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How to Sew in a Zipper

Rimlee Bhuyan
Whether you are sewing a dress, blouse or even a simple pouch, you need fasteners to hold it in place. Zippers are one of the most versatile of garment fasteners and here, we are going to teach you how to sew a zipper.
When you buy clothes from the high street, the biggest problem is that they never fit the way you want them to. This is specially true for those people who have a body shape and structure that does not conform to industry standards.
So the best thing to do would be to sew your own clothes (bit of a scary prospect unless you are good at sewing) or tailor off-the-rack clothes to fit your body shape.
A bit of tailoring and alteration can make any high street outfit look as if it has been custom-made for you. If you are in the habit of tweaking your clothes to fit you, then you must have at some point had to sew in a zipper.
A zipper is one of those garment fasteners that is invaluable in making your garment fit like a dream. A simple zipper sewed on the side can make even the baggiest of blouse fit well.
Most novice sewers are intimidated of sewing in a zipper. I won't pretend that sewing in a zipper fastener is as easy as say sewing a button, but with a bit of patience you can learn how to do it. There are many different types of zippers available. However the ones that are most commonly used in garments are coil zippers and invisible zippers. Given below is a step by step instruction on sewing in a zipper.

How to Sew in a Zipper by Hand

For those of you who have a sewing machine at you disposal, you can sew in a zipper by using the zipper foot tool. However, for those of you who want to hand sew a zipper, here are the step by step instructions on sewing in a zipper.
Things required
  • Fabric piece
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Zipper
  • First align the two fabric pieces on which you want to sew the zipper on your work table. Place one fabric over the other with a seam allowance of 5/8 inches and baste the seam together with a running stitch. Make sure that you baste the seam with medium-sized stitches, so that it is easier to remove the stitches later.
Next lay the zipper over the seam of the fabric, with the teeth of the zipper aligned over the edge of the seam. Make sure that you do not unzip the zipper before sewing it to the fabric.
  • Pin the tape of the zipper (i.e., the fabric edge) to the seam allowance of the fabric with small sewing pins. This should be done on both sides of the zipper tape and the pull tab of the zipper should be aligned towards the top of the fabric seam.
  • Once you are done pinning the zipper tape in place, sew back stitches on one side of the zipper tape, making sure that the stitches are inside the seam allowance and the basting.
  • Repeat the same step on the other side of the zipper tape.
  • Sew another row of back stitches on both sides of the zipper tape, this time going a little closer to the zipper teeth.
  • Next sew the zipper tape flat by stitching cross stitch over the entire length of the zipper tape on both sides. The stitches should be small and not to tight so as to snag the fabric.
  • Now, turn the fabric over and remove the basting stitch by carefully loosening them with a seam ripper.
  • Open the zipper to make sure that it works well and opens and closes with ease.
If you follow the steps given above, you will have a zipper that is flawlessly sewed on to the fabric. Also, knowing how to sew in a zipper, offers you the flexibility of making different types of garments that have a good finish.