How to Put a Zipper in a Dress

    by Deborah H. Schreiben

    About the Author

    Deborah H. Schreiben is a freelance writer and an editor with more than 15 years experience in the field of journalism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Almeda University. Her writing has appeared on various online sites and in Midwest newspapers.


    Putting a zipper into a dress requires a bit of precision for the dress to look good and for the zipper to operate smoothly. The zipper must be centered over the seam of the dress and the stitching evenly spaced on both sides. Taking a little extra time prevents zipper bulges or pulls that snag on stitches too close to the teeth.

    Things You'll Need

    • Seam ripper (optional)
    • Zipper
    • Hook and eye closure (optional)
    • Iron
    • Straight pins
    • Hand sewing needle
    • Sewing machine with zipper foot

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    Remove the old zipper, if you are replacing an broken or worn one, using a seam ripper to avoid tearing the dress fabric.

    Iron the seam allowances back toward the wrong side of the garment before basting the seam closed, using long running stitches.

    Open the zipper. With the inside (wrong side) of the dress facing you, lay the left side of the zipper face down over the seam, with the top of the zipper at the top of the opening and the teeth centered at the closed seam. Pin the zipper in place.

    Use a hand needle and thread, to baste the zipper in place with long running stitches. Remove the pins. Repeat for the right side of the zipper.

    Put a zipper foot on your sewing machine. A zipper foot is narrow to allow you to sew close to the zipper's teeth on both sides and past the zipper tab.

    Turn the dress over so that you are looking at the outside of the dress. Sew down one side, as close to the teeth and seam edge as you can, and stop with the needle down through the fabric. Turn the fabric and sew across the bottom of the zipper. Backstitch to secure the stitching and cut the thread.

    Place the top of the zipper, on the unstitched side, under the presser foot and stitch down the side, again staying as close to the seam edge as possible. Stitching both sides in the same direction helps prevent puckering.

    Remove all of the basting stitches with a seam ripper.

    Fold the neckline facing over the top of the zipper and stitch it in place. If you prefer, add a hook and eye to each side of the neckline to hold the top together.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images