The Invisible zipper (also called the concealed zipper or the hidden zipper) is a dream come true for a true couturier who is looking for a perfect fastener. The best thing about invisible zippers is that when stitched on a seam, it looks like the seam and nothing like a zipper opening. It disappears into the seam but gives you a fantastic opening, with just a peep of the zipper pull. What more do you want from a true blue fastener?
There are many ways of attaching an invisible zipper. The simplest way is to attach it with a special invisible foot. But you can very well attach the invisible zipper with the ordinary zipper foot you get when you buy a sewing machine
How to attach the invisible zipper with an ordinary zipper foot
You need a zipper opening seam and a long invisible zipper (1 inch longer than the opening) in preferably the same colour as your fabric and a zipper foot on your sewing machine.
Interfacing strips for the zipper opening and hand sewing needle and thread are also welcome. If you interface the area behind the opening it will give strength to the area. All experts interface zipper openings.
Steps to sewing invisible zip
Mark a 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch seam allowance on both edges of fabric . Mark the zipper opening (where you will be attaching the invisible zipper) as well about 1″ less than your invisible zipper. Mark this line about 1/8″ smaller than the regular seam beneath the zipper opening(refer picture below).
Finish the edges of the cut edges now.
You can attach / press an interfacing strip to the zipper opening seams on both sides. This will reinforce your seams. This step is highly recommended on kid’s dresses and frequently worn clothes of adults as the zipper undergo lots of pulls and pressures.
Open the zipper and use an iron to press the tape flat, as the tape curls to the back from the coils. Do not press the plastic coils.
Sew the seam closed with long basting stitches till the mark for the zipper opening.
The rest of the seam has to be sewn with regular stitches. Remember to start the ordinary seam with a back stitching otherwise it will unravel when you open the zipper seam
Press the seam open
Using a seam ripper cut the seam open for the zipper.
Keep the zipper face down on the right side seam, right on the pressed fold of the fabric ( fabric is ofcourse right side up).
The coils should be running along the seam line ( over the pressed fold) and the tape should be within the seam allowance.
Using a hand sewing needle and thread (use a contrast coloured thread) baste stitch the zipper coil . You will remove this stitch later.
Position your zipper foot on the LEFT side of the needle. Adjust the needle position so the needle will stitch along the teeth.
Stitch from the top along the tape as close as possible to the coils, all the way to end of the seam opening. As you stitch Uncurl the zipper tape with your fingertips, push them aside, then sew (this is important).
Back-stitch to reinforce the stitching. You should start with a backstitch to anchor the thread at the top. Stitch from top to down. When you reach the end of the zipper opening make a diagonal stitch to the zipper coil (or backstitch).
Now close the zipper and pin / baste stitch the other side of the zipper coil to the other side of the opening from the back of the fabric as in the picture above.
Open the zipper. Move zipper foot to the other side of the needle and make sure that the lower edge of the garment is even.
Start stitching the other zipper coil (again very close to the zipper coil). You will have to close the zipper at one point as you continue stitching to the end
Close the zipper and see if everything is alright – the zipper tape and coil should be almost invisible from the outside except for the pull
Pull the zipper end to the back neatly and hand stitch the free end at the bottom of each zipper tape to the seam allowance.
Add a fabric loop and a small button or a hook and eye at the top if you want a more secure opening. Some do this at the back as well.
How to attach the invisible foot without finishing the full seam
If you haven’t bothered to finish the seam before attaching the invisible seam, very well – if that is how you prefer to do it.
Attach the invisible zipper first. Then finish the rest of the seam the following way – keep the fabric right sides together. Pull the zipper end to the right, out of way of the seam. Gently and carefully lower the needle by hand turning the wheel to the last stitch you have made for the zipper. You can stitch 1/8 ” to the left of this last stitch. Back stitch and start stitching down to complete the seam
How to sew an invisible zipper with a special invisible zipper foot
This special foot has two grooves underneath. The zipper coil goes into this groove and makes it easier for you to stitch closely along the coils. No need to even iron the zipper tape flat and risk burning of the zipper or twisting and turning to keep the coils straight or worry about not being able to stitch close to the coils.
Directions to do it are the same as earlier – but here you place the zipper coil in the groove of the invisible foot.
Start stitching at the top of the zipper and continue until the foot reaches the end of the opening.
When you sew the zipper on the left side of the opening adjust the needle to the right so that the needle will fall on the rightside of the zipper tooth.
When you sew the zipper on the right side of the opening adjust the needle to the left so that the needle will fall on the left side of the zipper tooth.
Invisible zippers are a great addition to well finished great looking garments. Remember to keep the zipper closed when you are washing the garment to make sure that it is not damaged.
You can learn how to attach an invisible zipper on a skirt with a waistband here in this post on sewing a skirt with a flounce hem.
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