We thought we’d bring you a new invisible zip insertion method for the Elsie Dress Sewalong. Our sample sewer LJ (sometimes referred to very affectionately as “other Lisa”) learned this method at university and it’s how she inserts all her invisible zips. There is a little bit of hand tacking so it takes a tiny bit longer, but the beautiful results are worth it. If you struggle getting the waist seam to match when you insert zips, give this method a go!
Not at this stage yet? Check out all our Elsie Dress Sewalong posts to catch up.
1. To start with we’re going to temporarily close the top of the centre back seam. Pin the centre back seam, paying very special attention to aligning the waist seams. Then using a long stitch length on your sewing machine, tack the centre back seam closed just where the zip will be inserted (approximately 22″ from the neckline towards the hem). Leave the rest of the seam unsewn. Use the same 1.5cm seam allowance as you normally would.
2. Press the seam allowance open along the part of the seam you have tacked closed. Leave the remainder of the seam unpressed.
3. On the wrong side of the dress, lay the zip onto the centre of the seam, so that the teeth are visible to you. Line up the centre of the zip exactly with the centre of the seam, and make sure the top of the zip (where the teeth begin) is 1.5cm from the top of the neckline.
4. Starting at the neckline, pin the zip to the dress all the way down, just past the zip pull. Then once pinned, tack it in place by hand on both sides of the zip tape, ensuring that it is secure. Only stitch through the seam allowance here – not the whole dress. Your hand tacking stitches should not be visible from the outside.
5. Once the zip is secured with the tacking stitches, it’s time to undo the centre back seam. Working from the right side, use a stitch ripper to carefully unpick the seam.
The centre back should now only be held together by the zip.
6. With the zip opened up, it’s time to stitch it in properly. Attach an invisible zip foot to your sewing machine, and stitch the zip in place down both sides as far as you can go. Make sure you’ve set your machine back to a standard stitch length of 2.5mm.
7. Once both sides are stitched, close the zip and marvel at your perfectly lined up waist seam!
8. To finish, pin the remainder of the centre back seam, from the bottom of the zip to the hem edge. Ensure the area at the bottom of the zip is nice and smooth, in order to avoid any puckering. Then, starting a few centimetres below the end of the zip, stitch the centre back seam down to the hem, using your standard sewing machine foot.
9. Now there will only be a little part of the seam which isn’t stitched, just below the end of the zip. Switch to a standard zip foot this time, and stitch the gap closed. The zip foot will allow you to get nice and close to the zip, but it might also help to adjust the position of your needle a little bit too. It can be tricky to get this bit perfect, but as long as there are no puckers it should sit nice and smooth on the outside.
10. Press the seam allowances below the zip open, before pressing again from the right side.
And there you have it! A beautifully inserted zip with a waist seam lined up to perfection!
Is this your zip insertion method of choice? If you have any other go-to techniques we’d love to hear them. Just leave us a comment plus any questions below! We’ll be back very soon when we’ll be stitching in the facing and lining to the bodice for a stunning finish.