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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!

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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elily00
elily00
13 years ago

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

Meg
Meg
13 years ago

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

Trisha
Trisha
13 years ago

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. :)

Meg
Meg
13 years ago

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

lorrwill
lorrwill
13 years ago

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!

Meg
Meg
13 years ago

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

Jeanne
Jeanne
13 years ago

that is a great tip…cant wait to try this

Erin
13 years ago

Thanks! I hate zippers!

Lzyjo
12 years ago

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!

amanda
amanda
11 years ago

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

Gloria
Gloria
11 years ago

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!

natalie
natalie
10 years ago

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?

BeckyLeeSews
BeckyLeeSews
8 years ago
Reply to  Meg

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.

Catrscr
Catrscr
10 years ago

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

Jess
Jess
10 years ago

Wow, what a great idea, thanks for sharing!

Shamaila
Shamaila
9 years ago

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