All about Zipper Feet – Sew A Skirt Series


What do those Zipper Feet do?

If you plan to sew any kind of woven garment you will usually need to include a closure of some sort to allow you to get it on and off.  Usually, a dress or skirt will have a zipper.

There are three basic types of sewing machine zipper foot.

  1. The standard fixed zipper foot that may have come as standard with your sewing machine.  (left)
  2. The adjustable zipper foot. (middle)
  3. An invisible zipper foot.  (right)

All zipper feet allow you to sew one side or the other and get your stitches up close to the teeth of the zipper.  You might sew on the outside rather than the center of the foot.  Let's look at each of them in more detail.

Standard Zipper Foot (left)

May come as standard when you buy your sewing machine.  The fixed zipper foot has a little notch either side for your needle so you can use it left or right handed to sew either side of your zipper tape.  Best used for regular zippers with the teeth visible on the outside.  This is my least favorite foot because you have to move it to the left or the right and so the pressure from the presser foot is always off center one way or the other and I find the fabric doesn't feed through so well and the foot doesn't always sit flat to the zip and fabric.  Will work if this is the only one you have.

Adjustable zipper foot  (middle)

The most versatile of the three.  The adjustable zipper foot has many applications and can be used to sew almost any type of zipper.  Also good for top-stitching and sewing in areas where the regular foot might be too wide.  The foot can be positioned left or right, and you can adjust the positioning of the needle to exactly where you want it to be to allow for very close stitching.

You can also use the adjustable foot with an invisible zipper – simply flatten the zipper teeth as you sew just in front of the presser foot to sew as close as possible to the zipper teeth.  If you don't have an invisible zipper foot, this one can work instead. 

Invisible zipper foot  (right)

In some ways, the least versatile because it can only be used for invisible zippers.  However, if you give this foot a try you will love it!  Sews invisible zippers with ease, again using a left or right-hand channel and creates a beautifully close stitching line which will make your zippers truly invisible from the outside.  Centers the pressure from the presser foot and uses a central needle position so feeding through goes smoothly and accurately too.  Well worth adding to your sewing toolbox.

How to use your Zipper Feet

In the next post, I will be showing you a step by step photo tutorial for how to sew an invisible zipper into our skirt project.  However, before we do this, I HIGHLY recommend that you watch the free online video course from Craftsy – Mastering Zipper Techniques.

It's entirely free and the teacher is lovely.  She shows you how to sew a regular zipper, an invisible zipper and a lapped zipper over the course of several short lessons.  Watch them all, or just the ones you are interested in.  Then you will be well prepared when it comes to sewing your skirt zipper.

Our next steps

A quick recap of what we have completed so far –

  1. Overview, tools and equipment and choosing your fabric
  2. Drafting your custom fit pattern, and all about ease and seam allowances
  3. Cutting your fabric and pattern matching
  4. Marking darts perfectly
  5. Sewing darts perfectly
  6. All about zipper feet

Join me soon for the next step in our Sew A Skirt series – Sewing an Invisible Zipper.

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