Do I Need A Zipper Foot To Sew A Zipper?

A zipper foot is a sewing machine accessory that comes in handy when you need to sew a zipper. So what happens when you don’t own a zipper foot? Can you still sew a zipper with your regular foot or do you absolutely need a zipper foot? I have had to answer this question a lot over the past few years and I’ll be answering it again in this article.

Do I need a zipper foot to sew a zipper?

Zipper Foot

No. Zipper feet are good for sewing zippers but they are not necessarily indispensable. Before zipper feet became popular, sewers found a way to sew zippers with regular foot and many sewers today still do. A zipper foot obviously makes your job a lot easier and gives it a more professional look. Yet, you can do a good enough job with your regular foot.

Using a regular foot might not be as smooth as the zipper foot experience, you can get better at it if you practice. If you follow a detailed guide on how to sew zippers without a zipper foot, you should be able to get it done without much hassle.

How to Sew Zipper Without A Zipper Foot

Zipper Foot

If you can’t get your hands on a zipper foot or you simply don’t want to go through the stress of attaching a zipper foot on your machine, you can follow these steps.

The first place to start is the zipper’s right side. Pull up the head of the zipper near the right side’s end and sew untill you get to the zipper’s bottom on the right side. Be sure to lock it with a double stitch. The next step is to move to the left side of the zipper.

Before you start sewing, be sure to have it pinned and aligned with the right side. Now unzip your zipper and start to sew while pulling upwards as you sew along. When you’re close to the button, pull the head of the zipper and sew untill you reach the bottom end.

While the needle is still in your project, lift the presser foot up, turn the zipper and begin to sew. When you’re done, run a double stitch through it and you should be good to go.

Should You Get a Zipper Foot?

Zipper Foot

A zipper foot might not be absolutely necessary, it is still a useful accessory that makes your job a lot easier. Apart from making your job easier, a zipper foot also gives you a more professional finish.

Zipper feet features a unique design that allows them to get a clean stitch that’s extremely close to the zipper teeth. While it is possible to install a zipper with your universal foot, it is significantly more difficult and you run the risk of getting an uneven or messy stitch along your zipper.

You could also end up with a stitch that is far away from the teeth’ edge which will make the zipper a bit too visible. These issues are eliminated when you use a zipper foot. For the seasoned professional with lots of experience sewing without a zipper foot, it might not matter much. However, a zipper foot makes it easy for beginner sewers to sew zippers without having to go through much hassle.

If you can get a zipper foot, you absolutely should. In third world countries where zipper feet are not readily available, most sewers resign to using their universal foot to sew zippers. While this means they have to work extra hard, it also means they become quite good at it from consistent usage.

How to Sew a Zipper Using a Zipper Foot

Zipper Foot

Follow the steps below to sew a zipper with the help of a zipper foot.

  • Step 1: Baste your Zipper Opening. Be sure to sew along the edge where the zipper should be. Sew in a way that the seam allowance stays the same way as the rest of your garment.
  • Step 2: Get the pieces of the seam allowance as flat and open as possible. This is important so as to ensure the fold on both sides of the basting stitch comes out smooth and crisp.
  • Step 3: The next step is to pin your zipper in place. To do this, install the zipper in its position. Place the top of the zipper in a position that ensures the pull is above the garment’s top line.
  • Step 4: The fourth step is to machine baste your zipper to the project. The basting stitch is only used to keep your zipper in place. You’ll need to remove it after the zipper has been fixed. The basting stitch is so important because they keep the zipper’s teeth centered on the seam acting as a guide since you can’t see the zipper while sewing over the project’s right side.
  • Step 5: Flip over the project in the way that the fabric’s right side is facing up. If you do this properly, you should only see the zipper’s top-end sticking out of the top of the project. The remaining part of your zipper should stay hidden.
  • Step 6: This is where your zipper foot comes in. Use your machine’s zipper foot to topstitch the seam right through the fabric layers. To prevent rippling, sew from bottom to top on either side of your zipper. Ensure your stitches are close to the seam’s center although your zipper foot will make sure you get it right. To finish the sewing, put a line of stitches over the seam’s bottom. This gives the zipper an endpoint that stops the pull from going all the way down.
  • Step 7 Now that you’re all done, you’ll need to remove the basting stitches using a seam ripper. First, take out the stitches which kept your zipper in place. Once those are gone, proceed to remove the stitches which go down the middle of your seam. Taking out the middle stitch will expose your zipper’s teeth.
  • Step 8: The final step is to test your zipper. If you have sewed it the right way, it should open and close without any issues.

Related questions

What kind of zipper foot should I buy?

Zipper Foot

Many new sewing machine models come with a zipper foot. If your machine has one, then it’s what you should be using. If that’s not the case, buy a zipper foot that’s made for your sewing machine’s make, shank height, and model. Some people prefer the thinner zipper foot while others are more comfortable with the wider version. You can try both of them to see which one you’re more comfortable with.

Why does my zipper foot move side to side?

This happens with all zipper feet. The side to side movement of zipper feet allows them to work with centered and lapped zippers. You can move the foot to whichever side you need so that your presser foot is not on the teeth of the zipper.

Can you sew anything else with a Zipper foot that’s not a zipper?

Yes, zipper feet are not made for sewing piping and trim alone. You can use them to sew lace, applique, and decorative beading. However, a zipper’s primary duties are to sew zippers.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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