How To Use The Zipper Foot

The zipper foot is a sewing accessory used to sew zippers on many sewing projects. This foot can be used to attach zippers or to add piping or cords to your designs. This foot is designed to allow the needle to sew as close to the edge of the zipper teeth or the thickness of the piping as possible for a clean, precise stitch. 

For beginner sewers, zipper attachment may seem tricky, but with the right presser foot and some basic sewing skills, zipper attachment will be a breeze.

What is a zipper foot?

The zipper presser foot is specifically designed for sewing zippers or piping. The sole of the foot allows for easy sewing closer to the teeth of the zipper or along areas that may have more volume on one side than the other. 

On most sewing machine models, the foot can be attached to the presser foot holder on the right or left side. Depending on the type of zipper insertion, both sides can be used.

The Different Types Of Zippers

There are different types of zippers, and different ways of applying them. A zipper consists of two strips of fabric tape with metal, plastic or nylon teeth that open and close with the movement of a slider. There are mainly two types of zippers:

Non-Detachable Zippers

These are the most common and widespread zippers. The two parts of the zipper are joined at the base. Non-separable zippers are used to make small zippered openings on bags, pouches, skirts, dresses, pants or small leather goods.

Separable Zippers

The separable zipper has two separate detachable parts that are not connected to each other. They are most often used to attach zippers to garments such as coats, jackets or bags.

How to Choose Your Zipper

To suit all purposes, zippers are available in a wide variety of designs, sizes, materials and colors. When choosing your zipper, consider the weight of the fabric and its use. For jeans, it’s best to use metal zippers, which are more durable, while if you’re using a thin fabric, opt for a lightweight zipper, which is more suitable for this type of fabric.

How to Sew a Zipper

A zipper foot can be used to sew all types of zippers to ensure a straight, even seam no matter what project you are working on. To sew a zipper, you only need one thing: a zipper foot. Most sewing machines like the Brother CS10S or Singer Simple 3221 come with this foot.

However, if the zipper foot is not included with your machine, you can easily find one in a specialized store or directly in a presser foot kit.

To avoid unpleasant surprises while sewing, always remember to check the length of the zipper and make sure it opens and closes properly.

How to Sew an Edge to Edge Zipper

Sewing an edge-to-edge zipper involves sewing a centered zipper, sewn at equal distance on the two pieces of fabric positioned against each other.

  • Start by marking the top and bottom positions of your zipper on the fabric with a margin of at least 1 cm.
  • Trim the edges if necessary.
  • Pin the two pieces of fabric right sides together.
  • Using the zigzag foot, begin sewing the fabric straight across to the end of the previously marked zipper opening. Make a reinforcing stitch at this point.
  • Continue sewing to the edge of the fabric using a basting stitch without a bartack. The basting stitch is a long straight stitch that can be easily removed later.
  • Open the flap and iron the fabric and seam.
  • Position the zipper in the center of the seam.
  • Align the zipper and attach each side to the basting stitch.
  • Attach the zipper foot to the foot holder. Attach the foot on the right side to sew the left side of the zipper and vice versa.
  • Select a straight stitch. Using the handwheel, make sure your needle does not touch the presser foot.
  • Place the fabric under the needle and position the foot along the zipper to sew close to the teeth.
  • Begin sewing the zipper. To sew the bottom of the zipper, leave the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot and then rotate the fabric before continuing sewing. To keep the zipper slider out of the way, leave the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot and then open or close the zipper to continue sewing.
  • Remove the basting stitches.

To Sew a Cord / Piping

It is also possible to use the zipper foot to sew a cord or attach a piping especially when you do not have a piping foot. Piping involves wrapping a cord inside a strip of bias tape folded in half. Piping is commonly used to finish edges on accessories, clothing or home decor.

  • Start by measuring the diameter of the cord. The width of the bias tape will depend on the diameter of the cord chosen.
  • Place the cord in the middle of the bias tape. Fold the bias tape around the cord so that the cord is completely wrapped by the fabric.
  • Pin as close to the cord as possible to hold it in place while sewing.
  • Place the zipper foot on the foot rest.
  • Position the cord under the notch of the foot to stitch close to the edge.
  • Place the cord under the zipper foot
  • Select a straight stitch.
  • Begin sewing slowly along the bead.
  • Once the bead is sewn into the bias tape, the piping is ready to use.