How to sew in a zipper (and more) made sew easy + giveaway

Are you a quilter who’s curious about sewing beyond the 1/4″ seam? Whether you’ve never had the opportunity to learn sewing essentials or simply forgot some sewing how-to skills, having the basics under your belt can open up possibilities for creativity, whether it be in home accents, accessories, clothing—even quilts!

how to sew in a zipperCase in point: zippers. How many of us quilters have spotted a cool bag, purse, or pouch pattern but decided not to make it because the design included sewing a zipper? (I know I have.) In cases like these, a basic reference guide that offers smart ways to prepare, construct, and finish a sewing project is a gem to have around. And today, we’re happy to announce a new book to the rescue: The Sew Simple Guide to Easy Sewing and Embellishing.

The Sew Simple Guide to Easy Sewing and EmbellishingThis new book from the editors of Sew News covers sewing for beginners and beyond. Find help on how to best sew different fabrics (like Minky—love that in quilts!), how to embellish in fun ways, and how to do just about anything with fabric: seam, cut, mark, hem, gather, shirr, tuck, and more.

Oh yeah—and ZIP! To show you how easy the techniques in The Sew Simple Guide to Easy Sewing and Embellishing are to use, we’re sharing a snippet from the book today. Learn how to sew in a zipper with professional-looking results in this quick zipper tutorial. There are three techniques for sewing zippers in the book; this centered-zipper style is most commonly used to install zippers in those bags, purses, and pouches you may be dreaming about stitching.


In a centered closure, the zipper is concealed by two flaps of fabric, one on each side of the zipper. When completed, two lines of stitching (one on each side of the zipper) are visible from the right side.

1. Placement for the lower zipper stop is usually marked on the pattern. Stitch the seam with a normal stitch length below this mark, backstitching at the mark. Above the mark, machine baste the seam. Press the entire seam open.

2. With the garment wrong side up, place the closed zipper right side down on the seam allowances, with the zipper teeth centered along the basted seamline and the upper zipper stop 1″ below the garment’s upper raw edge. Pin the zipper in place through the seam allowances only; don’t pin through to the outside of the garment.

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3. Using a zipper foot, baste the zipper to the seam allowances only.
how to sew on a zipper 2

4. For best topstitching results, use a stitch slightly longer than for regular sewing, but not as long as a basting stitch. Be careful to stitch an even distance from the teeth. If this is difficult, use a  topstitching guide, or center 1/2″-wide transparent tape along the seam and stitch just beyond the tape edges. Working from the garment right side, topstitch the zipper in place using a zipper foot. To prevent ripples, sew both sides of the zipper in the same direction. Begin at the zipper upper edge and stitch to the end of the basted seamline; then pivot and stitch over to the seamline. Don’t backstitch; instead, leave a thread tail to pull to the wrong side. Repeat to sew the zipper’s opposite side.

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5. Use a hand-sewing needle to pull the thread ends to the wrong side and tie off. Remove the basting stitches and press with a cool iron.

See? A zipper is nothing to be scared of!

When you know a variety of common sewing concepts, you can adapt them to any project you make—which means you can make any project truly your own. I’m ready for the zipper challenge—how ’bout you?

So, where do you rank when it comes to sewing? Are you a strict 1/4″-seam sewist, or do you gather, pleat, and shirr too? Share your sewing story in the comments and you could win a copy of The Sew Simple Guide to Easy Sewing and Embellishing eBook! (You can also purchase the book here, and if you do, you can download the eBook for free right away.) Good luck!

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Ruth, who said:

“The greatest rule for sewing is that there are no rules.  That has been my motto for the last 45+ years.  I remember how frustrating I found my sewing classes.  I began sewing because my folks had little extra income for anything but necessities.  If I wanted clothing that looked fashionable, I had to make my own.  We were always taught that a 5/8 inch seam was the sewing standard.  I felt that nothing made my garments more homemade looking than that wide seam.  That insight was the beginning of my sewing rebellion.  Now I feel that creativity is diminished by rules.  Sometimes a 1/4 inch seam is good, sometimes not.  Why would i want to be so restricted.  Sewing is fun!  Enjoy the process!  If you get enjoyment from following rules, then do it.  If not then that too can be a blast.  Just enjoy the art and let it flow. That is how I find joy and contentment.”

Ruth, we’ll email you a special coupon code for a free eBook. Congratulations!


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