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Improve your crafting with zips

Fastenings can make or break an item of clothing. If a button or zip is sewn in the wrong place it can alter the overall fit of the garment, so it needs to be done precisely. In fact, the most common alteration is the zip. Once this skill is mastered you are on your way to becoming a great sewer.

So, we will start off with the open ended zip. An open ended zip is what it says on the tin, it is a zip that opens fully apart once the zip slider is down, and is usually found in an over garment like a coat, jacket etc. All that is needed when sewing this type of zip is the ability to machine or hand sew in a straight line.

Putting in an open ended zip:

  1. Open the zip so you have 2 pieces, a right and a left.
  2. Place the right side face down onto the material edge of the garment.
  3. Pin and/or tack the zip into place.
  4. Machine or hand stitch the zip to the fabric 1cm from the edge.
  5. Fold the 1cm edge under and topstitch.
  6. Repeat for left side.

To replace a broken open ended zip just follow the steps above, but tuck the new zip between the material(s) and into place.


Closed end Zip

Now the basic closed end zip. This is a zip which is glued together at the bottom which creates a stopper; therefore the zip cannot be opened fully into 2 pieces, often used in tops, dresses, skirts etc.

Putting in a closed end zip:

  1. Open the zip.
  2. Place the left fabric of the zip onto the left edge of the material; right sides facing.
  3. Pin and/or tack in place.
  4. Using a zipper foot, machine as far down and as close to the teeth as you can go.
  5. Do the same for the right side, making sure the zip does not twist in the process.


TIP: Once left side has been machined, turn the right side of the zip so the correct side is facing you then turn so it is not and place to the right edge of the material. This will prevent the zip from twisting the wrong way without your knowledge.


  1. Change to a standard machine foot.
  2. Pin and/or tack the remaining seam, below the zip, with a 1cm seam allowance.
  3. Machine the seam up as close to your previous stitching and the end of the zip as possible.
  4. Press the seam open.
  5. Turn garment the correct way around and top stitch in place if needed.


Concealed Zips

Finally, the concealed zip which is trickier to master. A concealed zip, also known as an invisible zip, should be sewn so close to the teeth of the zip that only the pull is seen. It sounds intricate, but it is very similar to putting in a closed end zip, and is used in the same type of garments. The only difference is the machine foot used.

A zipper foot is a very narrow piece of metal that will rest next to the zipper teeth, therefore letting the needle be closer to the teeth, whereas the concealed zipper foot takes it a step further. It is a block with 2 little semi circles at the bottom, looking like 2 little humpback bridges, which the zipper teeth fit into therefore letting the needle be even closer to the zip teeth.

Putting in a concealed zip:

  1. Follow order of make for a closed end zip to point 3.
  2. Using an invisible zipper foot, machine as far down and as close to the teeth as you can go.
  3. Do the same for the right side, making sure the zip does not twist in the process.
  4. Continue following order of make for a closed end zip from point 6.


With anything you do practice makes perfect, so we would recommend using a spare piece of material to go through these simple steps until you feel confident enough to sew in a garment. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get sewing! If you’re in need of any sewing supplies, or would like to view our range of zips, we have a fantastic collection here at Freds Haberdashery; get in contact today on 01246204504 for more information, or pop into to the shop to speak to our lovely team, who will help you with anything you’re looking for.