Monday, 1 August 2016

How to sew an invisible zip with lining and no hand stitching

When you line a dress and put in an invisible zip, do you find yourself hand stitching the lining into place? I did for quite a while and while it produces a good result, I found myself getting frustrated at how long this took. Now I insert them fully by machine using the following technique which produces the same result but it is quicker and, in my opinion, produces a stronger seam than my hand sewing. Here is the finished result for my Tea Leaves dress. 

The first thing to remember when using this technique is that it may differ from the instructions of your pattern. Plan ahead of time so you're not caught out during the construction. You'll need to complete your shell and lining but don't stitch them together - keep the neck seam and the back seam open. You could finish these seams ahead of time. 

Insert the invisible zip to the shell as you normally would and stitch the centre back seam from the bottom of the zip. 

Open the zip and lay out the shell right side up revealing the seam allowance the zip is stitched to. Take your lining piece and lay it over the shell, right sides together, matching the raw edges. Pin in place to the point your zip ends. 

Stitch the lining to the shell using a normal zip foot. You will be able to feel the teeth of the zip as a guide (shown between my thumb and the stitching). I tend to stitch about 3-4mm away from the teeth to keep the lining secure and ensure that it doesn't get caught when the zip is used. Repeat for the other side. 

Time to clean up the neck line. Take one side and open up the shell and lining so the zip is central. Move the lining to ensure the right side of the lining and the right side of the shell are facing. To get a lovely finish in the corners, fold the seam allowance towards the lining. Pin in place then continue to line up the rest of the neck line. 

Stitch in place. Repeat for the other side.

Trim seam allowances and turn fabric to right sides out ensuring a neat corner.

Move back to the inside of your item. Pinch the lining where you want the seam to start. Hold the fabric as you turn the lining wrong side out. 

Pin the centre back seam to this point and stitch in place. Press seam open. 

Ta-dah! A lovely clean finish on the inside and no need to pick up a hand sewing needle! 


  1. That's so useful - I too hate hand sewing so will try this on my next lined garment with an invisible zip. Does it also work with a lapped or centred zip?

  2. Very interesting, I've not seen this way before and have always sewn the neckline first but this looks much easier especially in lining the waist seams straight. Thank you I will be trying this with my next dress.

  3. Fantastic Claire! I've used a similar method to sew a facing to the invisible zip tape, but never thought to try it for a lining. I'll definitely be giving this a go.

  4. You've inserted that invisible zip perfectly well, no puckering or anything! I've always just sewn the lining onto the dress on the sewing machine, probably because I had my Mum who's great at sewing to help me if something went wrong! I think you use a fantastic technique with the zip that I'm sure will help many! XxxX


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