many sewers want to avoid inserting a zipper. However, with a zipper foot, they may well change their minds. Most modern zipper feet come with an adjustable setting so they can be set to sew close to the zipper edge and create a very neat opening. The zipper foot set correctly will stop you from sewing over the teeth of the zip.
There are different advantages to different styles of zipper feet. Here are some added advantages attached to different brands of zipper feet.
Look out for the following:
- A narrow central ‘toe’ that can stitch very close to the zipper mechanism.
- An adjustable positioning to the left or to the right. The foot has a notch cut into the centre part of the foot attachment. The foot fits neatly up to the zipper and the needle moves in and out of the notched edge.
- Several makes of machine have an invisible zipper foot. It works differently to the standard zipper foot because the right side of the fabric and the right side of the zipper are sewn together. The fabric is turned to to be concealed with the zipper. The invisible zipper foot has groves underneath to guide the coils of the zip as the stitching takes place. Watching a tutorial on this foot makes it easier to understand and see how to position the fabric and the invisible zipper.
- A concealed zipper foot works the same way as the invisible zipper foot.
- The zipper foot guide found on some makes of machine has extra teeth sitting over the zipper teeth and this helps to guide the zipper foot over the zipper’s teeth.
What Else can a Zipper Foot Do?
The zipper foot is a great help with sewing and making piping. The zipper foot is able to get close to the edge of the piping and stitch neatly along the edge. The zipper foot is ideal for stitching cording and often used in soft furnishings to add decorative inserts to cushions and chair covers. The zipper foot is able to follow the line close to the piping because the needle of the machine has close access to the stitching line without sewing the piping.
How to Use a Zipper Foot for Piping:
How to Use a Zipper Foot - In Conclusion
The zipper foot is a really useful tool and accessory for every automatic machine. Learning how to use the invisible zipper foot will give you a ‘zippedy doo dah’ moment as you celebrate your new skill and ability to sew an invisible zipper into a garment. It is very neat and very professional.
MORE ZIPPER TUTORIALS
- How to Shorten a Zipper
- How to Sew a Zipper
- Types of Zipper
- How to Sew an Exposed Zipper
- How to Cover Zipper Ends
- How to Sew an Invisible Zipper
- How to Fix a Zipper
- Sewing a Zipper Pocket
- How to Use a Zipper Foot