Feb 262013
 

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper  Tutorial

How is everyone’s Fuchsia coming along? There is only one more step after we insert this zipper! I tried to be as inclusive as possible with this tutorial so you can refer to it any time you need to insert an invisible zipper in any project. Ready? Let’s go!

First thing I like to do is press the zipper. This is a totally OPTIONAL step, and you can pull it open as you stitch if you do not want to press it. If you do want to press it first, put it on a polyester (low heat) setting and do not press over the coils. You want to press the coils open to create the “ditch” the stitching should go in.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 1

The next picture shows the zipper with one side pressed so you can see the difference the pressing makes.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 2

Since we finished all our seam allowances in the last step, we can start right in on the zipper. Measure down 1/8″ more than the seam allowance from the top of the waistband. Our seam allowance is 3/8″ so I measured down 1/2″ and marked a line. (with a Frixion pen!) Make this mark on both sides. This mark shows us where to place the top stop of the zipper. Not the top of the tape, the zipper stop will go right below this mark.

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 3

Lolita Patterns | Invisible Zipper Tutorial 4

I use pins to place my zipper, but a great alternative is to use Wonder Tape. It is sticky and holds the zipper in place exactly where you need it, yet washes away with water after you have completed your stitching.

If this is your first time inserting an invisible zipper, watch the pictures closely to make sure you are placing it correctly. While inserting it, it may look a little twisted, but if you follow the pictures, it will come out great.

Pin (or wonder tape) the right side of the zipper tape to the right side of the project.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 6

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 5It is best to sew an invisible zipper with an invisible zipper foot. These feet are not very expensive and definitely help get in the groove next to the coils to make sure the zipper is truly “invisible” when it is finished. However, you can use your regular zipper foot and we will discuss both ways.

While sewing, be sure to peel back the coils to make sure the needle can get as close to them as possible without actually stitching through any coils. Stitch as far down as you can–the zipper pull will eventually stop you.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 7

This picture shows the zipper being inserted on the left hand side, but make sure to pull the coils back as you sew on both sides

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 8

Using a regular zipper foot and pulling back the coils

After sewing the first side, go ahead and zip up the zipper so we can make a marking where the zipper needs to match up seams.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 8

Now we want to mark the match points. (I only had a 9 inch zipper so mine does not go into the scallops, but if yours does, do this same marking where you want the scallops to match.) Draw a line exactly where the waistband seam is on the opposite side of the zipper. (and the scallops if necessary)

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 9

Now unzip the zipper, and use those placement lines to match the seams while pinning (or wonder taping) the zipper to the other side.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 10

matching the mark to the waistband seam

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 11

Look closely at the above picture to orient the zipper correctly. The right side of the zipper goes to the right side of the fabric and the coils face away from the opening. Where the zipper pull is at the bottom will look all twisted and weird. This is okay.

Go ahead and sew down this side as far as you can while again pulling the coils out of the way of your stitching. Here is a picture of what the zipper will look like after stitching. The seam below the zipper is still not yet sewn.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 12

Go ahead and test the zipper to make sure it has been sewn up the right way and that the seams match where you want them to.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 13

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 13

close up of seam below zipper that is not yet sewn

If you are pleased with how invisible the zipper is and all your match points line up, then go ahead and fold the right sides of the fabric together so we can sew the lower part of the seam.

I sew from the bottom of the seam up to about 1/2″ from where the zipper stitching stops and I use my regular foot. Make sure to pull the bottom of the zipper tape out of the way so you do not sew it in the seam.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 14

close up of zipper stitching and seam stitching from bottom of garment

Lastly, put on your regular zipper foot and attach the stitching together while holding the bottom of the zipper tape out of the way.

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 15

see how I am pulling the bottom of the zipper tape to the side so it is not caught in the stitching?

All done! The more you do these zippers, the more they are easier than regular zippers. I love invisible zippers!

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 16

All done! oops, I forgot to press…ignore the wrinkles please

Lolita Patterns | How To Insert an Invisible Zipper 17

completed inside of invisible zipper with seam allowances finished with seam binding

How did it go???

If you do regularly insert invisible zippers and they are not truly “invisible” when finished, try pressing the coils before beginning as written above, and also using an invisible zipper foot and pull the coils back while sewing. The easiest way to make an invisible zipper not invisible is not sewing close enough to the coils. But sew too close, and you might sew into the coils and you won’t be able to do the zipper at all! It is a fine balance, but after a couple time, you figure it out and then it works every time!

Only one more step to finish our Fuchsia! We will attach the waistband facings and have a beautifully clean finish, all attached to the zipper, and done completely by machine!! No hand slip stitching required. Then I want to see everyone’s finished Fuchsia!

Still need to get your Fuchsia? It is free in the shop! Missed any of the other sew-along posts? They are all compiled right here!

 Any questions? Leave us a comment here or email us!  Also, check out our new Pinterest board on tutorials. I am pinning all sewing tutorials and projects that look helpful. It is a great resource to find the help you need when you need it. I refer to it all the time!

Post your Fuchsia pictures to the Fuchsia Flickr Group and when the sew-along is finished, I will do a round up of all the beautiful finished garments–a Parade of Fuchsia’s!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

  5 Responses to “How To Insert an Invisible Zipper”

  1. [...] Amity from Lolita Patterns shows how to insert an invisible zipper.  She gives step-by-step instructions with plenty of photos to show the process.  Go to her tutorial to see how she does it. [...]

  2. [...] Amity from Lolita Patterns shows how to insert an invisible zipper.  She gives step-by-step instructions with plenty of photos to show the process.  Go to her tutorial to see how she does it. [...]

  3. Hello! I have arrived at the zipper zone. I have never successfully sewn in an inv. zip and although your tutorial is super good great, I think I had better stick with the old tried and true lapped zipper method. I have so much work into the skirt now that I’m afraid to botch it up.

    I will, however, use this tutorial to see if I can learn to put in some practice zips once I complete the Fuchsia skirt.

    Any thoughts on using a lapped zipper? I know I have only 3/8 inch to work with at the side seam, but I think it will work out okay.

    • Practicing on scraps first is an excellent idea…just in case it doesn’t go as planned the first time around. The more times we do something, the better we get!

      Nhi used a lapped zipper in one of her versions and it worked just fine. The Fuchsia really lends itself well to modifications.

  4. […] feed through your sewing machine. For more details on inserting an invisible zipper, visit our tutorial. You can always baste your zipper in first. I tend to baste the second side since that’s the […]

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