Sewing Machine Feet:: The Zipper Foot

Do you own a zipper foot? If so, do you know where your zipper foot is? I think zippers and the humble zipper foot get some really bad press.  In fact, I never hear sewists extolling the virtues of putting in a zipper.

The real secret to inserting a zipper is found in the zipper foot and today I’m going to change your mind about zippers and the zipper foot.

Zipper Foot Uses

Zipper Foot Styles

All zipper feet have one thing in common – notches on either side of the foot that allow the needle to get as close as possible to the edge of a project.

My particular foot is designed for a Bernina sewing machine which allows me to adjust the needle’s position.  I click a button and the needle moves to the right or left of the notches. Adjustable needle positions are common on newer machines.

Zipper Foot Ideas

Basically, the zipper foot prevents you from sewing into the zipper teeth.  If you’ve ever tried putting in a zipper with an All Purpose Foot, you will know what I’m talking about. {Some of us have to learn the hard way}

How to Insert a Zipper

Installing a Zipper

If your sewing machine won’t let you change needle positions, there is another style of zipper foot that works.  It has a slider on the back that allows you to change the foot’s position.  Loosen the screw to adjust the slider and position of the foot in relation to the needle.  Align the foot with the zipper.  Don’t forget to re-tighten the screw once you’ve adjusted the foot’s position.  {#learnedthehardway}

adjustable zipper foot


A zipper foot is standard equipment for all sewing machines. If you were given {or purchased} a used machine and it did not come with a zipper foot, it should be easy to find one that matches your particular machine.  Check your manufacturer’s online site for local dealers.  They should be able to get you a zipper foot that fits your machine.

What else can a zipper foot do?

A zipper foot is all about putting in a zipper, but it has other uses too. It allows you to sew very close to the edge of fabric.  Perfect when adding piping to a pillow.

Adding Piping with a Zipper Foot

Bernina also makes a zipper foot that has a guide.  I prefer this foot when I do a standard zipper installation.

Zipper Foot Uses

The guide sits in (or over) the zipper teeth and allows me to adjust the exact position of the needle in relation to the stitching. Zippers tend to go in really well when I use this foot.

The guide bar is really designed to fit over the zipper teeth, and this makes it easy to get in very close. I’ve tried both ways, and I prefer to have the guide run over the closed zipper teeth.  It’s up to the sewist to choose which way works best.

As with most sewing machine feet, this foot has more than one use.  It can also be used for putting in pin tucks, but I’ve never tried this technique ~ I’ve only seen it demonstrated.  Hmm.  Possible future project for my soon-to-be-born granddaughter.

How to insert a zipper

Getting over Zipper Foot Fear

I conquered zipper foot fear many years ago. My method was simple.  I had happened upon a bin of discontinued zippers {I think it was at Cloth World ~ which totally dates me}.  They were $.25 and $.50 and in hideous outdated colors.  I think I spent $5.00 and went home with a handful of zippers.

Then, I practiced putting in zippers until it became second nature. Zipper foot fear conquered.

Link to Series:  All About Sewing Machine Feet here.  Scroll to bottom to see list of all classes.

If you want to learn how to insert a zipper, Craftsy has a FREE Class that you can access anytime.  (<– Craftsy Affiliate)

Check out these different zipper feet to find one that matches your machine here.


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  1. says

    Dear Leslie I would like to know why you like your Bernina sewing machine. Im thinking of buying a new sewing machine. I have a Husqvarna that was given to me it’s great and a Jamone that I have had for 15 years. I bought a Baby Lock serger two years ago. I would like to give my Jamone to one of my granddaughters. Thank-You Denise.

    • Leslie says

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. I love Bernina for many reasons. As a company, they are family owned. No shareholders. They answer to us ~ the sewists who use their machines. And, they listen. Also, if you’ve ever sewn on a Bernina, you will notice how powerful it is. That needles keeps going up and down, up and down. Never quitting.

  2. says

    My favorite zippers are invisible zippers! My Bernina invisible zipper foot was quite expensive but it was worth every penny. There are no topstitching lines that show. I used to do only centered zippers. Then I thought that lapped zippers were soooo much better. Now all I do are invisible zippers.

    • Leslie says

      Funny you should mention invisible zippers. I will be working on that post today. I wanted to separate the two because they are so different.

  3. says

    This is so helpful. I have yet to watch my sewing machine DVD, lol. Pinning your post. I need to make a new pin board about sewing tips! Stay cool and stop by:)

  4. says

    Visiting from Best of the weekend link party. I’m just discovering the versatility of a zipper foot and your tips are really helpful, thank you! I’ll be using that foot more often. Sharon

  5. says

    I have wanted to learn to sew for a while. Now when I finally get to it, I will know what a zipper foot is! Pinned it! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us at One Sharendipity Place this weekend!!

  6. Nanci says

    I am a seasoned sewing since I was a kid many moons ago. I absolutely hate the zipper foot that came with my Janome. It doesn’t let me get close enough to sew piping like my old zipper foot with my 1970 high school graduation gift sewing machine! lol I hate to buy a whole new machine because of the zipper foot. May have to though!

  7. Sparkling74 says

    I love my Bernina! I have a zipper foot but not with a guide. That’s a genius idea! I used to do zippers really well and then I got out of the habit and now I worry! Like your scotch tape method!

  8. says

    I’m new to sewing and absolutely love using zippers! It took me a while to get the hang of using my zipper foot but now that I know how, sewing is a breeze.

    Coming over from the Think Pink Sunday’s link party at Flamingo Toes!

  9. says

    Wow, another blogger who shares my interests but isn’t my daughter’s age!! I made Barbie dresses, too!! And as my kids grew, I made clothes for stuffed animals and puppets. A kid with autism does really well with puppets. Anyway, was that scotch tape you were using on your zipper? Sure would end the problem of bending needles by forgetting to remove pins (don’t ask me how I know that). My daughter doesn’t share her mom’s interest; in the mandatory class that was called homemaking for me, she broke every sewing machine the class had, the teacher eventually banned her from their use, lol.

    • Leslie says

      Janet, Thank you for your comments. Yes, that is scotch tape. Like you, I’ve bent my fair share of pins making zippers. Maybe the sewing gene skips a generation.

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