Charlotte dress part 5: the invisible zipper

So I thought I’d just go ahead and post this today-so if anyone wanted to finish it tonight they could! Check back tomorrow cause I have a cool giveaway for you guys!

So here’s a zipper. Pretty tiny right? Not intimidating at all! Or at least, won’t be after this tutorial.(hopefully)

See more after the jump!

So first, get your (non intimidating) zipper out of the package-unzip it, and lay it down face first on your ironing board.
Then you will iron the zipper teeth flat-do this from the back side, and by moving down the zipper with the point of your iron, pushing it flat. Don’t linger in any spot for too long-you don’t want to melt the teeth! (I use my cotton setting)
Next, lay out your dress like this, and then lay the zipper out right side up. (right side=the side the pull is facing out on)
We’ll start with the left side. Flip the zipper so that it’s facing in, and line it up with the edge of your dress like so. The little teeny plastic nub on the top should line up with the top of your dress. You will have some zipper over hanging on the top-we’ll take care of this later-don’t worry. And don’t trim it!
So, pin it to your dress all the way down that side.
Then starting at the top, and switching the foot on your machine to a zipper foot, sew down the zipper as close to it as you can get. (back stitch a few stitches at the beginning and end of this step)
You’ll have to steer clear of the pull at the bottom, but stitch on a little ways past and then backstitch.
Now for the other side…
It helps for me to turn it inside out like this, and then pin the other side of the zipper to the other side of your dress. Don’t forget to line up the plastic nub at the top…I hope this picture helps cause my explanation is not!
Now, starting at the bottom this time, sew up the side, again as close to the zipper as you can.
(back stitch at beginning and end)

Then zip up the zipper a bit, and go back to stitch even closer to the zipper along the end. See how it angles out from the zipper? It’s hard to get close with the zip in the way, so once it’s out of the way, it’s much easier to sew closer and make it look better.

Next check the waistband to make sure it lined up well enough for you, if not, use your seam ripper to rip out the last side of the zipper you did, and try again!  no shame in that! (I had to do it!)

The nub serves as your indicator-if it is the same distance from the top of your garment on both sides you should be ok.

Now for sewing up the rest of the dress. Pin the two sides together like this.
Then, using your regular foot, and starting right under where the zipper stitching ends, sew the two sides together. I used a 3/8″ seam.
Sorry about these over exposed pics. Press open your seam.
And then I also tacked down just the bottom band for an extra bit of niceness.
Don’t put that needle and thread away! We still need to take care of that extra zipper on top.
So, first fold it down…
and then fold in.
Then tack it to your lining and it will be hidden from sight!
 Tada! Congrats! you just made a dress-with an invisible zipper. yahoo!
Congrats! You just finished a dress, from scratch! That’s a feat to be proud of.
Don’t forget to upload pics of your dresses in my flickr group! I will definitely show them off here on the blog! 🙂


  1. You make it look so easy!! (I’m hoping it really is!) I’m looking forward to giving it a go! Thanks.

  2. That is a great invisible zipper how-to! If you don’t mind, I’ll add it to the Sewing 101 roundup. 🙂

  3. cute cute, I’ve never done an invisible zip on a garment, but this makes it look not so bad! 🙂

  4. I love it, Jess! So tiny and cute. I am definitely trying this later this year.

  5. Oh man! I should really try doing a zipper someday! Ha! They just scare me so bad! I’ll try it though! Cute dress! Love it! Perfect little cutie to put it on, too!

  6. thank you for this tut. I’m about to make my first dress for my little girl, has to be done on march 2nd, so your tut is a lifesaver. Had thought about a button instead, but zipper is my goal!

  7. This was so much fun! I made some mistakes like not enough fabric in the skirt but i still love the way it turned out! Thank you so much!!!

  8. Thank you for the great tutorial, just posted my picts on flickr. My sleeves are a little big (I used a pattern for a different dress) and my zipper is not invisible all the way at the bottom of each zipper (I struggled with the zippers). And yes, I made 2 dresses, for each daughter.
    Looking forward to the next tutorial.
    Thanks, Rachel

  9. My favorite thing about your Sew-Alongs (besides the GORGEOUS finished product) is how much I learn. You’re a fabulous teacher! Thanks again for another great one, I’ll be spreading the word.

  10. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I know I saw somewhere that you thought about doing sew-alongs once a month and I would definitely participate. I had major zipper-phobia after a few bad zipper experiences and all through the tutorial you posted I kept thinking “WOW, am I really getting this zipper in so easily?!!!???!!!” Thanks!

    Headed to Flickr now…

  11. This is such a beautiful dress!! And thank you for the inclusion of the invisible zipper how-to. Every time I sew one of these, I have to look it up and re-see how it’s done.

    I linked to your sew-along on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  12. Ok, so I am totally tackling this project–I’m going to buy my supplies today! It’ll be my first zipper, but it looks totally doable…

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m not even scared!

  13. I only use invisible zippers for my girls’ dresses. Even though I have sewn them to the wrong sides more times than I can count, I think they are easier for some reason. It is regular zippers that scare me!

  14. Thanks so much for creating this sew along! I’m pretty new at sewing and this made my first dress with sleeves and a zipper so easy! I love your blog and have followed it for some time. This is the first sew along I’ve done and it was a great experience. Thanks again!

  15. Anonymous says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just made my first zipper since HS home ec class -and this was so much easier than how they explained it then.

  16. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. I just made my first dress for my daughter using it, and I think it turned out great!

    (sorry if this posts twice. My net connection is a bit wonky tonight…)

  17. Well, I finally finished my dress for my girl! Not exactly in time for Easter…but at least it was done 😀 I posted about it here!

  18. Thanks so much for the tip on ironing the zip, that helped so much! Now I feel I can use invisible zips without using the special machine foot.
    Thanks again!

  19. I made this dress for my daughter’s one year birthday party. It turned out so great, your tutorial was amazing! I’m new to sewing and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make something so AWESOME!! 😀 I put 2 photos up on your flicker stream, they are awful phone pictures, but once I get a better quality one I could upload that. Thank you for all the awesome tutorials you put up, they are wonderful and I can’t wait to try more!

  20. I LOVED this sew-along. My dress turned out perfect and I can’t wait to show it off at church! Thank you, thank you! Pics are posted at my blog, btw!

  21. Querida parece fácil demais. Vou tentar, ficou tão perfeito. Uma linda noite para ti adorei seu blog, beijinhos carinhosos querida.

  22. I know I’m about 2 years late to the party, but I am really enjoying this sew-along. I’m making the dress for my size 8 daughters. It’s been very easy to size up. I loved the instructions on how to draft a pattern – and the sleeves were a revelation!

    I made a big error in the skirt (I had to sew two pieces together to get the length I needed for gathering and ended up with a seam right down the front of the dress. Instead of ripping it all out and fixing everything, I got creative (reading your blog and sewing along has made me realize that I can customize things and sometimes end up with a better result). I made three small bias tape-style strips (except not on the bias) from my accent fabric and sewed them down the front – one over the seam and one on each side of that. It turned out SO cute. So cute. Seriously. I’m glad I made the mistake so I could end up with that cute extra detail.
    I’m now at the point where I’m ready to put in the zipper. Unfortunately, I have no invisible zippers on hand, so I’ll have to run to the store tomorrow. Darn it! Although maybe it isn’t wise to put in an invisible zipper for the first time at 12:45 in the morning, anyway.
    Maybe it isn’t a good idea to try and comment at that time, either…. 🙂

    Thanks so much for a great sewing experience. This has been empowering.

  23. Officially finished! The zipper instructions (and PICTURES) were so fantastic. I feel like I learned a new skill!


  1. […] the top of the back center seam. For a good tutorial on sewing zippers, I always refer to this one HERE. It is a fantastic tutorial, even if it is your very first time working with zippers. Don’t […]

  2. […] the top of the back center seam. For a good tutorial on sewing zippers, I always refer to this one HERE. It is a fantastic tutorial, even if it is your very first time working with zippers. Don’t […]

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