Zippers are Easy–How to Install one with just 3 Seams

My awesome reclamied zipper collection--
My awesome reclaimed zipper collection–

Installing a zipper can be intimidating. And no wonder!  Just look at the tiny little  instructions that come inside the package. ( I hate fine print!)zipper_text

But zippers are very hot right now.  And if you can stitch a straight seam, you can install a cool zip in about 15 minutes. Here’s how I taught my students in a recent class at the Scrap Exchange in Durham. 

This method was big hit–as in 100% success!!!zipper_1-1

Seam one:  With right sides together and raw edges even,  use long basting stitches to close the seam where the zipper will go.  At the  point where the zipper will stop,  change to  regular length stitches .  Back stitch.  Then sew to the end of the seam and lock (back stitch) again. zipper_1=2

Note:  Pressing makes everything easier.  So  press the seam open and finish the raw edges at this point.  I used a machine zig-zag stitch on the fabric in the photo. zipper_2-1

Seam two:  Also happens on the back or inside of the project.  First put the zipper foot on your machine.  Now open the zipper and lay FACE DOWN on one seam allowance–doesn’t matter which one.   The zipper teeth should snug right up against the seam.  Pin and stitch one side of zipper tape to seam allowance ONLY.    zipper_2=3

Seam three:  Your final seam (yes, you’re almost finished!) will be seen on the right side of your project, so it’s important to keep it straight.  Careful pinning is the key. First close your zipper.  Next,  I pin everything flat on  the inside, then flip and put pins on the outside.  (Don’t forget to remove inside pins). zipper_3

Now stitch  a long “U” shape–down , pivot, across, pivot ,then up. Follow the arrows in the photo removing the pins as you sew.  Press. Use a seam ripper to remove basting stitches and you’re done.

PS:  If you’re interested in learning more basic sewing techniques, check out my upcoming classes at  or join us for Sew Night Community Meet-up at the Scrap–2nd and 4th Thursdays from 6-9 pm.  Sew Night is free and open to all!

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