Sewing an invisible zipper strikes fear into the hearts of many a sewist! One of the main challenges is avoiding that annoying bubble that can occur at the end of the zip. In this handy tutorial we'll show you how to prevent the bubble and remove the challenge of sewing around the zipper. It's a goodie!
For this method of invisible zip insertion you will need an invisible zip that is around 3" longer than the required finished length. This is crucial to avoiding sewing round the zipper and those ugly bubbles!
First prepare the centre back seam of your garment. Finish the raw edges of the seam allowances with your preferred method then sew a long basting stitch where the zip will be positioned. Next sew with a normal stitch length beyond this point and to the hem.
Press the seam allowances open and use tailors chalk or a chaco pen to mark the point where your zip will start at the top. How far down the zip needs to be depends on the thickness of the fabric and how the neckline will be finished. Here I am working with denim so have positioned the zip to allow for the thickness of the fabric.
A useful tip is to also mark the midway point on your zip tapes and both seam allowances. This will enable you to make sure your zip is lined up correctly on each side when you come to sew it in place. If you are sewing a dress with a waist seam you could use the waist seam as your marker.
Now it is time to temporarily fix the zip in place ready for sewing. I like to use basting tape for this job. It is a double sided transparent tape. I find it much easier than pins and it is also easy to reposition the tapes if you go wrong. Remember to make sure your chalk markings on the zip tapes and seam allowances line up.
I also hand basted the zip in place using top stitching thread for extra security. This step only takes a few minutes, but will help you to get excellent results.
Next unpick the basting stitches along the centre back seam.
Now for the really clever bit! Slide a long pair of tweezers or a hemostat, if you have one, between the loose excess zip at the bottom of the garment and up through the little gap in the fabric. Grasp the zipper and pull it down until you can grab it with your fingers. If using tweezers you may need to push it down from the other end too to get it through.
Here you can see what I'm doing from the right side:
And the wrong side:
Pull the zipper all the way to the end.
Next sew the invisible zip into place in the normal way. I like to use an invisible zipper foot to get nice and close to the teeth. Make sure you sew just past where you want the zip to end, about half an inch or so.
Now you're ready to see the magic. Grab the zipper and pull it all the way to the top of the garment in one simple move. No need to manoeuvre round the zipper or sew up the little gap between the seam allowances and where the zipper ends, it is already done!
To shorten the excess zip length simply sew some zig zag stitches across the zip where you want it to end to create a new stopper then snip the ends off with your scissors.
You will be left with a lovely neat zip - no bubbles and no stress!
We hope you've enjoyed this super tip as much as we have!
Have fun sewing!
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