Sewing invisible or concealed zippers may not be as daunting a task or as difficult at first thought. Accurately sewing this remarkable zipper to the seam allowance allows the closing zipper teeth or coils to elegantly roll to the inside of the seam allowance. One continuous neat seam line is all that will be visible on the outside. A skirt back seam, dress back seam or pillow cover closure are the most often zippered seam closures that greatly benefit from this sophisticated finished look.
There are a few tips to consider that will make inserting this concealed zipper into a seam a success.
Carefully following the step by step instructions enclosed with each zipper is a must. No short cuts and no skipping steps!
The enclosed instructions will indicate it is best to use a specialty zipper foot to apply this zipper to a seam. There is available a universal, inexpensive colorful plastic zipper foot that does a great job of attaching to any sewing machine type and easily rides over the zipper coils by means of grooves in the bottom of the foot. Of course, a metal one specific to the sewing machine is a nice upgrade. The grooves in the bottom of the specialty foot perform an important function.
It is possible to use the generic zipper foot (hopefully one with a narrow toe) that normally comes as an attachment with any sewing machine rather than the specialty invisible foot recommended but does require some practice and patience. It may also be a significant challenge to use since it is critically important to sew as closely and neatly as possible to the zipper’s coils without inadvertently shifting the line of stitching or sewing over the coils thereby rendering the zipper unusable. The specialty foot is definitely worth the small investment.
Knowing clearly what is to be the finished right side of the garment or project and what is the left side and similarly what will be the zipper’s corresponding right and left side. Simple enough, however read carefully the enclosed zipper’s instructions. Misidentify or misapply these and the zipper will wrongly be placed. This zipper is actually sewn to the right sides of the fabric seam allowance before the seam is sewn closed.
The instructions will indicate before sewing to open the zipper and (carefully) iron flat the curled zipper teeth. Try not to iron over the plastic coils themselves as they may melt with too high heat. This step is important. The coils may not necessarily lie perfectly flat after ironing but certainly does help when stitching.
Pinning the zipper sides in place may be sufficient to keep the zipper in place when stitching, however basting the zipper in place by hand before sewing ensures best results.
Since the closed zipper in the garment or project will not be visible on the outside, any zipper color will be acceptable, however it is most likely the color of the zipper will be chosen to match the garment. The zipper’s top pull tab is visible when the zipper is closed so matching the zipper’s color to the garment is usually desirable, however change the color of the tab with a small amount of nail polish if appropriate to the project.
When finished sewing both sides of the invisible zipper to the unsewn seam allowance, the instructions will indicate to change to a regular presser foot and continue sewing to close the remainder of the seam. This may be somewhat difficult as the toes of the regular presser foot may interfere with getting close enough to continue sewing the seam neatly to the end and may leave an unsightly pucker visible at the zipper’s end on the outside. Rather, consider changing to the sewing machine’s generic zipper foot as it should be narrow enough to continue sewing the seam as closely as possible to where the stitching would have ended making sure to move the zipper’s unsewn end tails out of the way of the seam.
Some other considerations: use a zipper that is a few inches longer than the project requires as it makes the zipper application easier than using an exact called for size, if new to applying this type of zipper, practice first as some of the instructions may initially seem counter intuitive to traditional zipper applications, and lastly know that the invisible zipper is no more difficult to apply than any traditional zipper application. The end results are worth the effort.
Sew happy, sew inspired.