Sewing instructor Melissa Lasseter shares tips and tricks for installing separating zippers in your sewing projects in under 10 minutes!
When you are designing a new sewing project, whether it be a garment, an accessory, or a decorative piece, one of the most important (and often overlooked) things to consider is how it will open or close, or how you will get in and out of it.
Zippers take amateur sewing projects up a whole level into functional, wearable, or even sellable pieces. When you know how to sew in a zipper, you can even alter or repair older garments or pillows that may just need a little TLC.
There are several zipper types to choose from, but for the purposes of this article we are focusing on separating zippers because they are versatile and great for beginners looking to achieve precision in their sewing.
This method requires using a zipper foot and a seam ripper. A seam ripper used intentionally, to save time, you say? Why, of course!
Here’s how to sew a separating zipper into a sewing project:
- Step 1: Lay the zipper on your project and mark the length of the zipper on the fabric. Set the zipper aside.
- Step 2: Using a basting stitch, sew up the seam that you want to zip open – yes, sew it closed! It will be easy to remove later with a seam ripper. A 1/2″ seam allowance will work best for zipper installation.
- Step 3: Finger-press the newly sewn seam open and place the zipper right side facing down on top of the seam. Pin it in place so that the seam and the zipper are lined up.
- Step 4: Removing your pins as you go, steadily stitch along the entire half of the zipper. When you get to the zipper pull, open the zipper to get the pull out of the way of the needle to get a tighter stitch. Stitch until 1/2″ past the zipper stop. Close the zipper.
- Step 5: Lining up the bottom of the zipper tape, stitch and backstitch across the two halves of the zipper. Working around the zipper stop on the second half, run a few stitches. Open the zipper to get the pull out of the way, sew a couple inches, and close the zipper again.
- Step 6: Stitch along the second half of the zipper, being careful to work around the zipper tab at the end. Cut your thread, remove your project and flip it right side out.
- Step 7: Using your seam ripper, remove the basting stitches all along the seam that’s on top of the zipper.
That’s all there is to it! Now go make friends with your seam ripper because it’s going to be a sign of productivity instead of regret from now on.
Add zippers to your thoughtfully-designed garments, cool thrift shop finds, homemade pillows, funky farmer’s market purses, etc.
Do you have any other zipper tips for seamstresses-in-the-making? Leave your comment below!