Video: How to sew an invisible zipper

How to Sew an Invisible Zipper from Colette Patterns on Vimeo.

As you probably know, a lot of our patterns use invisible zippers. I think they’re the easiest, neatest zippers to install, once you get the hang of it.

A while back, we shared a photo tutorial on installing invisible zips, which has remained quite popular. But some things are just easier to see in motion, aren’t they?

So we teamed up with my friend Anja to create this short video.

Let me know what you think. Our goal was to create something simple, fast, easy to pause if you need to, and easy to understand. What do you think? Would narration help, or is the text enough?

Enjoy, and I hope this helps inspire some aha moments for some of you!

PS: It’s also available on Youtube if you want to favorite it there.

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On , Nancy said:

Very good video to drive home the point of how easy this procedure really is, however, your tut was very effective. Have been sewing all my long…..life and never knew how to install one until I found your website. Everyone should try this because it really looks so professional but I have to say that the Bernina foot designed for the invisible zip does the work. As a twist to zippers – would you do a video or TUT on a handpicked zipper. did I say that right? Thanks for a delightful website and your patterns are really great. Keep up the good work.

On , Lizzy said: | sewbusylizzy.wordpress.com

Love it!!! No talking required. I’ve done many invisible zippers successfully but this was still helpful. I always feel like I’m doing mental gymnastics making sure I’m sewing it in the right way. The simple captions and moving visual is enormously helpful. Hopefully an end to my mental cartwheels and summersaults!

On , Liz said:

Ah you make it look so easy, I have been getting better at invisible zips but I think I need to buy longer zippers or stop further from the ends, always end up having a bump at the end with the zip showing -_- but this video helped illustrate the fact that you don’t need to go all the way to the end for it to be effective.

On , Emilie LG said: | pinterest.com

You did such a good job with this video tutorial !
It’s definitely easier to understand than a photo tutorial.
I must admit as English is not my first language, the less words, the better :-D
It’s easier for me to read just those few words on the video than trying to understand someone speaking (above all about sewing because of all the specific vocabulary). Definitely video + text is the perfect solution.

In the same time I would like to thank you for your posts and “snippets” which are very usefull to learn new sewing vocabulary.
It’s always a pleasure to read your blog.

On , Elise said:

I have alwAys loved the look of invisible zippers and have finally mastered the technique. What helped me the most was buying the invisible zipper foot specifically made for my machine. Zippers now go in very quickly and look great.

On , Toinette said:

WOUUUAAIII, enfin un tuto bien fait en vidéo !

Thanks a lot girls. From Paris with Love.

On , Maddie Flanigan said: | madalynne.com

This is my favorite tutorial of yours, hands down! You’re completely right in that some things are better in motion. Although I know how to sew an invincible zipper, this is understandable to even the novice seamstress.

On , Erin said:

The video is great – very clear, and the music is very soothing!

I just read through the comments on the first tutorial and I can see the subject of pressing the zipper is moderately controversial. I fall on the “do no iron an invisible zipper ever” side of the debate. It’s the “roll” that hides the zipper so nicely! The foot should uncurl the zipper enough to stitch in the groove next to the teeth and you can use your fingers to help it along. If you press it flat and go too close to the teeth, it ceases to be an invisible zipper. And no ironing at the end either! A bit of steam and a pat if you need to, but don’t crush the roll! The roll!

Another helpful tip to avoid puckering is to mark the zipper and the fabric where you want the opening to end and keep those marks lined up when you sew. I find this very helpful, as I have a tendency to pull the zipper a bit as I sew, causing puckers. You can also baste (by hand or machine) the zipper on in the seam allowance first so there’s less to deal with when you’re sewing next to the teeth.

So there, just channelling my sewing teacher who made me fear the invisible zipper no longer. After sitting down and doing 10 or so, it’s now my favourite zipper installation, hands down.

Thanks for the video! (And sorry for stirring up controversy, but I gotta spread the good word of the roll!)

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I’ve never had a problem with the roll, but I’m not dogmatic about it. If someone feels like they get a better result from not pressing, that’s great!

I do have older invisible zips with specific instructions to press, which contradicts some claims that they are not ever ever ever meant to be pressed before sewing. Why not leave it a matter of personal choice?

On , Zete said:

Thanks. the “flip once, flip twice” part was the one I desperately needed. I always struggle with the correct placement of the second side of the zipper.

On , Janette said: | girlguydogcat.wordpress.com

Thanks so much! I’m not usually a fan of videos becuase they tend to drone on but this was perfect. Short, simple and easy! I feel silly for not finishing my zippers the way you showed. I was (messily) hand sewing. No more! Now if I could only work up the courage to do a regular zipper….

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I agree, I don’t like long videos with lots of talking, but I know some people ARE auditory learners. Maybe this type is for the more visual learners among us. :)

On , alice said: | theknittingprincessandthepea.blogspot.co.uk

Thanks, that’s a very useful video.

I really do enjoy sewing invisible zips. Much better than the standard kind. However, I’m glad I watched your video. I find the end bit where you sew the seam below the zip really fiddly and now I realise it’s because I’m not leaving a long enough tail on the zip.

On , alice said: | theknittingprincessandthepea.blogspot.co.uk

Oh, sorry, I forgot to add a tip of my own:

I don’t bother to press the zip, though I used to. I find it more helpful to sort of squash/roll back the teeth as I sew. That way I can sew fast without catching the teeth in my needle.

On , Shirley said: | sewingbyshirley.blogspot.de

Awesome video! Your nails are so pretty too! One of my 8-year-old girls said she likes the music you picked for it. :) I just ordered some fabric to make the dress on the cover of your book; I’m so excited.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Thanks! They’re actually Caitlin’s nails, and Anja picked the music.

On , Jessie said:

Thanks so much for this! It’s definitely going to be something I will reference over and over

On , Kim said: | punkmik.wordpress.com

definitely had an “aha!” moment! I love the style with the text! I often sew in the evening while my partner watches TV and I wouldn’t be able to put the sound on anyway! :P

On , Monique said:

I could kiss you!!! Thanxs!

On , Lisa G. said: | searchingforabalance.blogspot.com

Oh boy! how I would love to get the hang of this. It’s so clear and simple in your video – thank you!! I’ve done invisible zippers twice and am still afraid of them – they came out okay. I’m grateful for this instruction.

On , Emma said: | emmasfavouritethings.blogspot.com

Yes, this video is amazing, useful, and totally well-done….but let’s talk about those NAILS! I love them. This is one of the many reasons I adore Colette Patterns — the attention to detail at every level. :)

On , Marty said: | mblow.wordpress.com

Nicely done! I used to make instructional videos in a previous life, and a clean format like this one was always the employees’ favorite. And this one is one of mine – thank you!

On , colleen said:

I am shaking all over. I always have no problem with the first one but it’s not knowing how to figure the second side that really gets me. And then the sandwich part….I always just use improvization and, of course, it looks it. This is just amazing and I will use it constantly. Thanks!

On , anonymef said:

I usually buy invisible zippers at Hancock or JoAnn, but I find that they break really easily. I hate replacing them once I’ve gotten them in! Where can I buy better invisible zippers?

On , Sarah said:

I find that YKK zippers are good quality. Zipit on Etsy have a good selection, and they are an authorised YKK stockist.
Apparently there have been counterfeit zippers coming out of China – poor quality and they put someone else’s brand on them!

On , Jessica said: | americangirldreaming.com

I love the roll once – roll twice – that part has stumped me a few times in the past! Great Tutorial.

On , duck bucket said: | duckbucket.blogspot.com

Man, I wish I’d had this when putting in the invisible zip on my first dress. Thanks!

On , Kim Kruse said: | sewmakedo.com

Lovely video! I think the text layover is just as a effective, if not more so, than narration. I have to agree Zete that the “flip once, flip twice” part was great, since so many people get confused about which side of the zipper needs to be placed on which side of the fabric.

Speaking of basting, I’ve used glue basting with good results in the classes I teach. Students seem to struggle with using pins because they prevent the zipper and fabric from lying perfectly flat, and most students these days don’t want to take the time to hand baste a zipper.

Here’s the original tutorial I found on Sew Mama Sew on the topic: http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/2007/05/installing-a-zipper-tutorial-by-michelle/#.UCPIME1lTYg. I prefer a water-soluble glue stick. The key is to make sure not to get the glue on the teeth of the zipper.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I’ve used glue basting on regular zips (I think I learned the trick from the lovely Amy Karol), but never invisible zips for some reason. Good tip!

On , Rebecca said:

Super super cute! I love it.

On , Miss Crayola Creepy said: | misscrayolacreepy.blogspot.com

LOVE! Thank you Sarai and Caitlin!!!

On , Amber said: | berlinswhimsy.typepad.com

Great video! I have struggled with invisible zippers. One question: should the extra zipper tape at the bottom be sewn to the seam allowances? That was one thing I wasn’t sure about when I recently made the Hazel dress— I didn’t know what to do with the extra zipper tape and it seemed odd to just let it hang loose.

Thank you for such a great video!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I always let it hang loose. If it’s too long, I make a new stop by backstitching over the teeth (use a wide zigzag with a length of 0) and trimming it below.

You can certainly stitch to the seam allowance if you like, but I prefer not to because it can make the end of the zipper tape more visible (depending on your fabric).

On , Annie said:

Many thanks for this, invisible zips hit and miss for me, not now!


On , Lauren said:

Thanks so much. I’m a new sewer just about to start my first project with a zipper. After reading many tutorials I found myself wishing that I could just watch an experienced sewer do one. Wish fulfilled!

On , sallie said: | sallieoh.blogspot.com

Lovely video! I recently discovered that pressing your zipper teeth away from your zipper makes all the difference in the world! I know it always says that in the instructions… but I always thought they were just being fussy. But no! Totally the difference between an invisible zipper and a not-so-invisible invisible zipper.

On , Geri said:

Amazing tutorial. I am new to sewing, and I have been avoiding projects calling for an invisible zipper – I just couldn’t understand any of the instructions, even after consulting youtube and as many sewing books as I could get my hands on. This video makes it crystal clear!
I love the pace of the video. I like that there is no narration, just text: you have achieved a level of clarity I’m not sure would be possible with narration.
I shall look forward to more tutorials from you!


Geri – who is no longer afraid of invisible zippers.

On , Lindy said:

You did a wonderful job with the video tutorial I usually don’t like watching ones with out a voice but it was perfect. I rather watch a video than have a photo tutorial because you can really understand it better.

On , Femke said:

Love the style and the simplicity of this tutorial. :-)

I’ll rewatch it but seeing it once, it seems you haven’t shown that the zipper needs to be limited in how far it opens? Moving up that little ‘stop’ (always in metal I think) or sewing a few times over the end after sewing in the zipper is to me a necessary step to protect the seam below the zipper.

On , rbjaneite said:

That’s a great video, thanks! I’d never seen an actual invisible zipper foot before – I’ve only ever used a normal zipper foot (though I have mislaid even that and sewed in an invisible zipper with my bog-standard-normal foot this weekend. Not so fun!).

On , Eliisa said: | mammamakinen.blogspot.fi

Oh, thank you, thank you!!!! I´ve been avoiding sewing invisible zippers… now I´ll do it! Jee!

On , irene said:

Great video! I’ve not missed the voice, sometimes it is even distracting, when you are struggling to hear the voice and you do not concentrate on what you see. I have particularly appreciated the part about sewing the seam allowance below the zipper, I have always had problems with that part, but I think now I will handle it better. Thank you!

On , AllisonF said:

WONDERFUL! Even your zipper tutorials are fun to watch! Thank you.

On , MJ Horner said:

Now that looked fun!
In my sewing life I’ve sewn hundreds of zippers but never have I thought ‘what fun it’ll be to sew in a zipper ‘. Now I will! Thank-you

On , Sarah said:

I have just started to use the invisible zippers. They are fantastic. The video is perfect, don’t need comments, the captions are very good and easy to follow with the video. Thanks for all the great tips etc. on your blog and snippets.

On , Beth said:

I use a regular zipper foot for all zippers… mostly because I can’t seem to find an invisible foot that fits my machine… but I wanted to note that it is possible to do- although not quite as easy. If you go slow and use your fingernail (long nails are a plus for this!) to unfurl the zip then it isn’t too hard to get a *fairly* close stitch. Def match your zipper and fabric colors if you choose to use a regular zipper foot!

On , Debra said: | sunshinehomestudy.org

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Your video is wonderful and I love the music too.

On , Kerry said:

Fantastic! Your previous post on invisible zip was my go to and this is even better, especially for those who haven’t sewn one before. I stitch the seam line in contrasting thread and large stitches before I pin the zipper and put pairs of pencil marks either side of the zipper tape to ensure matching in key places e.g. on the waistband seams of a dress running down the side seam. I will link to this on my blog on my next post about zippers! Hope that is ok

On , Cherie said:

Awesome! Awesome video! Thank you so much.

On , Angela said: | bonnechanceblogspot.blogspot.com

Wow this is great! I really needed this tutorial!

On , Mimi O said: | mimi-ohs.blogspot.com

Very nice tutorial. I have been sewing for over 40 years and just recently put in my second invisible zipper this past July. This tutorial makes the process so simple and I don’t think it needs any audio. Pretty self-explanatory.

On , Amy said:

This video is very much appreciated. I do have a question: when I put in an invisible zipper, even though I ironed the fabric down flat, it still kind of popped upwards and didn’t continue to lie flat when completed. The fabric was pretty firm home dec material which I was using for pants and a shell top. I ended up slipping some fusible tape in the seam after the fact on the blouse in an effort to keep the seam and zipper flat. I’d like to know if I’m the only one who has this problem?

Also, can an invisible zipper be used (or substituted) pretty much on any side or back seam? I like the way they disappear. Do you think they hold up well?

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I’m not reallysure why your fabric is laying flat… unless it’s synthetic and simply won’t hold a press well?

I use them on most things, UNLESS there are bulky seams the zipper has to slide over. That can make it difficult to zip, and sometimes the zipper will even pop with too much pressure.

On , becky wiggins said:

I have the same problem with having the fabric lie flat after inserting an invisible zipper. It’s not only me–my niece got an off-the-rack wedding dress that had the same problem. I thought I could fix it, and couldn’t. I am currently sewing a prom dress in a synthetic satin and it’s so bad that I have decided to remove the invisible zipper and put in a regular zipper instead. I have decided that I am not going to use invisible zippers in light synthetics anymore.

On , Tressa said: | thestitcherati.com

Oh thank you thank you for this! I have been tearing my hair out trying to insert an invisible zipper on a dress. I love the video. It really complements the tutorial from last year too.

I think I need to upgrade my plastic invisible zipper foot to a metal one. Thank you for all the tips!

On , Shelley said:

Great video! Wish I had this the first time I sewed an invisible zipper. Thanks for a simple, clean presentation. Great job.

On , Kim said:

All of us visual learners thank you. Great job!

On , Veronica said: | veronicamade.wordpress.com

Awesome tutorial! This is the best invisible zipper one I’ve seen yet. Thanks so much!

On , Vanessa@DesignsBySessa said: | DesignsBySessa.com

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I am doing the iris and the photo tute was good, but this made it really clear! For someone that has never done the zipper before, I think it was a little fast going through it, but since it’s short, I can just watch it a few times and I know I will be able to do it! Thanks for doing this!!!!!!!!!!!

On , Naomi said: | madebynomes.com

Thank you so much for posting this video. Very helpful indeed. Now I’ll have to go and buy an invisible zipper foot and then get sewing!

On , sophie o. said: | unpeudecouture.wordpress.com

great video! clear, simple to understand, thorough without being too long! I’d love to see other ones!

Completed Sewing Project: The Audrey Dress | The Stitcherati

[...] visiting Colette’s site and viewing their awesome video tutorial (click here to see it), they mentioned that using a plastic invisible zipper foot, which was what I was using, was [...]

On , Erica said: | none

Thanks for a great video tutorial as a supplement to the instructions with pictures in your Handbook!

An Ikat Macaron « the creative counselor

[...] Pattern: Colette Macaron Size: 6 Difficulty: Designated Intermediate, and I would agree with that. The pattern includes hidden pleat pockets, a sweetheart neckline that needs some fairly precise topstitching, set-in sleeves, and a side invisible zipper. Definitely one where you’d be best having a fair number of projects under your belt. Pattern booklet: I give the physical pattern itself a B-. That’s mostly because I hate tissue paper patterns. I mean seriously, who actually enjoys working with flimsy tissue paper when you’re trying to trace and cut a pattern? It never lays right, it’s hard to see the lines, and I’m always worried I’m going to accidentally tear the thing apart. I actually love the pattern book part of the pattern. It’s really pretty and vintage-looking, and I love how the booklet it integrated into the envelope. That darn tissue paper brings its marks down considerably though. Alterations: None! Love it. Fit: The fit is perfect, absolutely perfect, on me. I apparently have an hourglass figure with some good padding up top (who would have known — certainly not me!). The dress fits perfectly across the shoulders and bust — the bust darts hit me exactly right. I have no gaping in the neckline, and the sleeves are perfectly tailored without being tight. The Macaron fits snugly through the waist, making it very flattering, and the shape of the skirts and the pleats make it comfortable and slimming. Process/Technique: The instructions are great. I was a little unclear on how the bodice pieces attached to the yoke when I made my muslin, but I re-read the instructions when I got down to sewing, and then it made sense. Colette does not include instructions to install an invisible zipper in their pattern booklets, but there is a great tutorial on their blog. (And a video tutorial here). [...]

On , Crystal said:

I just inserted my very first invisible zipper with my brand new zipper foot using this tutorial along with the written/pictorial tutorial! So thank you!!! The two really work well in tandem and I found helpful information in each, but the video really takes the fear out of it and makes it seem so simple.

Winter White | Crystal Pleats

[...] zipper!!  Hip hip hooray!  With the help of both of these Colette tutorials: Photo tutorial and Video tutorial.  I found the combination of both helped my success on the first [...]

On , Leevallie said:

Excellent video thanks.
Haven’t tried it yet. It’s definitely the most professional finish so hope I can do it.

Completed: One Alma, one Renfrew | Thea's adventures in Sewingland

[...] said ‘insert invisible zipper now’ and moved on, at which point my brain exploded. Colette’s tutorial came to the rescue. After this, I happily proceeded to sew my zipper so it would be invisible from [...]

On , Lady ID said: | peppermintandpaisley.com

Great video! I thought I had invisible zippers halfway in the bag and last weekend realised that I’m close but not there. I often install them after sewing most of the seam leaving some space for the tail but this way is less cumbersome. I will do it this way next time (in a few days :)

On , Andrea said:

Can you do a short video like this for installing sleeves? Mine just don’t look very good. I use this invisible zipper video ALL the time.

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My favorite INDEPENDENT pattern designers | 17 BUTTERFLIES

[…] I ever made. I learned so much about waistbands and invisible zippers. In fact, I reference their online tutorial for invisible zippers in my mind each and every time I put one in. You’ll never get confused about how to place the […]

What we’re making! Peony Dress by Colette Patterns | Pink Chalk Studio

[…] Lydia felt the pattern instructions were very clear and well written. Each Colette Pattern includes a glossary of sewing terms which will come in handy when Grandma is not there to offer assistance. The invisible zipper was easy to install.  Sarai from Colette Patterns has a detailed video online – How to sew an invisible zipper. […]

Lolita Sewing Patterns and Tutorials | jessie dresses up

[…] Sew an invisible zipper […]

On , kyra said: | kyraweinkle.com

yes! this format was wonderful! and it finally pushed me to purchase a proper invisible zipper foot.

another tutorial i think would work well with this video format is the tube method for making continuous bias tape. your photo tutorial is very good and i have successfully made bias tape from it, but i did get turned around once or twice with which edge is which.

thank you sarai et al!!

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Submitted for the approval of the Yellow skirt gang, I call this skirt “The grapefruit Chardon” | girl with a sewing machine

[…] didn’t have a yellow zipper so I watched this video and read this post countless times, and it helped so much in installing my first invisible zipper. […]

On , Starplee said:

Thank you so much – what a fabulous video. Have just inserted my first ever invisible zip and (thanks to your video tutorial), it was so easy!

On , Christina Hess said:

This helped me so much! I see now what I was doing wrong! You made it clear, quick, and simple!

On , janine said:

Great tutorial. My question is how to finish the top nice and clean. Pretty much finishing the zipped end of the garment. I just get too much bulk there no matter what I do; sometimes the folded seam pops open as I try to do the final stitches. Please do a tutorial on this little yet very important portion of the finished garment. Thanks.

On , Michele said:

This video just saved my daughter a lot of frustration. She is working on a sewing project for her 4-h fashion show coming up and was stuck on the invisible zipper. She felt like giving up but watched your video and was able to fix the zipper the first time afterwards. It was the last part of putting it in that had her stumped. Thanks!

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