Tutorials, Work in Progress
Comments 7

Matchmaker – Dahlia meets Mr Zip

Dahlia Dress

Whilst inserting my zip today into my Dahlia dress I decided to take some photos of how I match everything up when inserting zips, as it can make or break a garment.

This is just how I do it.  There might be an easier way out there, but after making 5 Yasmin Yoke Skirts I feel practiced and competent enough to share my way with you.

Firstly, buy a decent zip!  I learnt the hard way today:

I had sew one side of the zip, and then when I fastened it it struggled over the seam and broke!!  I was gutted!!

I had sewn one side of the zip, and then when I fastened it it struggled over the seam and broke!!
I was gutted!!

This post will not show you how any special tricks to inserting a concealed zip, there’s loads of fab tutorials out there and even a free craftsy class (I always refer back to this if I’ve not inserted one in a while).

Insert one side of the zip.


Zip up the zipper and mark the important seams that need to match:


Unzip and place where it needs to be.  Pin if you like but it doesn’t make it any more accurate!


  Stitch in place – long basting stitches just near the seams that need to match:

Dahlia Dress Colette Pattern

Now, zip it up and see how it’s matched up:

Dahlia dress

Nearly but not quite!  Lets pull out those basting stitches and give it another go!

Dahlia Dress

That’s better!!

Now work from the middle of area you just basted in each direction – i.e. inserting the zip in 2 goes.  (hope that makes sense!).

Dahlia Dress

Just to mention, I don’t bother with a concealed zipper foot. I use a regular one and my finger!  If you’ve pressed your zipper – uncoiling the teeth – it’s easy enough!

Dahlia Dress

If I’m teaching anyone bad habits, I’m sorry!  I’m not a teacher, and I’ve learnt what I know from trial and error, and probably YOU and your blog!


  1. THANK YOU for specifying a **good** zip! Have had distinctly **not good** ones & now pretty much don’t bother with them, even though that does sometimes limit me. 😉

    • I was so good it bust whilst I was making it and not after when I was out and about! I think concealed ones are the weakest ones, but take the most stress – might improve if I loose a few pounds!!

      • Very fortunate indeed in that timing!

        You might have hit the centre of my dislike! They’re really not nearly as sturdy, or invisible (on all fabrics). Or the zips I’ve used just weren’t very good! There’s always error on my part, too. Live & learn… or avoid! 🙂

  2. This is pretty much the method I use for invisible zips (including just going with a regular zipper foot), except I’ll hand baste the second side, and since I started doing that I have never had to unpick and try again… So completely jinxed zip insertion for myself there, haven’t I?!

    • I just maybe try and avoid short cuts…but I only sew a couple of inches in the crucial part which can soon be ripped out if they’re not quite right.
      I will say a prayer to the sewing gods to look favourably on you next time you’re inserting a zip, which will hopefully be sometime soon.
      Hope you and your Dad are ok xx

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