Sewing Zippers
How to sew different types of zippers

Sewing zippers. The zipper is an amazing invention, it has become one of them most commonly use closure for many sewing projects.

Adding  zippers to your sewing projects, tends to be a challenge. Especially when you are first learning to sew. Although zipper application may seem intimidating, once you see how to install them, it will become second nature in your sewing endeavors.

Sewing Zippers

Zippers are available in different weights for different fabric and purposes.

A zipper is made with two strips of woven tape, and connected by interlocking teeth.

The teeth are made from metal, plastics or synthetic. Coil zippers are made from polyester or nylon.

  • Coil zippers are light weight heat resistant and rustproof.
  • Metal zippers are for heavier fabrics such as denim or canvas.
  • Zippers come in many colors and sizes. They can blend into the garment or project, or you can use them as a design feature like a sewing trim would be used.

Polyester all-purpose zippers are used for all weights of fabrics and garments or projects.

Separating zippers are both metal and plastic. Separating zippers are available in medium and heavy weights and are used for jackets, sportswear, and home decor.

Plastic separating zippers are used in exercise wear. They are lightweight but still as strong as their metal counter part.

Invisible zippers

Invisible zipper
Invisible zipper

Invisible zippers are one of my favorites of all the zippers.

Some zippers are used as a sewing trim, but in this case an invisible zipper is considered a notion.

I like the garments that I sew, to have a clean look, meaning you don't see the zipper or stitches when the garment is finished. These zippers are a little different from regular zippers in that the teeth coil inward. The only thing that shows is the pull.

Invisible zipper foot
Invisible zipper foot

You will need a special invisible zipper attachment for your machine, like the photos above, which can be purchased at your local sewing machine retailer. It is not expensive at around $5-$10 dollars.

Lapped Zipper

A lapped zipper technique is used in garments and home decor alike.

It is very common in sewing pillows or throw cushions.

Here is a very clear tutorial for a  lapped zipper.

Sewing A Centered Zipper

Start with a standard zipper.The length of the zipper will be determined by the garment or project you are working on.

The pattern you use will tell you the correct length of zipper needed for your project.

Pin your two sides of fabric together. In this case you will want to match the gingham pattern as close as possible. 

how to sew zippers

Sew a machine basting stitch from the top of the garment to the point where the zipper will end.

Note: Machine basting stitch is a larger stitch, (3.0mm or more) used to secure a temporary seam. You will pick this seam out later.

Press open the seam so it is flat and ready to place the zipper on it.

Place the zipper so the teeth are centered directly on the seam.

Secure the zipper with hand basting, pins or double sided sewing tape (my personal preference is the tape)

Note: Double sided sewing tape will dissolve the first time you wash your garment or project.

centered zipper

Once you have your sewing zipper in place and you are happy with the look of your zipper installation, you can now unpick the basting you put in the first step.

This is how the finished centered zipper looks on the inside of the garment and the outside.

I hope you can see how sewing zippers is not so intimidating at all.

centered Zipper tutorial

The finished product looks like the photo to the left.

The notes in the photo indicate how the top sides are equal and everything lines up for a nice finish. Spending a little more time is worth it.

For more information on sewing zippers, click here.