Easy & neat centered zipper

February 14th, 2009

Though I do prefer an invisible zipper, sometimes it just isn’t practical. So I usually end up centering an all purpose zip. This is when you sew the seam before installing the zip, and then top stitch on the right side of the fabric, on either side of the seamline, avoiding the zipper teeth.

The problem is you quite often end up with a bubble around the zipper pull as it hits the zipper foot. I’ve seen a lot of suggestions for getting around this by opening the zipper and sewing each side seperately, then zipping it up and finishing blah blah blah. But honestly I find that to be really fidley.

I prefer to do it this way:


Side note: Now at this stage you really should baste the zipper to the garment, but I was feeling a little lazy when I was making this dress and so I just pinned it as you can see above. This is a little risky though because you can easily end up with bunching. So I really recommend basting, even though I’m not practicing what I preach!


NOTE:  the top of the garment or the folded over edge of the zipper becomes the zipper stop.

UPDATE: A lot of people have been asking me what to do with the excess zipper at the top. For a skirt this is easy, you can just leave the ends sticking up and encase them in the waistband. For a dress, you can fold it to the sides as I have done in the picture. Or you could install the zipper before the lining, leave the ends sticking straight up and then when you sewed the lining to the dress, and turned it to the inside of the dress, the excess would be enclosed in the lining.


I love doing centered zippers this way, and they always turn out really well.

17 Responses

  1. elily00 says:

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

  2. Meg says:

    Thanks elily00 that’s a great suggestion… I just added it as a how to on burdastyle.

  3. 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. :)

  4. Meg says:

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

  5. 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!

  6. Meg says:

    lol! thanks lorrwill :)I’m sooo glad it help you!

  7. Jeanne says:

    that is a great tip…cant wait to try this

  8. Erin says:

    Thanks! I hate zippers!

  9. Lzyjo 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!

  10. amanda says:

    thanks, you just help me do my fashion project! :)

  11. 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!

  12. 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?

    • Meg 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.

  13. Catrscr says:

    Very helpful. I will share this with my American Sewing Guild Chapter.

  14. Jess says:

    Wow, what a great idea, thanks for sharing!

  15. Shamaila says:

    Amazing! it worked perfectly for me…. thank you for this tutorial x