Notions: Insert a Zip

The following instructions illustrate how to insert a Zip simply, which can be used in Dresses & Skirts. It is not specifically concealed however; when sewn correctly there should be two folds of fabric which fit neatly over the Zip as in the final photograph. It is hands down the simplest way of inserting a Zip, very difficult to sew so badly it doesn’t work & quick!

As in the majority of sewing, inserting a Zip is all in the preparation. Firstly, mark the length of the zip on the seam it is to be placed- line the top of the Zip up with the top of the seam, & put a pin in the fabric alongside the metal Zipper end.

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With 1.5cm Seam Allowance, sew straight down the seam. From the top to the pin marking the Zip end use a large stitch, which will be easy to unpick. Reverse stitch a couple of times over the Pin, then change the stitch length to a normal straight Seaming Stitch & continue to the end of the seam, as illustrated above.

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Iron the Seam ‘out’ (also known as ‘Busting your Seam’ in the U.S.), as illustrated above from top to bottom. 

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Lay the Zip- with the opening lying down as shown- along the seam. Pin at the top, then continue to ‘roll’ the Zip down, matching the opening of the Zip, with the opening of the Seam, along the length of the Zip. It is important to make sure the opening of the Zip is lined up as closely as possible with the opening of the seam, this will ensure the finished Zip opening runs neatly along the opening of the seam.

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Pin at a 90o Angle to the Zip, & Pin every few centimetres to ensure the Zip is lying directly over the Seam & wont move too much as it is sewn in. The pins replace the need for Tacking (or Basting) however; the Zip can be hand Tacked/Basted if you feel the pins aren’t holding it as straight as you want.

You will need to attach your Zipper foot on to your Sewing Machine, then Sew neatly down each side of the Zip.  

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Start at the top & at the edge of the Zip, then curve the seam in to Sew alongside the Zip.  Because the Head of the Zip is so large, this ensures you leave room for the Zip Head to slide closed, whilst still being covered by the fabric. 

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I always Sew on the Outside of the garment. Whilst this is slightly more difficult, & you have to use the Zipper foot to ‘feel’ the edge of the Zip so as not to Sew too close (or the Zip wont open!), it gives a more polished look to the garment. 

Remember, you are able to unpick at any point! Don’t worry if you make a little wobble, or are unhappy. Just unpick & start again as it is worth getting this right so your seam looks as nice from the back as the front.

Once you have Sewn in the Zip, unpick the Central Seam, remove all threads & check your Zip works!

Happy stitching!

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