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How to sew a zipper

From invisible zips to standard ones, use our guide to learn how to sew a zipper and have the skills to make or mend your clothes at home.


By Cleanipedia Team

Getting crafty and making yourself some new clothes, or don’t want to throw away an old jacket with a broken zip? Whether you need pants zipper repair tips or advice on inserting a brand-new zip into an outfit you’re sewing, we’ve got you covered.

Key Steps

  • Select the correct size zip.

  • Line up your zip.

  • Baste the area shut, then sew your zip in place.

  • Use a zipper foot, inserting it to the side you're sewing.

  • Remove basting stitches with a seam ripper.

  • For an invisible zip, sew as close to the teeth as possible.

To protect your zipper from damage in the wash pop clothes with zips inside a laundry bag and use a good quality laundry detergent.

You will need:

  • Zip
  • Sewing machine with a zipper foot
  • Thread to match
  • Seam ripper

How to sew a zipper

  1. Choose your zipper.

    Make sure that is the correct length for your garment.

  2. Open the zip and attach your zipper foot to your machine.

    If you are unsure how to change the foot over, be sure to refer to the manual. When attaching it, make sure the needle is on the side you are sewing, i.e. if the zip is to the left of your needle, the zipper foot should be inserted on the left.

  3. Baste shut the area you are sewing.

    Don’t panic, this will be removed later. Only baste the area the zipper will cover. Lay the zip over the seam and use a pin to mark the bottom. Baste to the pin. A standard stitch can be used to sew the rest of the seam closed.

  4. Iron the seam open.

    This needs to be done to the part you wish to insert the zipper.

  5. Line up your zipper.

    Make sure it is lined up correctly with the seam, and pin it in place.

  6. Sew the zip in place.

    Sew down one side, and across the bottom. Now switch the zipper foot to the other side and sew the other side of your zip to the top.

  7. Use a seam ripper.

    Use the seam ripper to remove your basting stitches.

If you are using our guide for clothing repairs, such as a leather coat or jeans zipper repair, you may not need a brand-new zip. Instead, attach your zipper foot to your machine and follow steps 5-7 to add new stitches to fix your zip.

How to insert a concealed zip into a dress or other clothes

Read on for our guide for how to sew an invisible zipper into clothes.

  1. Attach your zipper foot to your machine.

    You may need to move the needle in line with the edge of the foot to allow you to sew close to the zipper teeth but not on them.

  2. Make sure your zip is an invisible one.

    These have teeth that face to the back of the zip. Line it up with the inside of the seam you wish to sew it into.

  3. Now, there are two options!

    Press the teeth of the zip away from the tape. This will give you a line visible on the tape close to the teeth which you can use as a sewing guide.

    Tack your zip onto your fabric. If you are using a standard zipper foot on your sewing machine, this may be an easier option.

  4. Sew along the edge of the teeth on one side of the zip.

    Keep as close as possible to the zipper teeth but take care not to sew on them.

  5. Check that your zip can be fastened.

    If not, you may have to unpick and restitch.

  6. If it can be fastened...

    open it up and sew up the other side.

If you are using this guide for dress zipper repair, you may not need a brand-new zip. Instead, attach your zipper foot to your machine and follow steps 3-6 to add new stitches to fix your zip.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

We have covered the basics of inserting new zips and leather coat zipper repair with this simple guide to how to sew a zipper, so you have all the steps you need to get sewing whether it’s an invisible or standard zip. Remember, always check the label before washing your zippered items, and if it allows, use a fabric conditioner with your detergent to make them smell wonderful!

Read other articles from the Clothing Care category

How to get colour run out of clothes

What do the symbols on washing machines mean

How to remove static from clothes

How to stop clothes bobbling

How to make clothes smell good and stay fresh

Originally published