After having been a sewing teacher, college sewing lab assistant, and just working with seamstresses in general, I've found that a lot of people are nervous to attempt invisible zippers. I used to be one of those people. My technique has changed a bit over the years, partly from a change in equipment and partly from simple preference. I have now found my own favorite way to insert an invisible zipper. If there's anything I've learned in my years of sewing and teaching it is that there are very few things that only have one "right way" to be done. So try a few different ways, find what you like, and work it until you perfect it.
Before I get started just let me say that it isn't necessary to have a special presser foot for an invisible zipper. I started off with a cheap, generic plastic foot that included a roller. That was great as I was learning, but I don't use it anymore. Too often it ended up sewing too far away from the teeth and showing tape when it was sewn or too close to the teeth and making it so I couldn't zip the zipper. A regular, general purpose presser foot and a steady hand are all you really need.
Start off by opening up your zipper and lightly ironing the teeth open. Don't set your iron too hot or you could melt the teeth. I may or may not have found this out by sad experience.
|Use the iron to uncurl the teeth so you get a little valley between the teeth and the tape.|
Now match the top of the fabric with the top of the zipper tape and pin in place. If you place the zipper tape along the edge of a serging line it will usually give pretty close to a 5/8 inch seam. The single pin at the top is all I use on the first half. Stitch in the little valley between the teeth and the tape. The presser foot will hold the zipper open.
Here's the part that kind of rocked my world. I happened to be looking at my extra presser feet and took a better look at my satin stitch foot. It has a little notch in the middle that creates a groove on either side. Perfect for an invisible zipper. It made the tape lay flatter and the needle go perfectly into the valley, all while avoiding the shifting of the zipper, which is the only downfall of using the general purpose foot. Dude. It's totally my new invisible zipper foot. But the regular one still works great too.
|L-O-V-E the foot!|
Now comes one of the more critical parts: matching sides. Close the zipper and pin the zipper tape at the top of the other side. Flip the fabric to be right side up. Move the fabric as necessary so it lays flat where the zipper meets the seam. Hold it in place with your thumb and flip it back over so the wrong side is up again.
|Make sure it doesn't pull in one direction or the other.|
Pin the rest of the length of the zipper by matching the centers between any unpinned portions. Eyeballing it usually works just fine.
|You'll replace the parallel pins with perpendicular ones after everything lays smooth.|
If everything has gone well, the stitches on the zipper and the rest of the seam will match up perfectly...or at least pretty darn close. Feed the zipper pull through the itty bitty space still left from leaving that inch of zipper unsewn. Pull the zipper up to close it and admire your results.
|No hole and no pucker. Ta da!|
|Now I just need a sharp needle that doesn't pull the threads while I sew...|
What things do you have to show off? Today is the seventh day of my challenge so...one week down! Ta da!