How do I sew a regular zipper in concealed?

A sewing tutorial, but first some words about

the dress:

It’s my second Night and Day Dress by Charm Patterns!

photo: Front view - Night-and-Day-Dress

HERE you can find my review for this pattern!

photo: Front side view - Night-and-Day-Dress

I again used the yoke skirt, again without the smooth centre stripe, but with a completely gathered skirt. HERE you can find my detailed instructions to this pattern hack. (instructions incl. calculations)

photo: Back view - Night-and-Day-Dress

But this time it was supposed to be a pale dress and since this beautiful fabric has been waiting for a long time to be processed, I finally dared to use it ;-). I think it was a good decision, even though it creases a bit. It is a pure cotton fabric.

photo: rear side view - Night-and-Day-Dress

to the zipper:

What I would like to point out here in particular is that this is probably the neatest sewn-in zipper I have ever managed. It is almost invisible, although it is not a concealed zipper, but a regular one that is only sewn in concealed.

And this is how it works…

The instructions:

How do I sew a regular zipper in concealed?

Measure the length of the zipper on the dress, add about 2-3cm (0,8 – 1,2 inch) and place marks at both measuring points (at the centre back). The lower skirt seam, i.e. the part under the zipper, I have sewn first, because I used French seams for my skirt. (HERE you can finde a tutorial for French seams)
*If you work with normal seams, i.e. with serged seam allowances visible on the inside, you do not need to do this, as everything (i.e. sewing in the zipper and closing the lower skirt seam) can be done together.

So in my case I have already closed my lower skirt seam until about 2-3cm (0,8 – 1,2 inch) before the lower beginning of the zipper. The still open fabric edges above are serged.

Now lets start with the zipper:


At first pin the centre back right sides together (make sure that the waist and yoke seams match). Then sew the center back together. Starting at the neckline down to the first marker (= end of zipper), use a straight stitch at the largest stitch length setting (e.g. for gathering), do not secure (the thread of) this seam. Return to the “normal” stitch length, backstitch (secure) this now following seam, by sewing a few stitches back and forth at the beginning und the end of this seam and sew the last 2-3cm (0,8 – 1,2 inch) together. (*If you are sewing the skirt seams with a normal seam, do not only sew the 2-3cm after the zipper “normally”, but the entire lower skirt seam.)

Grafic: Graphic: centre back temporarily sewn together for the zipper

Press the seam, which has just been sewn, open, so that the seam allowances are to the right and left of this seam.

How do I sew a regular zipper in concealed?

Step 1:

The zipper is now placed on the wrong side of the fabric with the right side facing downwards to the centre of the seam allowances. The teeth/spirals of the zipper are placed on the seam itself. Pinned in place.

Grafic: Pin zipper to seam allowance

Now sew the zipper to the seam allowances only. This seam will not be visible from the outside.

Grafic: sew zipper to seam allowance

Step 2:

Turn the dress and sew on the zipper again from the outside, placing the seam close to the zipper. If you use a zipper foot on your sewing machine, it will easily guide you along the zipper still hidden under the fabric. The zipper slider may be in the way a little, you can place the seam a little further out at this point, or hand sew the top part (along the zipper slider). This is my preference. And I say that as someone who does everything, literally everything, to NOT have to sew anything by hand! BUT in the end it looks way neater and that’s more important to me.

Grafic: Sew on zipper from the outside

Step 3:

So the zipper is actually already sewn in… but everything is still “closed”?! This is exactly why we sewed this seam with an extra long stitch and without backstitching, because this seam is now going to be undone again and the zipper can be opened and closed normally, even though it is “almost” invisible due to this sewing method.

Grafic: unravel the temporary seam over zipper

And this is what a regular zipper looks like sewn in concealed!

photo: close-up of zipper sewn in concealed

And would you like to try this way of sewing in zippers?

I really like it because before I knew this method, I was always struggling with matching the cross seams at the center back and regularly had to undo the seam of my zipper to get them to line up. And let’s face it, having to undo seams on a zipper is a nightmare!