How to Put in a Zip

Having to put a zip into something can really put you off making it.

It’s so difficult to know how to do it without messing it up.

Where do you start? Should the zip be open or closed? I don’t have a/ can’t find my zip foot. The zippy part keeps getting trapped under the foot and now it looks like a spider has been at my sewing. What on earth should I do about the lining?

It’s enough to make you abandon any attempts at putting a zip in and just use buttons instead.

Thankfully there is an easy way to put in a zip. If you haven’t discovered it yet, keep reading because all will be made clear!

How to Put in a Zip the Easy Way

1. Make your skirt, dress or whatever in your usual way or by following the instructions on the pattern up until the point where you need to put in the zip.

2. If the zip is going into the last seam, put the garment on. Inside out is probably easiest. Pin the seam together. If the seam is at the back, you will need to find somebody to help you unless you are a contortionist. Using a pen, pencil or a piece of chalk, draw along where the pins are.

3. Take the pins out and the garment off. Repin along the line you drew. Sew right along the seam including where the zip is supposed to go. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to get into it at the moment but you soon will!

4. Press the seam flat. Line the zip up face down on the wrong side of the seam line, keeping it closed. Pin in place.

The zip needs to be lined up perfectly, or near enough, and this can be tricky to do so keep checking that the zip is lined up with the seam.

5. If you have a zip foot, put it on your sewing machine. If not, don’t worry, just use the normal foot. Line up the zip with the edge of the foot, leaving the top part with the bumpy zippy thing free. Sew down the side of the zip. Repeat for the other side.

6. Check the right side of the seam. If done correctly, there should be two neat rows of stitching on either side of the seam. Using a seam ripper (or a pair of scissors if you don’t have one), unpick the part of the seam that is over the zip.

7. Pull the zippy thing down past where you still need to sew.

Pin the rest of the zip and sew in place.

That’s it! Easy, see?

If the top of the zip is not quite far up enough, you can use a hook and eye or a little button with a loop to finish it off.

If you are making something with a lining, you have two choices. You can either sew the lining in, then put the zip in last, following the instructions above. Or you can follow the instructions as far as Step 4 and tack the zip in, then fold the edges of the lining under at the zip, pin, then sew.

So that’s how to put in a zip. There’s no need to be scared of them any longer!

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