Invisble Zip - Another Way!
By Di, Jul 17 2018 04:58PM
It's never too late to have a new favourite method for doing something!
I always thought invisible zips were my super power. However getting them to join smoothly with the seam at the bottom is always a challenge.
This method stitches the seam first.
The top of the zip pull needs to sit about 2-3mm below the stitching line at the top.
The opening for the zip needs to be long enough to get the garment on and off, but always shorter than the zip. In my experience there's usually only short or long zips, however they're longer than necessary.
Mark a line across the zip tape about 2cm above the bottom stop.
With the top of the zip pull just below the top stitching line use the zip to work out where the zip opening should end. The line you marked is the length of the opening in the seam.
Stitch the seam below this point, reinforcing the stitching at the end of the opening. Then use your longest stitch to close the opening 15mm from the edge.
Press the seam open and draw a line across the seam allowances where the bottom of the opening will be.
With the zip pull down against the wrong side of the garment match the lines you've drawn on the zip tape and the seam.
Carefully match the centre of the zip to the seam
Pin the zip tape to both seam allowances, but not the main fabric. If you prefer you can use Wonder Tape. This is a double sided tape that eventually washes away.
Machine through the zip tape and the seam allowance. You might need to move the needle position so you can get past the zip pull. Stop level with the line you drew on the zip tape, it makes things easier later.
After stitching both sides of the zip you remove the basting from the zip opening. I prefer to pull this stitching out from one side, if you use an unpicker the cut threads can get caught in the zip.
Open the zip right down to the bottom stop.
Change to your invisible zip foot.
I like to use a pin, but you could tack if you want. Roll the zip teeth open and carefully pin very close to the teeth so the pin matches with the stitching at the top of the seam on the other side.
Use the zip foot stitch from the bottom of the zip towards the top. Note which side of the foot the teeth are under.
Start stitching exactly at the line you marked on the zip tape. You can use a lock stitch or fasten off securely later. Use a finger to roll the teeth open and stitch really close to the teeth.
Repeat with the other side of the zip, starting at the bottom of the zip stitching to the top.
To fasten the zip for the first time you need to push the zip pull between the zip tape and the fabric. I find it best to have the garment with the wrong side on top.
Grab the zip pull in one hand and the bottom of the zip tape with the other. Pull to close the zip.
Thank you for sharing! I have to try this out!
Thank you for your helpful blogs. I use a similar method and wonder why on earth people use the method where you open the zip and pin each side individually before sewing. By machine basting the seam closed in the first place you can make sure that patterns or stripes or waist seams match across the zip and are securely in place before sewing the zip in. My method, as I said, is similar but not exactly the same and I extend the basting past the end of the zip and close the seam properly after sewing the zip. One thing I would mention is that, when positioning the invisible zip foot to sew, to make sure that the needle does not pierce the little edge bit of the zip tape right next to the teeth and between the teeth and the zip foot. If this edge is accidentally caught with a stitch then you will not be able to do the zip up at that point. Rolling the teeth to the side, as you do, prevents that.
That's great advice, thank you. My previous tutorial stitched the seam after stitching in the zip, however I'm finding this method is easier to match the seam at he bottom of the zip. Like you I've always stitched the zip tapes first, often witha zig zag stitch.
Thank you ellen.
Sewing advice and tips
Simple pattern alteration for a side seam pocket
Use your overlocker to make buttonhole loops
The Savile Row Coat