New Video Tutorials: Zipper Installation

October would not be complete if we didn’t post a tutorial on a technique that is “scary” to many quilters. This time, we’ve got two videos for you on…zippers! (Insert terrified scream here.)

Sue is our sewing pattern designer who can install zippers in her sleep–we jokingly call her the “bag lady” around the office because she’s designed so many bag patterns for us. Sue is a transplant from Down Under, via L.A., so in the videos you get to hear her delightful Aussie accent. I think all video tutorials should be voiced by Sue, don’t you? Anyway, when she was in L.A. she worked in Hollywood with a glamorous job as a costume maker. At the company Christmas party last year she regaled me with tales of which stars she’s met clothed and which ones she’s met in the buff…but, ahem, I’m getting a little off topic now!

So, zippers! Your basic zipper is pretty easy to install, but it’s those pesky lap and invisible zippers that can give us trouble. Sue makes it look easy, and now I have to pick up a roll of that Wonder Tape because I see why she prefers it to pinning! You can read about the different zipper types below, and click here to view the videos.

How to Install a Zipper: Invisible & Lap

by Sue Terpin

Installing a zipper is a piece of cake if you’re familiar with the methods involved. I want to take the mystery out of zippers by showing you two different types of zipper installations that often scare quilters: the lap zipper and the invisible zipper. First a little terminology:

Lap Zipper A lap zipper is when a zipper is installed with a flap of fabric covering the zipper. It is used often in everything from throw pillow covers to bags to garments. The zipper type used is a standard or “all-purpose zipper” available at any sewing supply store.

Invisible Zipper An invisible zipper is a zipper that is installed in the seam of two pieces of fabric in such a way that the zipper is recessed in the seam and “invisible”, as the name suggests. It is predominantly used for garments, especially skirts and dresses, but it can also be found in bags and home décor items. The zipper type used is a special “invisible zipper”, and they’re available in sewing supply stores right next to the all-purpose zippers.

Watch the videos here, or on our YouTube channel here.


  1. Stephanie - October 19, 2011

    Since I have zipper phobia I’ll be hoping to alleviate my fears — never really having had much zipper success in my life. :o) Maybe the Aussie accent will make it even easier.

  2. Heather Mentzer - November 13, 2011

    Very clear instruction, I’ve never before put in a zipper, it’s the one thing that I’d love to do and be comfortable with. Thanks!