How to Sew a Zipper: Helpful Hacks


Sewing zippers can be one of the most intimidating and sometimes frustrating part of a sewing project. It always seems like the zipper or top fabric – or both – wants to move around.

Here are some tips and tricks that can make sewing zippers a little easier.

10 Sewing Tips from the Experts

1. Pin the zipper to just the first layer of fabric, and put pins in every 4 to 5 inches

Then, lay the other fabric on top as your pattern directs and pin it to the zipper and first fabric. It will look like you’ve over pinned, but that’s okay! The more you can do to keep the zipper in place, the better. (Plus, we at Over-Pinners Anonymous are a nice group of people!)

2. While sewing, keep your fingers on the left side of the zipper.

Don’t push, but keep your fingers there firmly so that the zipper does not slip to the left. Also, keep your right fingers pressed firmly on the right side of the zipper. Again, this helps it not slip from side to side.

sewing zippers 2

3. If you have good pin karma, don’t remove the pins while sewing.

Just sew right over them, and then take them out when you are done. If you do not have good pin karma, try putting in your pins horizontally instead of vertically so that they’re parallel to the edge of the fabric. Just make sure that the pinhead will be facing you as you sew, so that they are easy to pull out.

4. Go slow. No need to rush through.

Unless you are in a speed sewing contest, there’s no need to rush when sewing zippers. Going slower will allow you to watch what is happening and stop if things get wonky.

sewing zippers 3

5. Basting tape is always a great option for really pesky zippers that just don’t want to stay put.

This is a thin, double-sided tape that you put on the zipper tape or fabric first. Then, you remove the paper backing from the other side of the tape and place the zipper where you’d like it.

6. Once you have the zipper placed, press it firmly with your fingers.

Do the same thing with the other layer of fabric so that your zipper is sandwiched however your pattern directs. No pins needed, your zipper will not budge, and you will not have bubbles!

So whether you decide to jump right off the zipper cliff and start tackling projects that include tons of zippers, or you just go out and buy a bunch of zippers on sale to use for practice, the best way to get better at this intimidating skill is to start playing with the tricks listed above and practice, practice, practice. You’ll soon realize there is no need to be afraid – you can do it!

Related Videos:
How to Install a Zipper
How to Shorten a Zipper
Sewing a Lapped Zipper
Sewing Zippers: Zipper Projects and Fun Ideas
How to Sew a Zippered Pouch

Get in touch! Leave a comment or email

10 Sewing Tips from the Experts

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

29 Responses to “How to Sew a Zipper: Helpful Hacks”

  1. shela vee

    how do you sew metal zippers, you can't sew over them....

  2. Joyce

    love tips...….always great to try more skills / an improvement of projects thanks J F

  3. Patricia Epley

    How to put in zipper in tee shirt for ports for catheter for IV's

  4. Fina

    I would love to learn more tricks!

  5. P Peterson

    When I printed the Springtime Mix patterns, the drawn lines didn’t print. Is there a solution to this?

  6. Pep


  7. Sharon Weston

    I always tack my zips in place by hand. Doesn't take long and I ALWAYS get good professional results. The zip can't move anywhere. Always use your sewing machine zipper foot.

  8. Florence

    Find this interesting

  9. MyrLene Stevens

    Thanks for the video. I’ve always been nervous about zippers

  10. Karen

    I need tricks for zipper replacement in winter jackets. There is always “extra” fabric on one side or the other that seems to have “stretched out” and I have a hard time sewing up without the fabric bunching up or overlapping on itself. Can you suggest anything?