Do you want to elevate your sewing projects for a more refined and professional look? One way to do so is by sewing invisible zippers! Invisible zippers are the perfect way to give your projects a seamless transition by hiding the zipper in a seam. All you need is your garment, invisible zipper, regular zipper and presser foot, fabric marker, pins and a ruler.
Before we begin, let’s look at the differences between an invisible zipper foot and regular zipper foot.
To compare, both feet have very different designs, sewing steps, and ease of use. For the invisible zipper foot, there will be two grooves in the middle of the foot. This allows for a centered stitching line. (Keep in mind that you may need to also adjust your machine’s needle position if you use it).
On the other hand, the regular zipper foot has left and right notches to allow you to stitch closer to the edge of your project. Many machines do not come with an invisible zipper foot, so in this tutorial, we’ll show you how to do it with just a regular zipper foot.
Take the fabric or project you will be working on and lay it out, pulling it smooth. Iron the fabric area if necessary. Using fabric markers or pins, mark the top edges at your desired allowance where you want your zipper to be. For this tutorial, we will do a 3/4” edge. This step can be optional however, it certainly helps to indicate your zipper placement to ensure that you have aligned the pieces precisely. Next, you will mark your desired vertical seam allowance, we will be using a ¼” seam allowance.
Before you start sewing, we need to prepare your zipper to ensure it lays flat and sews well. Take your iron and set it to the lowest heat setting. Unzip your zipper, then press and iron the zipper teeth away from the zipper tape. During this step you should lift the iron periodically to avoid melting your zipper teeth or coils.
It is good to note that the following steps will be entirely different if you use an invisible zipper foot. When using a regular zipper foot, your zipper and fabric will be sewn right sides together onto the fabric. Remember to make sure your zipper is unzipped to the end/bottom stopper for this step. Then place down the right side of your zipper onto the fabric right side. Line up the zipper coils at the exact line where you’ve marked your seam allowance, pin into place.
Now you are ready to sew your zipper, but what thread should you use? For light to medium garments, we highly recommend using an 80wt thread called DecoBob on the top and bottom. This is a very fine cottonized polyester thread that will really blend into the fabric and not add any extra bulk to the seams, so your invisible zipper will look clean and tidy. I’ll also be pairing it with a size 80/12 needle.
Position the zipper teeth under the foot’s left groove and begin sewing down from the top edge. Make sure to reverse stitch and forward to keep in place. Keep stitching until you’ve reached the point where your needle is parallel to your zipper stopper. Reverse and forward at the end to keep it in place and remove from the sewing machine.
Before sewing the other side of the zipper, flip your entire project so that your sewn side lays on top of the unsewn piece. Make sure the zipper edge is lined up with the seam allowance line at the top and side, and pin into place.
Now sew the zipper to the other side of your fabric piece and repeat the steps as before. Remember to make sure your zipper coils are lying flat, then position the zipper teeth under the right groove of the foot. Sew from the top edge and stitch into place until you’re parallel to the zipper stopper. Stitch in reverse and forward in place to make sure it’s held in place.
Now that you have completed your main stitches, we need to finish off the seams below your zipper. Pull the zipper all the way closed and place the right sides of your fabric together. Adjust the zipper tail ends so it is out of the way, then place your foot as close as possible to your stitched line, then sew an additional 2 inches.
The last step you’ll need to do to complete your invisible zipper is finishing off the seam. For this you’ll just need to remove the zipper foot and install your regular presser foot. Sew your fabrics together by following your previously stitched line, and voila! You just learned and completed a proper invisible zipper.
Regular machine foot
Take a moment to tack the ends of the zipper tape to the seam allowance to make it easier to pull your zipper.
If you’ve tried this for yourself, tag us on Instagram @wonderfilspecialtythread or by the hashtag at #wonderfil. We would love to see your sewing projects and progress!