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How to Sew in an Exposed Zipper – Video

How to Sew an Exposed Zipper - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

There are a few different ways to work with zippers – this is one of the easiest.

Zippers aren’t hard at all, but they have a reputation for being tricky so I’m going to ease you into it.

This is NOT the technique you’d use for most garment sewing – that’s “hiding” a zipper behind a seam and you can find that video here.

This video is sewing a visible zipper and it’s great for craft applications like pouches, bags, pillows, etc. And, like I said, it’s easy peasy. So find your zipper foot and sew along!

Oh – and if you’re looking for the embroidery pattern for those monsters in the top image, you can find that here. And the free patterned for the zippered pouch they become is here.

Happy sewing!

That's me!


  1. I use your exact technique in making the pocket on the back of my Kindle covers. I leave more of the zipper tape showing by sewing on the other side of the zipper foot. I want more showing because I use bright coordinating zippers to accent the piece. I have a hard time sewing the lining, zipper, and front in one step, so I do it in two steps, but get the same result. Great tutorial, thanks.

  2. In the pattern for the Zippered Pouch I advise beginners to pin the zipper to the main fabric first, and then pin the lining fabric to the already-pinned part. It is hard sometimes to get all three lined up in one step – it’s easy for the zipper tape to slide around between the layers.

  3. I like that you show right from the start with putting on the foot. Can you show how to do a rolled hem with the Pfaff rolled hem foot? 😉 I have it, and I can’t even figure out where the thread goes around the foot–I feel so stupid, but it doesn’t have a center opening like my normal foot. It’s frustrating to feel so dim.

    I haven’t tried zippers yet but I see no reason not to. Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. Amy – I don’t even know if I have a rolled hem foot. I have a lot of extra feet I never use and on the rare occasion when I’ve done a rolled hem I’ve wrestled with my serger to do it. Maybe it would be easier on my regular sewing machine? I’ll give it a try and report back.

    And do try zippers! I avoided them (and buttonholes) for a long time because I was intimidated by them. Buttonholes are still kind of a pain in the butt – but zippers are way easy.

  5. Ha. I’ve avoided buttonholes thus far too! I got my machine about a month before I had a baby so I never did go back for the lessons on using the other feet (go figure!) and now the baby is 2 1/2 so it’s high time I figured this stuff out!

  6. Great tutorial on zippers, Wendy! I usually use a much longer zipper and let it hang off each end of the pencil case when I sew it in, and only use nylon or polyester zippers, so when I sew my ends together I just sew right through the zipper (or run it through the serger!) and cut the long ends of the zipper off.
    I’d like to see a close-up example of how your metal zipper finishes when you sew the ends of your pouch together!!

  7. Anonymous SAYS...

    So I followed your instructions and my zipper (with lining) came out great. My problem was once I tried to sew the outer pieces and lining pieces together make my bag. The zipper turned out really weird on the sides. Do you think you can do a video for that part? I just started teaching myself to sew and I find your videos so helpful!

  8. AWESOME! you instructions are always so clear. I got brave and after sewing for several years I tried a zipper – so much easier than I feared! Your tip about moving the pull out of the way seems really obvious to me now, but I hadn’t thought of it until seeing your video. Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise!

  9. Thanks! I’ve got a new video coming soon showing how to put a zipper in a seam and NOT have it exposed – a more standard clothing zipper. I’ve recorded the video, but still need to edit and upload. It will probably be up some time this week.

  10. When I was a little girl, we always wore dresses to school in those days. I mother always made my dresses UNTIL I got old enough that it required zippers. Then she stopped! 🙂

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Too funny! 🙂