Sewing Techniques With Burda: How to Easily Sew a Centered Zipper?

Alongside buttons, zip fasteners are the most important closure in fashion today. They can be hidden as invisible closures or integrated as visible, decorative details.

Here is a list of the most common zip fasteners:

  • The standard zipper with a synthetic chain or with metal or synthetic teeth.
  • The invisible zip fastener with a synthetic chain.
  • The trousers' zip fastener with teeth and a small safety hook on the back of the zip fastener that prevents the zip from opening up unexpectedly
  • And the separable zip fastener with a chain or teeth made of metal or synthetic.

If you want the zip fastener to be as invisible as possible, use standard zip fasteners or invisible zip fasteners with a chain for best results, as they are softer and more flexible than zippers with teeth. Before stitching on the zip fastener, make sure that the teeth or chain starts approx. 2 mm (1/8 in) below the marked seam line at the neckline and waist seam edges. There are special-purpose presser feet for stitching on zip fasteners. With these feet, you can easily stitch to the right or left of the teeth or spiral of the zip fastener.

Centered Zipper

This is the easiest and most common method. Both edges of the slit meet at the center of the zipper.

 1.  To have perfect slit edges, first baste the slit together as if it were a seam, or, for best results, use long stitches to close it with the machine  (fig. 1 below). 

 2.  Press the seam allowances apart (fig. 2), 

 3.  And unpick the slit (fig. 3). Baste the edges. Baste the zipper to the slit edges, with the zipper on the outer side on the wrong side of the garment piece, so that the zipper teeth are covered.

Sew a Zipper by Hand

1.  Use small back stitches to sew approx. ½ cm (1/4 in) next to the slit edge, catching as little of the fabric as possible on the right side to result in depressions that are as small as possible (fig. 4). 

 2.  Do not pull the thread too tightly. Insert the needle at a 90° angle to the second slit edge at the end of the slit (fig. 5).


If you’d prefer to sew the zipper by hand but would like to include the line of stitching, stitch the slit edges closed before basting on the zipper and use back stitches to sew on the zipper exactly along the line of stitching.

Sew the Zipper With a Machine

  1. Use the one-sided edge stitch or zipper foot.
  2. Open the zipper.
  3. Start at the top of the slit edge on the right and stitch, ending approx. 5 cm (2 in) from the zipper end.
  4. Keep the needle in the fabric. Raise the presser foot to pull the zipper closed.
  5. Now lower the presser foot down and stitch to the zipper end. At the bottom, stitch crosswise to the other side and then stitch approx. 5 cm (2 in) of the second zipper half.
  6. Open the zipper again and stitch to the top.