How to insert a zip

123 zips on folded fabrics

Zips are used in many of the projects to form a neat, unobtrusive opening. Insert the zip before you begin to assemble the cover, as it is much easier to work on one flat piece. The zip is usually 7.5-10cm shorter than the finished seam it is inserted into.

Scroll down for full instructions and diagrams.























1. With right sides together and raw edges even, pin and tack the two edges of the seam in which the zip is to be inserted. Lightly press open the seam. Lay the zip over the seam allowances, centred between the ends of the seams, and mark the ends of the zip with pins.

2. Remove the zip and, with right sides together, machine-stitch the seam from the edge to the pin marker at each end. Reverse-stitch at each end of the stitching to secure. Leave the tacking intact between the machine-stitched ends. Press open the seam.

3. Lay the closed zip face down on the seam allowances, along the tacked section of the seam. Make sure the zip teeth are exactly over the seam line, then hand-tack the zip in place through all layers.

4. Working from the right side, and using a zipper foot on your machine, carefully sew the zip in place. Stitch 5mm from the seam line along each side and across the top and bottom of the zip, being careful to avoid the zip stops. Do this all in one go (unless the fabric has a tendency to creep, in which case stitch the long sides in the same direction). Instead of reverse-stitching at the ends, tie the threads on the wrong side. Remove the tacking.

These instructions are taken from 'The Home-sewn Home' by Vanessa Arbuthnott with Gail Abbott (Cico Books, £16.99). Buy 'The Home-sewn Home' from our online bookshop for the special price of £12.99 including free p&p. 

You might also like…

See all of our Vanessa Arbuthnott patterns

Read up on more sewing guides and advice here

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