Oh yes, the dreaded invisible zipper. It’s so scary… until you realize that with the right tool it’s actually the easiest zipper you can install. Seriously, I could type “get an invisible zipper foot” and practically be done!
Many machines have an invisible zipper foot available. If you’ll be doing this a lot, I recommend checking it out for your machine. If you are doing the occasional invisible zipper, just buy this one.
Really, it’s like $2 and you can pick it up in the zipper isle. I’ll show you how to use it.
It comes with three different shanks, depending on the bar of your machine. It’s all about height, so measure according to the directions on the box and pick the correct snap on shank to put on the white foot. You want the bottom of the presser foot to rest on your feed dogs. If it’s slightly off, you can adjust it a little by sliding the shank up or down on your presser bar and then tightening the screw. There’s a detailed post on attaching the foot correctly here. Just a note, this foot works with Coats and Clark zippers. There’s also a foot for YKK invisible zippers… they are a little different in size.
The white presser foot slides side to side. Adjust it so the hole is centered below your needle. Try it out by turning the hand wheel to lower and raise your needle. If it hits the foot, you have one of the few machines that won’t work with this foot. See if your machine has one specifically.This is the foot I have for my small machine. Just in case, I will be back this afternoon with a tutorial on how to do it without the zipper foot.
Now, to attach the zipper.
Line up the zipper stop about 5/8″ from the top (or edge) of your fabric. Lay the wrong side of your invisible zipper (coils folded up) along the right side of your fabric. Basically, once you sew this zipper on and zip it up, it will automatically fold your seam under.
Now lower your invisible zipper foot so the coils go under the groove (I marked it in red above) and the needle is on the zipper tape side of the coils. See how there are two grooves in the foot? Make sure that when you sew you’re actually going to be catching the zipper.
The foot will unroll the coils as you sew, placing the stitching just far enough in that you won’t see it when you’re done, unless you roll the coils back and look. See how they kind of fold over your stitching?
Now, line up the other side of the zipper with the other side of your seam. I generally zip it up and pin it, then unzip to sew. If you’re sewing a garment, it should have marks for you to follow in lining it up. On a pillow, like I’m showing here, it’s just a matter of folding it over to make sure you’re going to line up right when you sew the pillow together.
Once you’ve sewn the zipper into the pillow, if that’s what you’re making, remember to unzip it at least halfway before you sew the squares together so you can open it up. I like this zipper on pillows that are double sided.