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Inserting an invisible zipper

To insert an invisible zipper professionally you need a specialist invisible zipper foot. they can be plastic or metal, not expensive and will repay you with perfect results.

Although I know Vintage dress patterns usually say insert a normal zipper, the invisible zip was actually invented in the 40´s for factory sewing and designer dresses. So although not in your local haberdashery shop  until late 1960´s , feel free to pop them in your vintage dresses and still be authentic!

To join the seam use your standard zipper fot. And if desired you can baste the invisible zipper in place using standard zipper foot. This allows to check all is even and symmetrical before finisheng with the specialist zipper foot 

The invisible zipper sewing machine foot can be metal or plastic, teflon, or transparent. they all have 2 deep grooves in the base. The coils of the zip sit in one side or the other depending which side you are sewing on. 

Fold and Press the fabric along the seam line before you start to sew your invisible zip. This will make the placement much easier and more accurate.

Sometimes running a cool iron over the zip to uncurl the tight coils  will help when positioning and sewing. Its not essential once you are used to sewing them. It also depends on the size and make of zip. 

Join the seam where the zip will be inserted but leave 5cm ( 2 inches) between where the bottom of the zip will finish and your seam. This will be sewn at the end after the zip is inserted. 

correct way to sew invisible zipper

Position the zipper with zip head facing right side of fabric. The edge of coil is positioned on the seam line and the zip edge towards the seam edge.

Pin and baste if required. Always put pins horizontal to the sewing machine foot. 

You can start  by sewing quite close to the coils with a standard zipper.  This helps make sure the zip is perfectly placed before the final pass with invisible zipper foot. 

Align zip same way on other side of seam and repeat. 

using an invisible zipper foot

Next insert the coils into one groove of the invisible zipper foot as shown in the picture. 

This stitches very close to the coil and is what gives the perfect invisible seam when finished.


closing seam invisible zipper

Finally using standard zipper foot sew the bottom part of seam close to edge of zipper down to the stitching.   Press seam open.

The neck facing is sewn right sides together, sandwiching the zip between dress and facing. The facing should then have the corners snipped and turn through to right side.

Most invisible zips with finish at the neckline and either have a facing or be lined.

Both facing and lining is stitched by opening the zip, and with the facing right side to the fabric sew with normal zipper foot along the depth of facing, stitch slightly away from coils to facing is clear when you zip up. 

Snip corner and notch neck seam curves if needed  the turn facing to inside and poke the corners out. They top edge must meet perfectly. 

A full dress lining is sewn in exactly the same way as the facing. 

Showing a well sewing Centre back invisible zip

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