Sewing Zips the Easy Way

Donna Robb of Sewing Therapy answers every question about zipper work

Creativity 4 min read Nov 06, 2019

“Starting to sew a zip in can be terrifying,
until you learn how easy it is.”

Donna Robb should know. Her experience in sewing spans more than 25 years, after all. She has run her own bridal boutiques, taught for 12 years at Melbourne School of Fashion (now Fashionmasters), and even had a stint in Hollywood, working on projects like Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s “The Pacific” on HBO.

Today, she teaches classes from her private studio in Torquay, under her own brand called Sewing Therapy. In this article, Donna shares her expert tips on how to sew zips the hassle-free way!

There is something about inserting a zip that puts fear into even the most competent sewer.

Maybe it’s the thought of ruining the garment you have spent so many hours making. Or perhaps, it’s just the unpredictability of the outcome.

Many years ago while studying Fashion, my garment construction teacher told me, “Zips are not for the faint hearted.” I know now that she was wrong. Anyone can sew in a zip; you just need to learn a few tricks!

Attaching a zip is not meant to be complicated. It is very easy to sew in, if you know how to approach it correctly.

Here are some of my top tips to get a great result with your zip insertion.

When do I attach the zip?

Sew in the zip before constructing your garment or cushion. It’s just easier to work on while flat.

How can I avoid stretching?

Always fuse the seam allowance where the zip will be sewn in. This will keep common stretching problems from happening.

How long a zip should I use?

Always buy a zip longer than you need. It can be tricky dealing with the bulk at the top of the zip. The allowance in length eliminates this problem.

I sewed it in perfectly, before I realised the zip was broken. :-(

Always test the zip before sewing it into the garment! It’s heartbreaking to sew it in just to find out the teeth are faulty!

What’s the best way to pin a zip in place?

Actually, instead of using pins, I would instead suggest using double-sided quilters tape, to hold your zip in place. Tape is the secret to perfect zips every time!

Check out Donna’s upcoming classes here.

My friend and I came to this workshop with very basic sewing skills and understanding of sewing clothes and left with a much greater knowledge base and confidence in making our own clothes in our favourite fabrics. Thank you Donna, we will be back to enjoy your company and learn more wonderful things from you in the future. Cheers. - Di & Meagan

I may have walked away with a new skill, but I do know there is so much more to learn! I know I will be looking at my garments more closely before I buy them... I would do this class again in a heartbeat or any of Sewing Therapy's classes - Thank you so much for a great day Donna! See you again very soon. - Emily

I have been sewing since my 20s but probably rehearsing bad or sloppy habits. Donna provided a gentle entree into professional sewing and finishing; no longer does the garment look home-made which is exactly why I enrolled. I wasn't disappointed… I will certainly sign up for more. - Karen

From learning the fundamentals of needlework and making patterns from scratch to recreating a garment you love and stitching intricate embroidery, there’s a sewing class that’s perfect for you.

Find a sewing class in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Book a class today!

Learn to sew zips the hassle-free way!
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Sewing Zips the Easy Way in Torquay

Sewing Zips into Garments and Cushions