Invisible zippers are among the most beloved fabric accessories. Such zippers are easily installed into garments, giving a clean, sharp, and professional look. The ideal option when sewing in invisible zippers is to use an invisible zipper foot. However, this foot rarely comes with the sewing machine you purchase, making it inaccessible for some people. So, the question is, can you sew an invisible zipper with a regular zipper foot?
Yes, you can. Though not originally made for this task, you can use your standard zipper foot to sew an invisible zipper. With sufficient practice and patience, you will be able to use a regular zipper foot for this purpose.
For some people, the question that needs answering, what is an invisible zipper? An invisible zipper is a zip that hides within a seam. Invisible zippers do not need to be topstitched when you finish sewing them, and you need to install them before you finish sewing the seams where you will install them.
This article takes a closer and more comprehensive look at these invisible zippers and whether you can install them with a regular zipper foot.
How Do You Sew an Invisible Zipper With a Regular Foot?
While the invisible foot is the most ideal for sewing an invisible zipper, you can also do this using the regular zipper foot. Below is a guide on how you can best sew an invisible zipper with your standard zipper foot.
Step 1: Gather the Tools and Materials.
As with most other projects, the most important step is to put together everything you will need to keep you from interrupting your workflow to look for them. The items you will need are:
- A sewing machine
- An invisible zipper
- A needle and some coordinating thread.
- An ironing board and an iron
- The regular zipper foot.
- The base material that you will sew your zipper into.
Step 2: Prepare Your Zipper.
Before placing the zipper into the garment, you will need to prepare it to make sure that it lays flat on the fabric as you sew and that it sews well. Most manufacturers enclose this information with the zipper. First, open up your zipper and set the iron to the recommended temperature (usually the lowest setting). Then press and iron the teeth away from the tape.
Next, use your iron point to ensure that you get in well beneath the coils and iron the zipper tape flat. While doing this step, you must be careful to lift the iron periodically so that you don’t melt or destroy your zipper coils or teeth.
After you prepare the zipper, you can also add some interfacing on your fabric, at the position you will stitch in the zipper to stabilize it. To do this, attach an interfacing strip adhesive on the fabric’s wrong side and then smooth over it with an iron at its lowest setting and do the same on the other side with another piece of interfacing.
Applying fabric interfacing is highly recommended for garments that will see a lot of use and undergo pulls and a lot of pressure.
Step 3: Mark the Seam Allowance On the Fabric
On both fabric edges, mark a half-inch or a 5/8 -inch seam allowance. Mark the place where you will be attaching the invisible zipper and an inch less than the invisible zipper. You should mark this line about 1/8th smaller than the standard seam that is beneath the zipper opening.
Step 4: Pin the Zipper to the Fabric.
For this step, make sure that you have placed your fabric right side up. You can then pin the right side of the zipper to the fabric’s right side with the zipper pull facing downwards.
Ensure that the edge of the fabric is lined up with the edge of the zipper tape (also ensure that the teeth are exactly the distance of the allowance from the finished edge). You can use the pins throughout the zipper’s length to hold it down temporarily, or you can use a needle and contrasting thread to sew basting stitches that hold down the fabric more securely.
You must also consider the fabric type you are working on. Basting stitches can ruin certain fabrics such as silk and leather by making extra holes that will likely be visible after you finish sewing.
Step 5: Attach Your Zipper Foot.
After basting or pinning the zipper to the fabric, you can then attach your standard zipper foot to your sewing machine on the needle’s left side. Ensure that the position of the needle has been adjusted properly such that it will stitch along the teeth.
Step 6: Sew a Straight Stitch.
After your zipper foot is securely attached, you can then start sewing along the zipper’s edge. Set your sewing machine to sew a straight stitch and start sewing. Be sure to keep your zipper teeth in the zipper foot’s groove, as this will ensure that the fabric will conceal the zipper well. If your pins are still in place, remove them and do not sew over them as you may damage your sewing machine.
Hold firmly onto the zipper and the fabric as you are sewing because although the foot will apply some pressure, it is still vital that you guide the fabric as you are sewing. Stitch from the zipper’s top (as close to the coils as possible) and uncurl the zipper’s tape as you go.
Once you get to the end of the zipper, reverse the direction of your stitches and backstitch this end to reinforce the sewn stitches.
Step 7: Do the Opposite Side.
After you have finished securing one side of the zipper, you can then repeat the exact process to sew on the other side of the zipper. You will first have to close the zipper so that the first edge can line up, then open it up again and attach that side.
Step 8: Finish the Zipper.
After sewing in the second half of the zipper, close it and fold your fabric halfway so that the wrong fabric sides and the back of the zipper are visible and the right sides of the fabric are touching.
Then sew from the zipper stitch line downwards through the zipper opening fabric. Check to see if you have correctly placed the zipper. From the outside of the fabric, only the zipper pull should be visible.
What Is the Difference Between a Zipper Foot and an Invisible Zipper foot?
Zipper feet are a standard sewing machine tool often included in the package when you purchase a sewing machine. These feet allow you to smoothly sew on zippers to your projects without your needle sewing over the zipper’s teeth. There are three primary types of zipper feet; the regular zipper foot, the invisible zipper foot, and the adjustable zipper foot.
1. The Standard Zipper Foot
This standard foot is the foot that often comes with your sewing machine. Sewers mainly use it for regular zippers whose teeth are visible on the exterior in places like bags, home accessories, and toys, and it allows you to sew very near the zipper’s coils. In addition, a regular zipper foot has notches on both sides that prove convenient as they allow you to sew either right or left-handed as you prefer.
2. The Invisible Zipper Foot
As its name suggests, this foot is made specifically to sew invisible zippers. While this is a crucial function for some projects, it can also reduce the versatility of this foot.
Invisible zippers are essential in garments where you prefer to present an illusion of a non-existent closure that gives a clean and sharp look, a look that you will likely not achieve using a standard zipper foot.
An invisible zipper foot has a hole at its center that allows you to sew a seamless and center stitching line though you will need to adjust the position of the needle to the central position. Start with the standard zipper foot and move on to the other zipper feet once you have mastered it. You can also purchase this foot from your manufacturer’s store if it does not come with the sewing machine.
The main differences between a standard zipper foot and an invisible zipper foot are:
- The most common difference between these feet is that the standard zipper foot is the best option for projects where the zipper teeth are left outside (though you can use it to sew invisible zippers). In contrast, the invisible foot is the best option when sewing invisible zippers.
- With an invisible foot, the right side of the zipper is put under the right groove of the zipper (similarly for the left side). On the other hand, a standard zipper will sew the zipper’s right side from the foot’s left side.
- With an invisible foot, you sew the right side of the zipper to the right side of the fabric, and when you are done, the fabric is done to hide the zipper, which is the opposite of standard zipper feet.
The Adjustable Zipper Foot.
You could consider the adjustable presser foot as the best of both worlds. Its versatility is arguable its most attractive feature as it can sew regular and invisible zippers. When using this foot, all you need to do is flatten the zipper teeth using the edge of your foot as you sew.
Apart from sewing zippers, this foot also has various other uses, including topstitching and creating stitches as near the piping as possible. In addition, you can position this foot on the right or left, which adds to its appeal.
Is Sewing an Invisible Zipper Hard?
While a beginner may find sewing an invisible zipper daunting, with enough practice and the appropriate tools and materials, sewing this type of zipper will no longer be hard. However, some sewing mistakes could make your job more difficult than it needs to be. For example, if you are sewing without an invisible zipper foot, you will need to iron away from the tape as you prepare the zipper.
If you skip the ironing step, sewing close enough to the zipper’s teeth to allow you to create an invisible finish will be very difficult. An invisible zipper foot will automatically pull the teeth from the zipper so that you can skip this step.
Some of the other mistakes you can make that can make your job more difficult include:
- Sewing too far away from the zip will cause your zip to be visible, which defeats the entire purpose of an invisible zipper. However, though it will take some extra time, you can easily resolve this problem by sewing again, closer to the zip, rendering your first stitching invisible.
- Sewing too close to the zipper coils or teeth. If you sew too close to the zipper coils or teeth, or maybe even sew over them, you will not be able to fasten the zip. This mistake is inconvenient as you will need to remove the stitches you had sewn and stitch again. An easy way to check if you have sewn at the correct distance is to ensure that the zip will close all the way up before you start stitching the second side.
Can You Sew an Invisible Zipper by Hand?
Yes, you can. You could choose to sew your invisible zipper by hand for many reasons. While sewing using a machine is faster and more convenient, some of the reasons you may need to sew by hand include:
- Some slippery fabrics may shift during machine stitching.
- Some fabrics are so textured that they will not pass through the presser foot evenly.
- Voluminous materials/garments may get damaged from trying to get them under the needle.
Some of the advantages of sewing an invisible zipper by hand include perfect matching at intersecting seams and avoiding damage such as distortion and stretching to the fabric you are working on.
Sewing your invisible zipper by hand is almost the same as using a machine, except that you are doing the stitches by hand. Then, follow the steps given above, making the necessary adjustments.
How Do You Sew an Invisible Zipper Into a Cushion?
There is no definitive proper way to sew an invisible zipper into a cushion. How you sew it will depend on who you learned from and what fabric you are using. However, below are the most common ways of sewing an invisible zipper into a cushion. The methods below assume a box cushion for better elaboration.
- The standard method. This method includes sewing the zipper to each side of the boxing, then topstitching to finish.
- The basted method means first sewing the zipper to the basted together, boxing, and topstitch to finish.
- You could also tape the zipper boxing that is pressed flat.
How Do You Use a Zipper Foot Low Shank?
In a sewing machine presser foot, the shank is the distance between the presser foot’s bottom and the center of the thumbscrew on the pressure foot. Sewing machine manufacturers produce machines that can use a low shank, high shank, or slant shank presser foot.
For example, if the measured distance is about 0.5 inches, then you have a low shank pressure foot, and if that distance is an inch, then the presser foot is a high shank.
It is important to note that the presser foot you use will depend on your sewing machine. If your machine is a low shank one, then it can only use a low shank presser foot, the same for high shank machines. Using your low shank presser foot will depend on many factors, such as the type of sewing machine and the foot attachment system.
Almost all sewing machines for home use are low shank, so that first level of compatibility with your machine should not be a problem, though you need to confirm this. Next, check how it is attached to the machine. Most brands also use a universal Snap-On for presser feet, while you will need to screw in some presser feet.
Also, screw-in presser feet are different for high and low shank machines, unlike the Snap-On feet. After considering all this and attaching the foot, you can then use it like any other presser foot you attach to the machine.
How Does a Concealed Zipper Foot Work?
The key to understanding the functioning of any presser foot is in understanding its structure. Concealed zipper feet’ main features are the grooves on their undersides and the holes at the center. The grooves on the foot’s bottom side allow zipper coils to pass through seamlessly as the coils perfectly fit into the grooves. Meanwhile, the hole allows you to do smooth and steady center stitching.
To use the concealed zipper, you have to put the coils into the foot’s grooves, set the machine’s needles in the center position, and begin stitching. The foot will automatically place your stitches very near the zipper coils.
Here’s how to sew an invisible zipper:
The choice of zipper foot on your project can easily make the difference towards the quality of your project and whether you get the desired outcomes. Whichever foot you use to sew the invisible zipper, you will need to insert it precisely and skillfully to get the best results. Still, the main question remains,
Can You Sew an Invisible Zipper With a Regular Zipper Foot?
Yes, you most definitely can. Sewing an invisible zipper with a regular zipper foot is not only possible but will give results as good as those done using an invisible zipper foot if done correctly.
We appreciate you for taking the time to read this article, and we hope that it addressed your concerns and was informative. You are welcome to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions in the comment section below.