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How-to Series: How to Sew a Zipper

Sewing a zipper might seem like a big challenge. Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s pretty simple. It helps to break any daunting task down into steps, and we’re here to help. First, acquire your materials. You can base this on whether you’re sewing by hand or using a machine. Next, read through the steps once, then give it a go! 


  • Zipper 
  • The two pieces of fabric you wish to attach via the zipper 
  • Needle and thread (if you’re learning how to hand sew a zipper) 
  • A sewing machine (if you’re doing it by machine) 
  • Zipper foot (optional) 
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing clips 

How to Attach a Zipper by Machine

This is the easiest way to approach sewing a zipper. If you have a zipper foot, so much the better. This is a specially modified foot that allows the needle to get close to a raised surface. (Usually, that means a zipper, though it also works for cord and other thick materials.) Note that you do not have to use a zipper foot, however. You can still do this with an all-purpose sewing foot. 


  1. Open the zipper down to the bottom. 
  2. Attach the fabric to one side by holding it flush against the zipper where you will sew it and clipping it in place with sewing clips. 
  3. Attach the fabric to the other side in the same way. 
  4. Place pins between clips to anchor fabric securely. 
  5. Use a double straight stitch to secure one side at a time to the zipper. If you’re using a zipper foot, you can get closer. 
  6. If you’re not using a zipper foot, set your stitches far enough away that your foot is flush against the plate. 
  7. Finish by running your needle back and forth a few times to secure the stitches. 

Sewing a zipper

How to Attach a Zipper Manually

Some people have such fast, even stitches they don’t even need a machine. If you don’t have one, never fear. You can still secure your zipper by hand. To do this: 

  1. Follow steps 1-4 above. 
  2. Sew one side of the fabric by hand. It’s better to sew two lines of stitches if you have the patience. 
  3. Attach the other side. 
  4. Secure your stitches, trim up, and enjoy your new zipper! 

Pro Tips for Sewing a Zipper

If you’re doing this for the first time, keep in mind: The fabric of the zipper will always show a little. Choose one that matches your garment fabric. If you mess up, simply remove your stitches and try again. Zippers are sturdy and can take it! 

Remember, like most sewers learning a new skill, it might take a few tries to get this right. We’re sure you’ll figure it out soon enough, though. Should you want some in-person instruction or supplies, please feel free to check out our neighborhood sewing shop. Serving Tucson since 1954, tradition and friendliness define our approach to business. We’re happy to help you next! 

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