Zips- Getting to grips with Lapped and Invisible zips

Ok, now. Breathe…

So zips hold a lot of fear for beginner sewists and beyond. We halter when we know something’s not meant to be seen. We’re going to get to grips with zips and sooth those fears.. Taking time over your zip, making sure everything lines up is time well spent for a good finish.

What type of zip?

There are a lot of different zips available. The zips we’re going to concentrate on are a lapped zip and an invisible zip. These are zips that you would generally find in side seams and back seams. The lapped seam uses a standard zip and the invisible a concealed zip. These will become clearer as we get going.

We have many different types of zip to choose from but to make life easier lets split them into two groups.

We have the light weight zips that tend to be made with the coil system and the heavy weight that are generally moulded or metal. You’ll want to match the weight and use of your zip to the weight and purpose of your fabric and project. For a summer dress you’d be best to go for a standard/light weight zip and if you’re making a warm jacket you’ll want a zip on the heavier side. You’re also going to want to open the zip fully on a jacket so an Open ended zip will be what you’re looking for. Confused, much? It can be a minefield but you’ll soon catch onto what to look for.

These really just take a little time and practice. I’m going to take you through step by step with video that you can pause as and when you need to.

What do you need? Which foot is it.

So for placing a zip you need your sewing machine, pins, and your chosen zip. Oh and your project or sample fabric.

One thing to always check when you buy or acquire a sewing machine is that it has a zip foot. These can vary in their looks but they will all have one thing in common, they only have one toe. A standard foot has two toes to hold the fabric on both sides of the needle but the zip foot only wants to hold the fabric on one side. This will become clearer as we progress with our zips.

Check your machine manual if you have one to see which foot they recommend. You may have a foot that you move

Now you know what you need we’re going to take a closer look at putting those zips in.