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Tips & Techniques > perfectly centered center zipper

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Posted by: drsue

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Member since: 11/11/03
Reviews: 169 (tips: 11)
Skill level:Beginner
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Posted on: 5/28/05 9:15 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 12 people   
Featured in the PR book!
OK, be kind in your comments if you already knows this. However, I've never seen this technique in a book and a search didn't produce a tip like this on this site so here goes:


1. Baste the seam in which the zipper will be placed.

2. Open your zipper

3. Place the teeth of the opened zipper (one side only) right on the seam line (wrong side of seam to right side of zipper.

4. Using a straight stitch foot if you have one or a zipper foot if you don't, baste this size of the zipper to the seam, stitching as close to the outer edge of the zipper tape as possible. Don't pin or otherwise secure the zipper to the garment at this stage. Just use your eyes and hands to keep the zipper teeth on the seam line.

5. Close the zipper.

6. From the right side stitch the zipper to the garment using a zipper foot or another foot of your choice. What ever foot you have needs to have a guide you can place along the seam line. Start sewing on the side that has the basting and then sew the other side. Note that you have only had to baste one side of the zipper before you sew it to the garment.

7. Rip out basting stitches on the zipper and the seam.

8. Voila! perfectly centered. And so easy!

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moushka said... (7/13/05 9:46 AM) Reply
Super tip! I'm a convert to inivisible zippers whenever possible but this will encourage me to use up my stash of old zippers for casual clothes. Thanks very much.
Irene Q said... (6/3/05 2:49 PM) Reply
Keep those tips coming, wherever they come from! Those of us who don't sew 1000 zippers a day are always fumbling our way through, and can use all the help we can get. And what is easy for one person may be hard for another, so it's nice to have a few choices.
CarolynGM said... (6/1/05 7:28 PM) Reply
You know, it never once occurred to me to OPEN the zipper before I basted it on. What a creature of habit I am! I'm going to try this on my next zipper. Thanks for the devilishly simple tip, drsue.
drsue said... (6/1/05 1:10 PM) Reply
I confess to being only a lowly home sewer. No delusions of industrial grandeur here. I must say that your technique produces an excellent result, primarily at the upper faced edge. I do think mine is easier, with all due respect.
Kathleen Fasanella said... (6/1/05 9:32 AM) Reply
there's a much simpler way to do this, provided one sews the zipper the way it was ENGINEERED to be sewn. Zippers are an industrial product and designed to be applied in that environment. For a step by step illustration on how to sew zippers professionally (industrial) complete with detailed photos, free template patterns and written instructions, go to my blog at There, you'll also find a lapped zipper application as well as many other INDUSTRIAL standards.
Jayme girl said... (6/1/05 8:09 AM) Reply
I press the seam open right to the top Then pin the bottom of the zipper to the center of seam and then just sew around .fast and no problem
Karla Kizer said... (5/31/05 8:58 PM) Reply
It's a great method that can be slightly modified for the terminally lazy. I "baste" the zipper in place with Steam-a-Seam. (Must remember to buy stock in that company....)
janem123 said... (5/31/05 1:19 PM) Reply
Thanks for a great tip. I, too, have printed it for future reference.
Liane M said... (5/30/05 6:17 PM) Reply
I love this tip. I often have trouble getting centered zips to line up straight.
PVA said... (5/30/05 11:18 AM) Reply
Wow, thank you for an instant lightbulb moment! No, I've never heard or read this one & it sounds like EXACTLY what will work for me. I've been using the invisible zipper & that's usually fine, but there are times when a "perfectly centered zipper is really what's called for. Thanks, so much. (I've printed it off, it goes in my notebook.)
GorgeousFabrics said... (5/30/05 7:29 AM) Reply
Great tip, Dr. Sue. Thanks! -Ann
KarmenG said... (5/29/05 1:13 PM) Reply
Very cool Tip. I had never thought of it. I usually use the paper tape and tape across the zipper in three places. But your method is easier. Thanks!
elizajo said... (5/29/05 7:41 AM) Reply
What a great tip! I was taught by those of the "hand baste first" school on many steps of sewing, but your method would save me time.
candyo said... (5/29/05 7:36 AM) Reply
Thanks! I'll have to try this- my zippers are notoriously bad.
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