Introduction to Zippers (v1)
Visible Zippers

When a button or snap just won’t do, a zipper may be the solution! There are many types of zippers and ways to install them – visible, invisible, lapped, centered, etc. Today, we’re going to learn how to install a separating zipper – and how to make it stand out! This is best suited for sport zippers with large teeth.

Besides the obvious, you’ll need:

  • Zipper foot (don’t even think about using a regular sewing foot it just won’t work)
  • Chopstick (all will be explained)


Step One: Pin It!

Pin your zipper to the edge of the garment opening. Make sure the teeth are facing AWAY from the opening. Remember, you’ll be flipping the edge over later.Note: This particular garment has a horizontal seam under the bust. We made sure the seams matched up once the zipper was installed. Keep these kinds of things in mind if your design has similar elements (horizontal seams, patterns, stripes, etc.)


Step Two: Sew It!

You will now be sewing through two layers (1) the zipper and (2) your garment. Using your zipper foot, sew the teeth edge of the zipper. Stay as close to the zipper teeth as possible without stitching into them.

Step Three: Sew It Again!

Move your zipper foot over to the non-teeth edge of the zipper. Stitch down the zipper in the same manner as above. These two lines of stitches will keep the zipper secure.


Step Four: Pin It Again!

There are many ways to finish the top of your zipper. We did simple arm and neckline facings for this garment, so we will incorporate the zipper finishing into the neckline facing finishing.

Pin your facing in place. This same type of technique can be done with a lining as well.


Step Five: Sew Some More!

Sew along the top of the neckline. We used a regular zipper foot for this part. Depending on how close the stopper teeth (top of the zipper) are to the top of the garment opening, you may need to use a zipper foot for this first few stitches.


Step Six: More Sewing!

Sew down the vertical edge of the zipper. Make sure to reinforce the corner where your stitches meet!


Step Seven: Clip It!

Clip your corners!


Step Eight: Chopstick!

Turn the facing right side out, and get a crisp corner by poking it with your chopstick. Be careful not to poke through your garment. Make sure to clip any extra threads!


Step Nine: Clip It Good!

This isn’t necessarily related to the zipper installation – but remember to clip the edges around the neckline too if you’re doing a facing or a lining.

Step Ten: Almost Done!

Iron down the edges around the zipper. If you want to get fancy, you can do a top stitch on either side of the zipper, too.


Step Eleven: Finished!

This is one of the garments we installed a zipper on recently! Cute, eh? This is only one of thirteen sailor tops we did for the Denim Demons – a roller derby team out of Atlanta.