How to insert an invisible zipper

Invisible zippers are beautiful on skirts and tops. They are a discreet closure for beautiful garments, and they are not hard to do.
One difference you’ll notice from the way you insert a regular zipper is that you do not stitch the rest of the seam first. You first insert the zipper, then sew the rest of the seam. Frankly, I find it easier to get a nice, even finish with this type of zipper.


(Click fabrics for direct links for purchase at Warehouse Fabrics Inc.)

Invisible zipper

Retro Black/Pink

Invisible-zipper foot

The process

The left picture shows the invisible zipper from the right side. The right photo shows the back of the zipper.Notice how you don’t see the teeth from the front.
Press your zipper teeth away from the zipper tape using a cool iron setting.
These two fabric pieces are my pretend garment. They could represent the back of a top or skirt.For now, you’ll leave the entire seam undone.
Click to enlarge. This is an invisible-zipper foot. It has two grooves to ride along the zipper teeth and you can adjust where the needle goes through. It can either go through the center hole or through the groove on either side.
Open the zipper. The top of the zipper will start about 3/4 of an inch below the top of the fabric.

Place the zipper right-side down on the right side of the right piece of fabric. Got that? Look at the picture. It’s the right fabric piece, right-side up. Then place the zipper right-side down with the zipper teeth along the seam allowance. In the end, the zipper will flip around along the seam allowance and be hidden.Sew with the zipper teeth in the right groove of the presser foot.
Stop when your presser foot comes in contact with the zipper pull. Back stitch and remove from machine.
I used white thread so you can see how nice and close the stitches get to the teeth (above left). Above right, you can see my fabric pieces/zipper at this point. The free side of the zipper will now be attached to the left piece of fabric.
You may want to click the left picture to see it bigger. The bottom piece of fabric is the “left side” of my so-called garment. I have pinned the zipper tape to the fabric right-sides together, teeth on the seam allowance line.Sew as above, but this time you’ll have the zipper teeth under the left groove on the foot (above right). Once again, stop when you hit the zipper pull.


Here, I have the zipper installed but the rest of the seam allowance below it remains unsewn. I’ve finger pressed the right piece of fabric so you can see how the zipper will tuck under and be hard to detect.
Move your needle so it’s lined up with the groove on the right-side of the foot (this foot has a screw and is adjustable — you can slide it back and forth to align with the needle as you’d like).Place your fabrics right-sides together and line up the edges. Pull the bottom of the zipper tape out a little. Line up your needle just to the left of the current row of stitches, just above where you left off on sewing on the zipper. Start sewing your seam allowance. Go a few inches, and if you’d like, switch to your regular presser foot to finish the seam.

On the picture at the right, above, I marked the two seams in blue. I’m not sure if you can see it as well as I’d like.

Here’s my finished zipper. At this point, it really is invisible. The picture to the right shows where the zipper ends and the seam continues on. It’s really a seamless transition.That raw edge and gap along the top will be where your facing or collar is added.


Other views

(Click for bigger views)