How to Sew a Zipper

Posted by on Feb 08, 2012

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Sewing a zipper may seem simple but often poses a challenge to the novice. Jan Saunders Maresh, author of Sewing for Dummies, gives us her advice.

The Toughest Part of Sewing a Zipper

"The toughest part is sewing around the zipper pull [the part you tug on to open and close the zipper], which is why when I put a zipper in I put in a longer zipper than what is needed in the opening. In the book I have directions for an invisible zipper, it's super, super easy."

Tips for a Centered Zipper

"I buy a zipper that's longer than is needed, length doesn't matter, [but if the opening is] 12 inches, I'll buy a 14-inch zipper. [I buy a longer zipper because] I want the zipper pull out of the way because I don't want to have to sew around it. The presser foot runs into it, and you can't sew straight. [You can also break your needle.]"

"Instead of pin or hand basting [the zipper], I use Scotch tape — the cloudy stuff. I tape it perpendicular to the back of the seam. I also use tape as a top-stitching guide, so then I have a straight application of a zipper. If it's a little off on the wrong side, what you'll see [on the right side] is a nicely applied zipper."

cover of sewing for dummies
Reprinted with permission from Sewing for Dummies by Jan Saunders Maresh, published by Wiley Publishing. Lead image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov / Dreamstime.

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