How to Install an Invisible Zipper: Step-by-Step Sewing Tutorial

Sew Over It
by Sew Over It
5 Materials
10 Minutes

Zippers come in different styles. A concealed zipper is where you can’t see the teeth of the zipper and it looks like a seam. Certain clothing styles or sewn items look better with an invisible or concealed zipper. Here’s an in-depth tutorial on how to install an invisible zipper. Let’s get started!

If you'd like to know about sewing a regular zip, see my other tutorial on How to Sew a Zipper.

Tools and materials:

  • Sewing machine with zip foot and concealed zip foot
  • Zipper
  • Garment
  • Scissors
  • Pins

While zippers come in different colors and sizes, try to purchase a longer zipper than you think you need for your garment. It makes sewing one in much easier by giving you a bit of leeway to position the zipper, especially if you’re new to installing zippers.

A longer zipper also helps save your sewing machine needle because it stops you from hitting the end stop!

Placing the zipper on the fabric

1. Install the zipper

Open the zipper and place it right side up on the side of the fabric. 

Leaving room for seam allowance

Make sure that the top of the zipper is not at the very top of the garment because you will need seam allowance to finish the top edge. It doesn’t matter if the zipper is at the neckline or the waistline - you will definitely need some seam allowance!

Pinning the zipper to the fabric

Pin with the pins facing up toward the top of the zipper parallel to the zipper tape and the fabric. The tape should line up at the raw edge of the fabric. The zipper teeth should face the center of the fabric. Check to make sure your seam allowance is accurate.

How to sew an invisible zipper

2. Sew the zipper in

Put the regular zip foot in the machine. Make sure the left edge is open. 

Sewing an invisible zipper

Run the stitch down the center of the tape, down the length of it, with your stitch length set to 5. This is a temporary stitch and it doesn’t need to be precise, but do try to keep it as straight as possible.

Anchoring the zipper so that it doesn't move

This step anchors the zipper so make sure it doesn’t move. 

Switching to an invisible zipper foot

Switch the regular zip foot to the invisible or concealed zip foot.

Using an invisible zipper foot

This stitch gets really close to the zipper’s teeth so it stays concealed.

How to use an invisible zipper foot

Tuck the teeth into one of the little channels underneath the foot. These channels help you!

Opening the teeth when installing the zipper

Open up the teeth so they’re open when going into the channel. You can see that little metal “t” at the edge of the teeth.

Backstitching the invisible zipper

Switch your machine back to regular stitch length and do a backstitch at the beginning. Peel it back for the initial bit so you’re confident it is stitching in the right place. Backstitch the normal way.

Invisible zipper tutorial

When you open it out, you can see there’s a stitch right in the groove. If you flip the fabric when it’s finished, you can see that the teeth are concealed.

Placing the zipper so it is concealed

The right side is where a lot of people get confused. Concealed zips look odd when you sew them in. I like to say that if it looks wrong, it’s probably right! You’ll be placing the zipper on the right side of the fabric for this side.

Placing the zipper on the reverse side

3. Sew up the other side

Put the zipper on reverse on the other side of the fabric. The tape should line up with the raw edge. If you remember that, you won’t go wrong! Check to see that your zipper is perfectly straight and not twisted anywhere.

I made this practice piece with the seam at the waist so you see how to line them up. 

Snipping the unstitched side

Close the zip. Make a tiny snip on the unstitched side exactly where it is lining up at the waist so it lines up with the seam. 

Pinning the zipper ready to sew

Pin the zipper in the same way, with the pins parallel and facing up to the top. Sew in the same way: regular zip foot first to anchor it and then the concealed zip foot to stitch it in. Make sure you are as close to the teeth as possible but on the other side.

An invisible zipper

4. Check your work

Once the zipper is stitched in on both sides and you close it, you’ll see the seam is lined up and the zipper is invisible!

How to install an invisible zipper

5. Finishing touches

Give the garment a nice gentle press. You may need to put a piece of cloth in between because a hard press could create ridges in your zipper and garment. There you have a perfectly concealed zip!

How to install an invisible zipper

Although it may seem a bit daunting at first, sewing an invisible zipper isn’t that complicated. Please let me know in the comments if you practiced installing a concealed zipper and even better, what you put it into! 

Suggested materials:
  • Sewing machine with zip foot and concealed zip foot
  • Zipper
  • Garment
See all materials

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