Basics + Techniques | Sewing

Sewing Machine Feet: The Zipper Foot

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Inside: 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.

How to Use a Zipper Foot

The Zipper Foot

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.

bottom of zipper foot

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

tape zipper
sewing 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

Another type of Zipper Foot

 source

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.

sew 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 with guide

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

demo guided Zipper Foot

Getting over Zipper Foot Fear

I conquered zipper foot fear many years ago. My method was simple. I 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.

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


Click this link to learn about other sewing machine feet!


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