Emery Dress Sew-Along: How to Install the Invisible Zipper


Today on our Emery Dress Sew-Along, we are going to close up the back of our Emery Dress with the help of an invisible zipper!

I know many seamstresses panic when it comes to installing zippers, and I totally get it. When you sew a regular zipper, all the stitching that is on the outside of the garment must be done perfectly, or it just looks terrible. But the great thing about sewing an invisible zipper is that all of the stitching is on the inside of the garment! Nope, no exposed stitching at all! So as long as you follow these handy tips, you should have a picture-perfect zipper every time!

Okay, are you ready? Let's install our zippers!

I like to interface the seam where the zipper is to strengthen it. It also helps to keep the fabric from rippling. If you'd like to try this, simply cut 1" strips the length of your zipper. Be sure to use lightweight woven fusible interfacing. 

Repeat so you have two 1" strips, one for each side of your zipper seam. 

Line up the interfacing on the seam so the sides are together and it is flush at the top of the seam. Press in place with a hot iron. 

After interfacing, finish the edges of the fabric on the seam where the zipper will be going. You won't be able to do this afterwards, so take a moment to do it now. After sewing, press the fabric flat so it is flat and ready for the zipper!

Invisible zippers have curled teeth that need to be pressed. Above is what it looks like out of the package. 

Carefully take your iron and press the teeth away from the zipper tape. But be careful not to over press it! The key is to get the teeth of the zipper standing straight up so the tape and teeth form a 90-degree angle. Do not press the teeth flat! 

This is what over pressing looks like!

This is perfectly pressed at a 90-degree angle. This way the teeth can fit into the channels of the zipper foot. 

Place the zipper on the right side of the fabric, with the zipper teeth up and the right side of the tape on the fabric.

For the Emery Dress, the zipper stop at the top of the tape should be 5/8" from the neckline. And since our seam allowance is 5/8" the spot where we'll be sewing the zipper, just to the right of the teeth, should be 5/8" from the edge of the fabric. Once in position, pin in place at the top of the tape. 

Install an invisible zipper foot on your machine. This will not work without it! Place the teeth of the zipper in the left channel. That way the stitching will land to the right of the teeth, sewing the tape to the fabric. 

Back stitch at the top and keep the fabric at your 5/8" seam allowance. The teeth should simply ride inside the channel, keeping the zipper in place along the way. Back stitch at the bottom as close as you can to the pull. 

To pin the other side down, the zipper needs to be rotated twice to the right. Above is what it looks like upon sewing the left side down. 

Twist it once to the right, so the teeth are on the left side of the tape. 

Rotate a second time to the right, so the teeth are now on the right side of the tape.

Line up and pin in place to match the other side of the zipper.

Place the zipper teeth in the right channel, placing the stitching just to the left of the teeth. Use your seam allowance on the left of your presser foot and stitch from top to bottom, placing the fabric to the right of the presser foot. This can be awkward, but it is best to sew the zipper in the same direction on both sides. 

The end of the zipper pull needs to be flipped into the bottom of the skirt. Above is how it looks upon finishing the sewing. 

Pull the end of the zipper into the skirt.

And twist it so that the zipper pull is now on the top. Zip the back of the dress closed! 

To finish up the rest of the seam, pin the seam allowance in place from the bottom of the zipper to the hem. Install a regular zipper foot onto your machine and sew just along side the stitching at the bottom of the zipper, overlapping the stitching about 1". Continue to the bottom of the skirt. 

Press the seam open and press the zipper area on the right side of the fabric. Be mindful if your fabric is delicate! Hand tack the bottom of the zipper tape to the seam allowance with needle and thread. 

And that's it! If done correctly, it should look as the first photo does, where you only see the seam and not the zipper teeth. Congrats!

I'll see you back here on Wednesday to sew in our lining! Oh, and by the way, this was to go up on Thursday, but clearly I didn't take into account that Thursday is Thanksgiving when I made the original schedule, so it will go up a day early! Yay!

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