Finishing The Top of a Zip

Have you ever struggled to get a professional finish at the top of a zip?

I have two methods that work well for both linings and facings. One for a standard zip and the other for an invisible zip. I've used marker pens for the samples, but always check it can be removed before marking the RS of your fabric!

Standard Zip

This method works for both a lapped and centred zip. I'm going to show the centred zip, however for the lapped zip you only need to prepare the side of the zip that overlaps, usually the front of a skirt or the left back for a centre back opening.

wrong side

Fold the seam allowance to the right side exactly on the fold line. Mark the depth of your seam allowance from the top edge and also a line where you will be stitching in the zip, usually about 7mm from the fold (9mm for a lapped zip).

Machine from the fold to the vertical line, securing both ends.
Cut down the vertical line exactly to the end of the machine stitch. Trim the fabric to reduce the bulk.

Turn the seam allowance to the wrong side and push out the corner.

Press the fold of the zip opening.


For the centred zip prepare the other side of the opening in the same way.

I've used Wonder Tape to temporarily hold the zip, the top of the zip pull needs to be 3mm below the prepared edge. You can pin or tack if you prefer.

Sew the zip.
Interface the facing and neaten the outer edge.

Open the zip. Put the facing RS against the RS of the garment. Match the top edges, the facing should extend 15mm(or the width of your seam allowance) past the zip.

Machine the the facing to the garment along the top edge. Starting and finishing in the right angle at the top of the zip.

RS facing
Trim the neck edge seam, snip across the corner of the zip. Press the facing away from the garment.
WS facing
Edge stitch by machining close to the seam through the facing and the seam allowances.
Right side
Fold the short edge of the facing to the wrong side exactly level with the right angle made earlier. Press the fold.

Fold the facing to the inside of the garment.
Pin or tack along the neck edge.
Fold the edge of the facing under and slip stitch to the machine stitch that holds in the zip. 

Invisible Zip

Sew in the's my favourite method
Put the facing wrong side down against the wrong side of the garment, matching the top edge, side seams and notches.
Fold under the short edge of the facing so the fold is about in the middle of the zip tape, pin or finger press the crease.

Try to hold the facing and the zip tape together, flip the facing over so the right sides are against each other.

Machine through the zip seam allowance and the facing about 5mm from the edge of the seam allowance.

Fold the facing back so the WS are together to check the facing is the correct length.

Trim off the extra fabric next to the zip tape.

Turn the facing RS together with the zip teeth on the fold.

Machine the facing to the garment along the top edge. Check both sides of the zip are level.

Snip across the corner and trim the seam.

Turn the facing to the inside of the garment, push out the corners.
Edge stitch through the facing and seam allowances as close as possible to the zip.