Tuesday 24 January 2017

Zip Tips Please...

Fear of zips, the dreaded zipphobia, is yet to be conquered.  Earlier this month I put the zip in to the fitted dress that I am making for my daughter.  It was not a happy experience.  I have never been keen on zips would rather have buttons and buttonholes any day, but I thought I should make the effort.

So here it is.  Mrs Perfectionist isn't altogether satisfied, but greatly consoled in the knowledge that daughter couldn't care less.

As you can see, the invisible zip is visible and will probably gape when the dress is on.

Also, the stitch holes are visible on the folded edges of the opening.  That is because I machine sewed the centre back seams first, of both the outer layer and the lining, with a large stitch, and sandwiched the zip between them before sewing it to the seam allowances on the inside.  The whole thing was a total faff that took hours, not helped by the fact that I needed to hand stitch the top and bottom where the sewing machine couldn't get into the fiddly corners.

I know that there are dressmakers out there who can insert invisible zips into lined dresses at the drop of a hat.  I searched the internet for a tutorial, and found a couple that helped, but really didn't tell the whole story. 

So does anyone know where I can find the Ultimate Invisible Zip With Linings Tutorial, the one that gives all the detail and doesn't leave you cussing?  Links please.

And by way of return, here is the Pin A Rip In A Teabag Tip

Remember, you saw it here first.


Many thanks to Maga, who has emailed me within hours of this post with links to two blogs:-

Lilacs and Lace by Laura Mae, who shows how she inserts an invisible zip;

and two posts at Sewaholic by Tasia, who shows how she inserts a standard zip in a lined dress by using hand stitching.


  1. hi Lizzie, invisble zips aren't inserted like a conventional zip. First , you leave the back seams unsewn and then place the zip facedown into the right side of the fabric. I usually do the left back first. The you put the other side of the zip,face down onto the right side of the right back. Are you with me so far? it is best to have an invisible zip foot as it rides over the zipper teeth. You also stitch with the zip fully opened. After the zip is sewn in , then you do the back seam. I am not too sure if you can get a speciality foot for the old machines as these zips didn't come out until about the 1960's or 70's. Hope this helps

    1. Thanks Brenda!

      Yes, I realised they are usually inserted with the seam still open, but thought if I tried it that way I would be bound to make a hash of it. I might see if I can get a special foot.

      I have updated my post with a couple of links that have been sent to me. Somehow I think I am going to end up using a hybrid method. I am in the very early planning stages of an outfit for myself, so I shall have to get a move on!

  2. I have no tips to offer you, but wanted to say that "faff" is such a useful word. We Yanks really need to adopt it!

    1. Such a handy word Louise, especially in those moments of frustration. It works equally well as a verb or a noun.

  3. That zip has been on my mind! Thank you for bravely sharing your experience. Will take note of the hints. I bought a short shank adapter and an invisible zipper foot a couple of years ago from Hong Kong via eBay for a couple of $Aus. (Yes, I know, not proper British quality.) Just haven't tried it yet. One of those jobs that is easy to postpone!

    1. Thanks Carolyn! I have just looked to see if I can find an invisible zip foot and might just be making a phone call tomorrow.

  4. I agree with the comments so far...don't sew the seam first and ironing the zip flat helps a lot! These are my favourite tutorials for getting a great result:



    If you don't want to use an invisible zip, then I'd suggest trying a lapped zip. I hate the result when I sew the seam up first, stitch the zip down centered and then unpick the seam. They always look wonky. A lapped zip sits much nicer. I use the method from my old Singer Sewing book.

    1. Thank you so much - plenty for me to mull over! The video on the Colette blog makes it look so easy. I suppose the real fun starts when you put in a lining.

      The zip is in the centre back of the dress, and I always think a lapped zip looks better on a skirt, or as a side zip on a dress, but you are right about the zip looking wonky when you unpick the seam afterwards. I'm so glad my daughter isn't fussy about the finish. But there again, if I get the hem in the wrong place there could be trouble.

  5. Found some more instructions. This one is free:
    The above site gives a dead link to another free tutorial. Looks like it has been replaced by this more recent one, which is available for purchase:
    Callie actually says, "I hope you're able to fearlessly take on all kinds of zippers in all kinds of garments."

    1. Thanks again Carolyn - yes, that first link looks interesting!



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