Easy & neat centered zipper

Though I do prefer an invisible zipper, sometimes it just isn’t practical. So I usually end up centering an all purpose zip, which is probably the easiest zipper ever. I’m going to show you a method using a glue stick and clear tape, in place of a bunch of basting stitches. Which makes it even quicker and more simple!

1. Start by placing your two pieces of fabric right side together, lining up the raw edges. Mark where the end of the zipper falls.

2. With 5/8” seam allowance, sew a row of basting stitches from the top down your mark. Without removing the needle from the fabric, set your machine to your regular stitch length, backstitch, and continue sewing the rest of your seam.

3. Press your seam open and flat. At this point, apply your desired seam finish.

4. With your zipper facing right side up, coat each side of the zipper tape with a generous amount of glue stick. Carefully place, face down, on top of your seam. So that the zipper coil lines up perfectly down the center of the seam, and the top of the coil is about 5/8” down from the top raw edge. Press firmly, and let the glue set for a couple of minutes.

5. Flip over so that now the right side is facing you. Feel the end of the zipper coil from behind, and mark on the front. Place a piece of 1/2” clear tape directly over the center of the seam, and stopping right where your mark is. The tape will act as your straight guide for stitching.

6. Place your zipper foot on your machine.

Starting at the bottom of your zipper, place your needle and zipper so that they are on the right side of the presser foot. Using the tape as your guideline, topstitch all the way up to the top. Backstich.

Now move your presser for over to the other side, so that the zipper will be to the left of it. Start by topstitching across the bottom of the zipper. Again, using the tape as your guide. When you get to the corner, keep your needle down and pivot. Continue topstitching up the other side of your zipper. Backstitch when complete.

7. Remove the tape, and then remove your basting stitches with your seam ripper. Press if necessary.

All done!

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  1. elily00 says

    great idea! you should post this as a burdastyle how-to also! people would find this very helpful :)

  2. Trisha says

    I know that you posted this a while ago, but thanks for the tips! Installing zippers is always a struggle for me, so I can’t wait to try out your tips. :)

  3. Meg says

    Thanks Trisha, I think zippers are a struggle for most people!! I’m really glad my tutorial helped you out!

  4. lorrwill says

    Well I just finished smacking myself on the forehead repeating, “Why didn’t I think of this?” about 5 times.

    Thank you very much for not only posting this, but making it so incredibly clear.

    I have a long roll of zipper tape and pulls that you install yourself so I can cut any length I need. Again, thanks!

  5. says

    You made it look so easy! I normally dred putting in the zipper because there is a chance I will totally ruin my hard work! I’m feeling much more confident now! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  6. Gloria says

    Just found this tutorial and it is great! I’m terrified of zippers (think it was from my school Home Ec class). Yes, I’m that old and I still avoid zips. Thank you for taking time to put this tut together and sharing it. I think I can do this!

  7. natalie says

    Hi, this might be a silly question… I’m at step 7 and I’m stuck. How do I close it all up without the stitches showing on the outside and messing up the neat zip? Do I need to hand stitch the inside of the zip?

    • MegMeg says

      Hi Natalie!

      The lining hides all the raw edges. If you see on Step 6 with it unfolded, when you fold the lining down you would then need to either handstitch the lining to the edge of the zipper tape to close it all up, or you could topstitch right over with your sewing machine, along the line of stitching you originally made to attach your zipper.


      • BeckyLeeSews says

        Just found this tutorial and it’s a great idea – one I will definitely implement. I learned a good finishing technique from Sunni Standing on a Craftsy video. First she secures the zipper with Steam-a-Seam (this is the greatest stuff in the world!) so no top stitching yet. Then she pulls the zipper tab to the bottom and finishes the waistband lower edge with a folded hem or serge. Fold the waistband over the fashion fabric, RST, and stitch the seam closed keeping the zipper tape tucked out of the way. Then she uses a point turner to turn the waistband to the inside (WST) and the result is a nice finished corner point and seam with no hand stitching. Top stitch to finish it off pulling the zipper halfway up or down during the process as needed and this secures the waistband away from the zipper teeth. The video is a freebie if you want to check it out.