Whilst a lot of guides out there will instruct you on how to sew a zipper using a machine, it’s just as easy (or even easier) to do it by hand – the trick is to have strong stitching that can hold when the zip is pulled.
Things we need:
- Thimble (optional)
- Iron (optional)
How to sew a zipper by hand
- To avoid raw edges, fold back the seam allowance along the seam where the zipper is going. You can iron it in place to ensure a neat fold which may make the process easier.
- Pin to stabilise the closed zipper on the back of the fabric, with the teeth centred in the middle of the seam between the folds. Leave a small gap between the teeth and the fold (1-2 mm’s) to avoid any fabric catching.
- Thread your needle with a brightly coloured thread and knot the end. Choose a thinner needle for blouses, shirts, but choose something slightly sturdier if you’re sewing through heavy fabric.
- Sew a basting stitch down each side of the zipper to secure it into place, then remove the pins. A basting stitch (also called tacking) is a running stitch with a long stitch length. Don’t worry if it’s not very neat as you’ll be removing this later.
- Open the zipper and thread your needle again, this time double the thread and use a colour that matches your fabric.
- Using a prick stitch start sewing from the top of one side of the zipper, about half a centimetre from the fold. This is similar to a backstitch where the needle comes through to the right side, and is then inserted back into the fabric a few fabric threads back. Then the needle is brought forward and back through to the right side a stitch length ahead. The result should be tiny stitches on the front of the fabric and longer stitches on the back.
- Continue the stitching until you reach the bottom. Use the same method, go across the bottom and up on the other side.
- At the end, carefully tie a knot ensuring the zipper is not under a lot of strain and unpick the basting.
That’s it. You are good to go!