How to Use a Zipper Foot – For Best Results

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Learn all about how to use azipper foot! The zipper is such a great invention that no dressmaker can ever imagine what life in the sewing room would be like without it. Then of course a zipper needs a specialized foot to ensure it sews up perfectly. If you are going to sew a zipper into your garment don’t attempt this process without a zipper foot. This tutorial will show you how to use a zipper foot for sewing a centered zipper as well as several other useful applications.

How to Use a Zipper FootPinHow to Use a Zipper Foot

Contents

What is a Zipper FootHow to Use a Zipper Foot Step by Step TutorialHow to Use a Zipper Foot for a Centered ZipperHow to Use a Zipper Foot – Other Zipper Applications Invisible ZippersLapped ZipperMore About the Zipper FootFeatures of Different Types of Zipper FeetWhat Else can a Zipper Foot Do?How to Use a Zipper Foot FAQsWhere to buy a zipper footDo you have to use a zipper foot to sew a zipper?Do you have to use an invisible zipper foot?How to Use a Zipper Foot – In ConclusionMore Zipper TutorialsProjects with Zippers

What is a Zipper Foot

The zipper foot enables the sewing machine needle to stitch close to the raised edge of the zipper. It can be attached to the machine’s presser foot holder and has the added advantage of being able to attach to the right or the left side. As well as sewing zippers, the zipper foot can be used to create and sew piping and cording. 

Your zipper foot will look slightly different depending on your brand of machine. The foot on the left is from my modern Janome and the one on the right is from my mother`s older Singer machine.

The attachment may vary from a snap-on to a screw-on version depending on your machine’s specifications. Check your sewing machine manual for the correct zipper foot to sew regular zippers.

How to Use a Zipper FootHow to Use a Zipper FootPinHow to Use a Zipper Foot

How to Use a Zipper Foot Step by Step Tutorial

Start by looking at the zipper and where you plan to place it on your garment.  Will you have an opening in the middle of the seam and a center placing, or will the zipper seam be lapping over to the left or the right? Before you start using the zipper foot decide on the different options that suit your garment.

How to Use a Zipper Foot for a Centered Zipper

Here are the steps for how to sew a zipper.

Step 1 – Baste the Seam

Stitch your seam up to the point where the zipper will be start (black stitching). Baste the rest of the seam where the zipper will be with a long stitch length (red stitching).

How to Sew a Seam for a ZipperHow to Sew a Seam for a ZipperPinHow to Sew a Seam for a Zipper

Press the seam allowances open.

How to Use a Zipper Foot - BasteHow to Use a Zipper Foot - BastePinHow to Use a Zipper Foot – Baste

Step 2 – Stitch

On the wrong side of the fabric, place the zipper teeth centered under the basted stitching line. This means the right side of the zipper is against the open seam. The zipper stop will be where the basting ends.

Pin or baste in place.

How to Use a Zipper Foot - PlaceHow to Use a Zipper Foot - PlacePinHow to Use a Zipper Foot – Place

Attach the zipper foot to the machine. Set your machine to a regular straight stitch on the left side of the foot. This would normally be with the middle needle position. Follow the machine instructions for your particular brand of machine.

How to Use a Zipper Foot - StitchHow to Use a Zipper Foot - StitchPinHow to Use a Zipper Foot – Stitch

With the right side of the fabric facing up, stitch along the zipper opening down to the bottom. Pivot the needle and stitch across the end of the zipper. 

Make several back and forth stitches with the machine to form a bar at the end of the zipper to act as a stopper. Return to the other side and repeat sewing.

How to Use a Zipper Foot - StitchHow to Use a Zipper Foot - StitchPinHow to Use a Zipper Foot – Stitch

Step 3 – Unpick

Both sides should be stitched now. Using a seam ripper, remove the basting stitches from the center seam line down the zip opening. 

How to Use a Zipper Foot - UnpickHow to Use a Zipper Foot - UnpickPinHow to Use a Zipper Foot – Unpick

How to Use a Zipper Foot – Other Zipper Applications

Here is how a zipper foot helps sew different styles of zippers:

Invisible Zippers

This zipper is hidden in the seam and appears to be invisible. The only part of this zipper that should be visible is the pull at the top. The zipper foot helps the machine to sew close to the edge and keep the zipper concealed. You can sew an invisible zip with a standard zipper foot or purchase invisible zipper feet that have a groove in the bottom to go over the teeth. Read my full tutorial on how to sew an invisible zipper.

How to Use a Zipper Foot - InvisibleHow to Use a Zipper Foot - InvisiblePinHow to Use a Zipper Foot – Invisible

Lapped Zipper

The zipper foot enables one side of the zipper to be stitched close to the zipper while the opposite and wider side laps over. Having a zipper foot makes the lapped zipper easier to sew resulting in a neatly stitched side.

Using a Zipper Foot to Sew a Lapped ZipperUsing a Zipper Foot to Sew a Lapped ZipperPinUsing a Zipper Foot to Sew a Lapped Zipper

Lapped Zipper

The zipper foot enables one side of the zipper to be stitched close to the zipper while the opposite side laps over and is wider. Having a zipper foot makes the lapped zipper easier to control and finish with a neat stitched side.

Fly Front Zipper

The fly front zipper has a fly front facing and can be a little tricky. The zipper foot gives a neat edge and helps with careful stitching to create a really smart-looking fly.

More About the Zipper Foot

Zippers are used for a wide range of items including bags, sports gear, jackets and pants, and all kinds of camping and outdoor wear. The zipper, sewn correctly, is a force to be reckoned with.

The zipper foot allows the machine needle to sew neatly and close to the edge. After using a zipper foot, you will never want to sew in a zippee without one. 

Many sewers want to avoid inserting a zipper. However, with a zipper foot, they may well change their minds. The zipper foot set correctly will stop you from sewing over the teeth of the zipper.

Features of Different Types of Zipper Feet

Here are some of the features of different types of zipper feet. 

STANDARD ZIPPER FOOT – These are normally supplied with most machines and have a narrow central ‘toe’ with cutouts on either side that can stitch very close to the zipper mechanism. This allows you to use a central needle position.ADJUSTABLE ZIPPER FOOT – These have an adjustable positioning to the left or to the right. They are particularly useful for topstitching and creating piping. INVISIBLE ZIPPER FOOT – Several makes of machine have an invisible zipper foot available. The invisible zipper foot has grooves underneath to guide the coils of the zipper as the stitching takes place. 

What Else can a Zipper Foot Do?

The zipper foot is a great help with sewing and making piping. The zipper foot is able to get close to the edge of the piping and stitch neatly along the edge. The zipper foot is able to sew close to the piping without sewing over it. 

The zipper foot is ideal for stitching cording and is often used in soft furnishings to add decorative inserts to cushions and chair covers.

How to Use a Zipper Foot for Piping:

How to Make PipingSewing PipingCushion Cover with Piping

Zipper Foot to Make PipingZipper Foot to Make PipingPinHow to Use a Zipper Foot to Make Piping

How to Use a Zipper Foot FAQs

Where to buy a zipper foot

A zipper foot is standard equipment for most machines and they should come with one. If you need to purchase one, check your local dealer for your sewing machine`s brand of foot. There are also many other generic after-market feet that can also work quite well.

Do you have to use a zipper foot to sew a zipper?

Yes, it is best to use a zipper foot to sew a zipper. Without one, it is hard to sew close to the teeth of the zipper. A zipper foot will enable you to sew close to the teeth giving a clean professional look to your home sewing.

Do you have to use an invisible zipper foot?

Invisible zippers can either be sewn with a specialty invisible zipper foot that has grooves underneath or a regular zipper foot. While you can sew slightly closer to the teeth with the specialty foot, you will still get good results with a regular zipper foot.

How to Use a Zipper Foot – In Conclusion

The zipper foot is a really useful tool and accessory for every sewing machine.  Learning how to use a zipper foot will give you a ‘zippedy doo dah’ moment as you celebrate your new skill and ability to sew a zipper into a garment neatly and professionally.

More Zipper Tutorials

How to Shorten a ZipperHow to Sew a ZipperTypes of ZipperHow to Sew an Exposed ZipperHow to Cover Zipper EndsHow to Sew an Invisible ZipperHow to Fix a ZipperSewing a Zipper PocketHow to Use a Zipper Foot

Projects with Zippers

how to sew a zipper pouchhow to sew a zipper pouchPinZipper Pouchtriangle pouch tutorialtriangle pouch tutorialPinTriangle PouchPinDog PurseClutch PatternClutch PatternPinStar ClutchHow to Make a Circle SkirtHow to Make a Circle SkirtPinCircle SkirtGathered Skirt PatternGathered Skirt PatternPinGathered SkirtHow to Sew a Zippered Cushion CoverHow to Sew a Zippered Cushion CoverPinZippered Pillowclutch tutorialclutch tutorialPinSunshine Clutch

Zipper Pouch TutorialTriangle Pouch TutorialDog Purse TutorialStar Clutch TutorialHow to Make a Circle SkirtHow to Make a Gathered SkirtZippered Cushion TutorialSunshine Clutch Tutorial

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