how to sew a zipper on

How to Sew a Zipper? a Beginner’s Guide

You can add sturdy and dependable closures to a variety of sewing projects by learning how to sew a zipper.

Numerous clothing items, such as dresses, jackets, and pants, as well as non-clothing items like pillowcases and bags, benefit from the fastening power of zippers. Although it’s a fundamental sewing skill for many projects, learning how to sew a zipper can be intimidating for novice sewers.

You can learn how to sew a zipper, get helpful zipper hacks, and learn everything there is to know about zippers right here. Read More: How to Sew on a Patch? 7 Different Ways

Before You Begin

You can use either metal or plastic zippers, depending on your project and personal preferences. Although they come in fewer colors, metal zippers are typically stronger. Plastic zippers are less durable, but they come in a variety of vibrant colors.

Start with a zipper that is the appropriate length for your project, regardless of the material you select. To shorten a plastic zipper that is too long, sew a few stitches over the zipper where you want it to end and cut the extra threads.

For metal zippers, temporarily detach the bottom stop, trim any extra teeth that extend beyond the desired length, reattach the bottom stop, and then snip off the extra.

Make sure your sewing machine has a zipper presser foot installed before beginning to sew. The zipper presser foot will prevent the presser foot from getting in the way of the sewing machine’s ability to stitch directly next to the zipper teeth.

By placing the stitches closer to the zipper teeth, you can more easily make a neat stitch line and hide the zipper tape’s raw edges.

How to Sew a Zipper?

The simplest way to incorporate a zipper into your project, in my opinion, is to do it like this. A nice, straightforward zipper pouch will result from the process.

Start by using a serged or zigzag seam to finish the fabric’s edges where you intend to place the zipper. The recommended seam allowance for your pattern should be ½ inch or 58 inches, so make sure to leave enough room on each side for that measurement.

Finish and Sew the Fabric's Edges

Sew the two pieces of fabric together with a regular stitch, right sides facing, just up to the location where the zipper will be placed.

To finish the seam, stitch over the area that will open for the zipper using a long basting stitch. The endpoints don’t need to be backstitched since this stitch will be undone. While you attach the zipper, you can keep the seam closed by basting it, and once the zipper is in place, basting makes it simpler to take out the stitches.

Baste the Zipper Opening, and Press the Seam Allowance

Press the seam allowance open while holding the fabric with the wrong side facing up. Using an iron will help you flatten the seam allowance if it won’t lay flat naturally.

Lay the zipper face down along the basted portion of the seam allowance with the wrong side of the fabric facing up. In most cases, you will begin at the top end of the fabric, aligning the top stop of the zipper with the top edge of the fabric.

Place the Zipper

When it comes to zipper placement, pay attention to your pattern and keep any additional seam allowances in mind. For instance, the top edge of the zipper may require a hem.

Using chalk or a fabric marking pencil, mark the stitch lines on the right side of the fabric once you’ve decided where you want the zipper to go. If you are comfortable sewing without guidelines, you can omit this step.

Use sewing tape or pins to secure the zipper before you sew. Align the center of the seam with the center of the fully closed zipper while working on the fabric’s reverse side. Ascertain that the zipper is lined up from top to bottom.

Pin the Zipper

Verify the zipper’s teeth all the way around; just pinning the zipper’s top and bottom may not be sufficient to keep it precisely aligned with the seam. To keep the zipper in place, use pins or tape as you go.

Make your first stitch just past the zipper pull, with the right side of the fabric facing up, beginning at the top of the zipper. To maintain straight stitching, you must refrain from sewing too close to the zipper pull.

Stitch the Zipper

Up until the zipper’s bottom, keep stitching. Make a stop, turn the fabric 90 degrees, and then sew a few stitches along the zipper’s bottom. To stitch the opposite side of the zipper, rotate the fabric once more. Backstitch to secure your stitch before you get to the zipper pull.

Incorporate the zipper pull into the stitched-in area by lowering it by a few millimeters. Attach the fabric to the remaining upper portion of the zipper with sewing.

Your zipper is now attached! Cut the threads before you take your project out of the sewing machine. To get rid of the basting stitches that are covering the zipper, use a seam ripper from your sewing supplies.

Rip Out the Basting Stitches

The neat and partially concealed zipper made using this method is ideal for a variety of uses, such as fastening skirts, dresses, jackets, and cushion covers.

For a neat, expert appearance, remove any errant basting threads. Continue with the rest of your project after testing the zipper to make sure it opens and closes.

How to Shorten a Zipper?

I’ve shortened a lot of zippers, and nylon coil zippers are my favorites just because of the ease of adjusting their length. Simply choose the length you require, mark and secure the ends, and then trim any excess with regular household scissors. As easy as that:

I prefer to add tiny zipper tabs rather than simply cutting off any extra zipper tape. They significantly lessen any bulk in my seams while also enhancing the cuteness of my zipper ends. And it is for this reason that sewing all of my zipper projects is so much simpler!

How to Fix a Wavy Zipper?

how to sew a zipper on

When sewing zippers, a common problem is the bulging zipper, also known as a wavy zipper. The fabric must remain unbroken along the entire length of the stitched seam because the zipper will not stretch. The zipper waves as a result of a pulling effect that occurs when the fabric stretches but the zipper does not.

Simple: use a layer of interfacing between the zipper and the fabric to prevent a wavy zipper from bulging.

You can sandwich a layer of wax paper between the zipper and the fabric as another method to stop the fabric from stretching when you sew the zipper tape on. Then, after sewing, you’ll have to cut it away. This will definitely stop the zipper from sagging.

Given this, zippers tend to be wavier when sewn with stretchy fabric, less wavy when sewn with quilting cotton, and almost never wavier when sewn with vinyl, faux leather, suede, and other non-stretch fabrics. This means that using interfacing will almost always stop uneven, wavy zippers when sewing bags and pouches.


Sewers feel a real sense of accomplishment after mastering how to sew a zipper. Congratulations, and a hearty round of applause! Zippers are a safe and stylish way to close all kinds of articles when used properly. Many sewers eventually want to learn how to install a zipper, so this is a common goal.

You should be able to sew in a zipper confidently if you follow the instructions above and put a little practice into it.


Is It Hard to Sew on a Zipper?

Sewing in a zipper is not hard, but you do need to understand a few fundamentals. For someone learning to sew, sewing in a zipper might seem like a difficult task. Learning how to do it is still worth your time and effort even though it will require some patience and practice.

What Stitch Should You Use for a Zipper?

First, finish the edges of the fabric where you plan to place the zipper with a serged or zigzag seam. Make sure to allow enough room on each side for the recommended seam allowance specified by your pattern, which is typically ½ inch or 58 inches.

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