I’ve recently got back to doing bespoke work again now that weddings are happening and I’ve been working on a mother of the groom outfit. So I thought I’d share how to insert a concealed zip. It is easiest to insert a concealed zip as early on in your garment’s production as there is less to get in your way. With some garments such as dresses where the zip crosses a bodice and skirt, you’ll have to do the zip last.
Pin zip in place
Press the zip tape open, the teeth on concealed zips are curled around. By pressing it flat, you can then stitch as close to the teeth as possible which is what you need to make the zip appear part of the seam.
Pin zip tape to one side. I’ve noticed students get in a muddle with other side, the easiest thing is to hold both sides of zip tape in straight line from zip pull (you may have to fold under first side you’ve pinned), then if you fold under seam allowance on other side, you can see which bit of zip tape is meant to touch which bit of garment. Now pin second side.
Make sure the top of the opening will match when closed and any seams crossing zip are perfectly straight. The end of the zip opening needs to finish in same place (such as a notch) on both sides. With a concealed zip, the tape needs to be longer than the opening (so if your zip is too long, that’s fine) as it is impossible to stitch to the very end with a concealed zip. Tack zip tape in place.
Now the zip can be machined on. Use a concealed zipper foot but if you don’t have one, a piping foot works just the same. I have a piping foot, I just move my needle position so that I can stitch as close as possible to the zip teeth.
Now I can close the zip and check everything is all even.
Completing base of zip
Now stitch the seam which zip opening is a part of. Stitch as close to base of zip as possible, you won’t be able to get the whole way with a regular machine foot.
Now you need to change your machine foot to a regular zipper foot so that you can go from the end of stitch line to the base of the concealed foot.
Now look on right side. Check that stitching looks straight and there’s no weird puckers or bubbles. It should look like a regular seam.
Now that the zip looks great from outside, I can finish the inside. First the zip tape needs cutting down if it is too long. Then the end can be covered with ribbon or bias binding so that there’s no scratchy bits.
Lastly, machine the outside edge of the zip tape, go beyond end of base of opening all the way to end of zip tape. By stitching below base of zip it anchors it and makes it easier to pull zip closed, especially when its a centre back seam.
You’re all done. Now the rest of the garment can be finished.
Once the facing/waistband is finished, you can finally attach a hook and eye at the top to keep it from gaping.
Hopefully you find this useful. Thanks for reading.
PS. This is what the final outfit looks like.