Zippers can feel super intimidating to beginner sewers, but they’re actually pretty easy to pull off, and some are easier to insert than others. Like the invisible zipper. When you add one, there’s no machine stitching visible from the right side of the project. Everything is done behind the scenes, totally concealed within the seam allowances.
If you want to sew invisible zippers all the time — they can be used in skirts, tops, dresses, even decor pillows — investing in an invisible zipper foot (sometimes called a concealed zipper foot) can save you time and energy. Plus, using one will give you a more quality look than you’d be able to achieve with a regular zipper foot. Once you have it in hand, this is how to put it to good use.
How to Sew an Invisible Zipper Foot
What You Need
Good to Know
Invisible zippers should be sewn in when the pattern pieces are separate and still flat. You’ll also sew them to the right side of the project, contrary to all other types of zipper applications.
1. Prepare the Seam Edges
Finish or serge the joining seam edges where the zipper will be added. Place the joining seam edges side by side, right side up. If you're making a dress or skirt, do not sew in the back seam.
Mark ¾” from the top edges of both pieces. This indicates the placement of the zipper and ensures that both sides of the joined pieces align perfectly.
2. Mark the Seam Allowances
Mark a ⅝” vertical seam allowance where the invisible zipper will be placed.
3. Prepare the Zipper
Open up the zipper, rolling and pressing out the curled zipper teeth so they lay slightly flat. (This will help you get a closer stitch, resulting in a cleaner finish for the zipper.) Be sure to press with a low setting — too much heat can melt the teeth.
4. Pin the Zipper
Place the zipper coil right side down along one of the marked ⅝” seam allowances and pin in place.
Pinning in place should be sufficient if the fabric will not shift and is stable. If the fabric is slippery and likely to shift during stitching, hand baste the zipper in place. Then remove your pins.
5. Sew One Side of the Zipper
Double-check the zipper coils are rolled out and flat, then position the zipper teeth under the proper groove in the invisible zipper foot. Start at the top edge and stitch in place until the foot reaches the zipper stop. Backstitch to lock and remove.
6. Pin the Other Side of the Zipper
Lay the joining pieces side by side with the zipper open and facing up. Flip the pattern piece with the zipper sewn in place, so it lays on top of the unsewn pattern piece, right sides together. Adjust so the unsewn side of the zipper coil is aligned with the marked ⅝” seam allowance. Pin in place.
Good to Know
It is important that the ¾“ markings along the top edge of each pattern piece are aligned with one another. Otherwise, the zipper will be sewn in uneven. Adjust and re-pin if necessary.
7. Sew the Other Side of the Zipper
Sew the zipper to the other side of the pattern piece. Remember to make sure the zipper coils are rolled out and lying flat, then position the zipper teeth under the proper groove in the foot. Start at the top edge and stitch in place until the foot reaches the zipper stop. Backstitch to lock and remove.
8. Finish the Seam Below the Zipper
Close the zipper. Place right sides of the fabric together and move the zipper tails out of the way. Place the project into your sewing machine; lower the needle as close to the last stitching line as possible. Lower the foot and stitch away from the zipper for about 2”.
When sewing seams, remember to backstitch at both the beginning and end so it stays nice and secure.
9. Complete the Seam
Change to a regular presser foot. Complete the seam on the project following the last stitching line.
Photos by Marni Weaver