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How to sew an invisible zip

Beginners sewing techniques - invisible zips

This inivisible zip tutorial has kindly been provided by Sew Curvy Corsetry who sell everything you need to make corsets from patterns, fabrics and accessories to full corset making kits.  They also have useful tutorials on corset making and general sewing techniques.


Invisible Zips 

Here is an illustrated story for you on “how to conquer concealed zippers”.
They are difficult! But they are worth it. The first one I did last week, was unpicked around 50 times for various reasons including sewing it on backwards, and unpicking the wrong side by mistake.. grrr!
The first thing to ensure upon embarking on a session with one of these, is that you are fully awake and preferably undistracted.
Start by ironing your zipper so that it lies quite flat on the underside. This is so that the needle can get really close to the teeth of the zip when you sew it.
How to sew a concealed zipper

Next, sew a line to mark the seam allowance where you are going to sew your zip. It is best to do this on an open seam (ie, don’t sew any of the seam until the zipper is in). The zipper teeth are going to sit on this line.

Adding zips to clothing

This is an invisible zipper foot. It is made of plastic, costs around £3.00 and is ‘multi fit’ – so it can be used on lots of different machines. Most machines are “short shank” and this foot is for short shank machines. It came with no instructions and took me a while to realise that the regular machine foot has to be removed in it’s entirety in order to fit this foot. The brown base slides through the blue part in order that you can line up the needle properly.

What is an invisible zipper foot?

In the (terrible) picture below you can see that the needle is right in the middle of the foot, the mid point being marked by a notch just behind the needle. The notch can be better seen in the picture above.

What sewing machine foot do you use for sewing zips?

An invisible zip is sewn in an open position unlike a regular zip. Align the right side of the open zip to the right side of the fabric, with the teeth sitting just over the seam line that you have marked. Pin it in place and then baste. It is very important to baste the zip on before you machine. Trust me, it only takes a minute and will avoid a lot of heartache later, not to mention a sore back and a sore head. In my experience, once you start unpicking, you can’t stop! It’s as if suddenly a curse arrives on the zip.

Should baste an invisible zip into place before sewing it?
Here you can see how the zipper foot works. It has a groove which rolls the teeth of the zip over to once side whilst keeping everthing ‘on track’ and enabling the needle to sew really really close to the edge. This is the secret of the invisible zipper.
I now sew with a long machine basting stich… just to make extra sure. It’s easier to unpick if you need to, and won’t spoil the zip like a smaller stitch could. As you sew, you have to be careful not to sew over the teeth otherwise the finished zip won’t close.
How to insert a concealed zip
Because the foot is really quite cumbersome, you can’t get right to the end of the zip like you can with a normal zipper foot. So just go as far as you possibly can on both sides.
When both sides of the zip are attached to your satisfaction (ie: so that when you close the zip you can’t see it on the right side), and you have sewn over your machine basting with a stronger stitch, you can finish sewing the seam that it’s on.
Sew the seam from the bottom to the top in the normal way, and when you get to the base of the zipper, pull it to the inside, so that your machine foot can sew right up the seam allowance to where you stopped sewing the zip. This will close the seam. (note that the zip is still ‘undone’ at this stage).
Beginner's guide to sewing zips

For a neat edge, attach your usual zipper foot and sew down the other side of the zip on the seam allowance.

How to sew a hidden zip

This will give a secure and neat finish to the inside of your item.

How to sew a professional invisible zip

Et voila! You should have a perfectly invisible zip!

Why not learn how to sew a lapped zip next?