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No tears, no tearing out--Invisible zipper tutorial

I love invisible zippers.  I use them all the time.  I don't technically know how to install regular zippers; I mean, I do it, but I don't actually know how you're supposed to.  Invisible zippers are a different story, though; I could do them in my sleep but only recently did I realize an easy way to make them go in better and not require tearing out and re-doing!  Sometimes I'll sew them in on one side, then do the other side and sometimes end up being off up to half an inch.  You know, like when the waistband is half an inch off, or one side is half an inch higher than the other at the top, or you get a bubble at the join of the zipper?  Then you have to take out one side and sew it back in.  Sometimes twice.  Urgh!

The other day I realized a Duuuuuh sort of way to do this better.  Here's a tutorial on how I am now putting in all my invisible zippers!

I also should point out that I do not have a zipper foot.  Or an invisible zipper foot.  This is stupid; I know, I should just buy one!  But I've been putting in zippers with my regular long metal foot for a while now, just carefully.  In the pics below you'll see my regular foot.  It's not a problem for me and I think it works just fine, but if you have an invisible zipper foot, I bet it'd be easier.
  • Start with your invisible zipper.
  • Press the coils flat so the top looks like a regular zipper and the underside is flat.
  • Prep your garment to go right-sides-together with the zipper.
  • I like to tuck the top of my zipper tape under so I don't have to put a hook and eye on when I'm done.  If you're not as lazy as I am, ignore this part and just sew your zipper on matching top of zipper to top of garment.
  • Zip the zipper up after doing this first side.  It should look like this when you fold it back.
  • Turn the garment inside out and match up your top and waist.  Pin.
  • With your zipper flopped into its final position and zipped closed (almost undoing your flat pressing), sew the zipper into position without worrying about getting close to the teeth.  Use a really big stitch, since this will never be under any strain.
  • Here's what it'll look like.  Now, unzip the zipper and flatten the second side, and sew another row in the usual place, in between the teeth and the tape.
  • Done!  Now press...

Recognize the fabric from yesterday?  Here's what this is a part of!

Click here to read how I made this dress out of a pair of vintage pants!!!

18 comments

  1. i love the orange! and some day i will re-attempt doing a zipper. someday...

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  2. Great post! I am never happy with my zippers. I have to put a zipper in my daughter's formal dress today...can you tell I'm putting it off? I was going to do an invisible, but the color matched the regular one better....off to sew!

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  3. Wow, it's just perfect! Thanks for the tips.

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  4. adorable orange dress! you have some skill to be able to turn pants into that. love it.

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  5. I am so impressed and can't wait to try it! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. Maybe this will help me get over my fear of zippers! Thanks! Great post!

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  7. I don't get it :( I really need to learn how to do this. I'm going to try it, reading your tutorial step by step and see if I can do it.

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  8. I'm confused, too, and I've put in a regular zipper before. I think I have the gist of it, because I can picture how it should go, but in general, I don't get it either. :o(

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  9. This is absolutely awesome! I avoid invisible zippers myself, but maybe I should give it a try...

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  10. O.M.G. I can't believe you made this entire dress out of those pants! And you made zippers a little less scary for me!

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  11. WOW!! I mentioned your awesomeness today in my post!

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  12. Great tutorial. I've never put in an invisible zipper this way. I have an invisible zipper foot so no ironing or tears for me :) If I should ever be without my foot though I will bookmark this!

    And, I can't believe that used to be pants! GREAT redo!

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  13. I actually don't get your instructions. Closer pictures, more detailed tips? I've never put in an invisible zipper - too 'fraid!

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  14. Anonymous4/05/2012

    Hello there,
    I was googling invisible zipper instructions because the pattern I used basically just says install zipper. I stumbled upon your blog, and not only are your instructions a perfect refresher, but I happen to really like your blog now too!
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you found me and that the tutorial helped! It is definitely not the "official" method, but it works great for me!

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  15. This was so great! All the tutorials I looked up required the special foot, and since I couldn't drop $40 + on the invisible zipper foot for my Pfaff (had a feeling the generic cheapo wouldn't work with my machine), I was so glad to know I could do without it. I put one into a dress today and it worked perfectly THE FIRST TIME! The last dress I made with a normal zipper required about 20 re-do's and lots of frustration. Thanks so much for this tutorial!

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    Replies
    1. Awesome! Same with me, I don't have the right foot and am not sure how to even buy the right foot...

      So glad it worked great for you!

      Delete

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