q How to sew a zipper on a bag: With zipper instructions

How to sew a zipper on a bag: Sewing in a zipper instructions

The question of how to sew a zipper on a bag is a challenge for many hobby sewers. But with the right zupper foot and a good understanding of the different types of zippers, this task is easy to master. In this article, you will learn about the different types of zippers, be inspired by the topic of how to sew a zippers on a bag and follow the zipper instructions step by step to learn how to sew in a zipper correctly as a beginner.

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1. Types of zippers
2. What to make with zippers
3. What does a zipper foot do?
4. Sewing in a zipper instructions

1. Types of zippers

Zippers are a basic accessory in the world of sewing and textile manufacturing. They are used to close openings in garments, bags, cushion covers and a variety of other products. There are different types of zippers, each suitable for specific sewing projects. In this chapter, you will learn what types of zippers there are, what to look out for when sewing in zippers correctly and which types are suitable for pocket sewing projects.

Divisible and non-divisible zippers

Separable zippers are characterized by the ability to separate both sides of the fastener. When sewing a separable zipper, it is important to carefully secure the ends of the zipper to prevent it from coming undone accidentally. Separable zippers are mainly used for garments that you want to open completely, such as jackets. They are therefore unsuitable for projects in which a zipper has to be sewn into a pocket.

🛍️ Order seperable zippers.

Non-divisible zippers, on the other hand, remain permanently connected at one point. This type of zipper is not only found on pants and bed linen, but also on bags. You can also use a standard zipper foot here. When inserting a non-divisible zipper, make sure that the teeth or spirals are aligned along the edge of the fabric to ensure smooth opening and closing.

🛍️ Order non-divisable zippers.

Zipper types according to length

Zippers are available in various lengths, either prefabricated or by the meter (endless zippers), which can be cut to size as required. It doesn’t matter which version you choose for your bag project, as long as your zipper is the right length for your project when sewing the zipper into the bag.

Prefabricated zippers are available in separable and non-separable versions and can be used with a standard zipper foot.

🛍️ Order non-divisable zippers.

Endless zippers are always non-separable and can be sewn in just like prefabricated zippers. However, after cutting, you must pull the slider onto your zipper yourself and make sure to sew the crossbar at the bottom end properly to stop the slider.

🛍️ Order endless zippers.

Pre-made zippers are best for beginners, as you don’t have to prepare them and you can simply get started right away!

Zippers by closure type

One-way and two-way closures offer different application options.

One-way zippers have only one slider and are used for most garments.

🛍️ Order one-way zippers.

Two-way zippers, on the other hand, have two sliders and are often found in longer jackets, coats and suitcases. They have the advantage that you can open your jacket from the bottom as well as from the top. This gives you more freedom of movement. As this is not relevant for bags, a one-way zipper is sufficient for your bag project.

🛍️ Order two-way zippers.

Different types of zippers

The choice of zipper type can influence the appearance and function of the zipper. For the task of learning how to sew a zipper on a bag, you can decide freely according to the intended use of your bag and your personal taste, as all types of tracks are suitable for bags in principle.

Spiral zippers

Spiral zippers
Spiral zippers

Spiral zippers are characterized by their spiral-shaped tape insides, which interlock when the slider is moved along the zipper. This type of zipper is very flexible and versatile. They are used in a wide range of garments and accessories. Spiral zippers can be available in plastic or metal versions and are the most common choice for bags.

Invisible zippers

Invisible zipper
Invisible zipper

Concealed zippers are spiral zippers that are designed to be almost invisible when sewn in. They are often used in dresses to achieve a seamless look. This type of zipper has a thinner track that almost disappears behind the fabric, making it ideal for fine fabrics.

🛍️ Order invisible zippers.

Cramp zippers

Cramp zippers
Cramp zippers

Cramp zippers have large plastic teeth that are attached directly to the fabric tapes. These teeth interlock with each other when the zipper is closed. Cramp zippers are eye-catching and are often used for decorative purposes. They are well suited for more robust applications, such as on outdoor clothing or bags.

Metal zippers
Metal zippers

Metal zippers have metal teeth that hook together by having small prongs at the pin ends. This type of zipper is particularly robust and durable and is therefore often used for jeans, bags or pants. Metal zippers are available in various alloys and can also be nickel-free to prevent allergies on contact with the skin. The metal gives the end product a high-quality and elegant appearance.

🛍️ Order metal zippers.

With this comprehensive understanding of the different types of zippers and their uses, you can now easily choose the right zipper for your bag.

Tip: Think about the purpose and look of your bag! It makes sense to choose the fabric first and then the matching zipper. If, for example, your sewing project is a bag made from old jeans with a zipper that you will use a lot every day, a metal zipper is the best choice.

Remember that using the right presser foot and sewing in carefully are crucial for a perfect result. You will learn more about sewing in a spiral zipper in the next chapters. However, if you have opted for a metal zipper, you can read the correct way to sew a zipper into a pocket in the blog article Sewing a zipper into jeans: How you can easily sew a zipper into jeans as a sewing beginner. For instructions on sewing a concealed zipper, take a look at the blog article Sewing invisible zippers: How you can easily sew in a zipper

What to make with zippers

Are you still unsure which zippers are suitable for which bags? Let this chapter inspire you with some examples of how you can combine which fabrics and zipper types for bags. You will see how the choice of zipper emphasizes the look of the bag and therefore the zipper is an important design element.

Cotton cosmetic bag with spiral zipper

Sew zipper in cosmetic bag
Cosmetic bag with spiral zipper

The all-rounder among zippers, the spiral zipper goes with almost any fabric and look. Especially for frequently used bags for everyday use, such as these flowered cotton cosmetic bags, it is both beautiful and functional, as spiral zippers are particularly flexible and soft.

Denim shoulder bag with metal zipper

Sew patchwork bag
Shoulder bag with metal zipper

Maybe you still have an old pair of jeans in your closet? How about a cool upcycling project for a patchwork denim shoulder bag like our patchwork bag pattern The Ava Bag? You also have the right zipper, because for your sewing project, sewing a bag from old jeans with a zipper, a 20 cm long non-divisible metal zipper is best suited. This is the classic for more robust fabrics such as denim, corduroy or cotton. The shine and color make every bag look more sophisticated and thanks to the durability of metal, you can be sure that your new bag will accompany you everywhere for a long time.

If you fancy more upcycling projects, take a look at the blog article on Scrap fabric sewing projects: What to make with fabric scraps

Nylon shoulder bag with staple zipper

Sewing in a zipper instructions
Shoulder bag with staple zipper

The staple zipper is perfect for utility-look bags made from materials such as polyester or nylon. The eye-catching, solid look of the large plastic teeth emphasizes the functionality of the bag. Cramp zippers are also the best choice for all types of outdoor bags.

Cotton bum bag with seam-concealed zipper

Sew fanny pack zipper
Waist bag with seam-concealed zipper

The most inconspicuous of the zippers, the concealed zipper, is best suited for pockets that should not be bulky. With this bum bag, the front pocket is barely noticeable thanks to the seam-covered zipper and therefore recedes into the background. So if you want to hide the opening of the bag, or if your bag is made of particularly delicate, flowing fabrics such as silk or satin, you should sew with this zipper.

What does a zipper foot do?

Zipper presser foot

A zipper foot is a special presser foot that has been specially developed to make zipper sewing easier. It is particularly suitable for inserting zippers in straight seams, as is often the case in bags. The zipper foot has a narrow central toe and can be flexibly moved to the right or left, depending on which side of the zipper is to be sewn in. The zipper is guided through the foot particularly close to the seam line and ensures a clean appearance.

The zipper foot is normally placed on the sewing machine by simply sliding it over the sewing arm and fastening it with the screw or click mechanism. Stitch thickness can vary depending on the material and project, but for sewing a zipper, a medium stitch length is often used that is tight enough to hold the zipper securely, but not too tight to damage the fabric.

Sewing in a zipper instructions

This chapter explains how to sew in zippers in a beginner-friendly way. Once you have selected the right zipper for your bag, we can start sewing the zipper. You will need your fabric, the zipper, a sewing machine with a zipper foot and suitable sewing thread.

Sewing in a zipper instructions

Step 1: Place the zipper in the middle of the pattern pieces where the zipper is to be inserted and mark the height of the first and last teeth.

Zipper instructions

Step 2: Lay the pattern pieces right sides together and sew from the outer edge to the marking.

Sewing in a zipper instructions

Step 3: Press the seam allowances open. On the open section, press the seam allowances over 1 cm to the wrong side of the fabric.

How to sew a zipper on a bag

Step 4: Pin the sewn parts onto the zipper so that the teeth are exactly in the opening. 1-2 mm of the zipper fabric should be visible. If you have a lining, place the assembled parts for the lining of the bag from the lower zipper side against it in the same way and pin all layers together.

Zipper instructions

Step 5: Insert the zipper foot, set the correct stitch length and slide the foot to the side on which you want to sew. Now sew the fabric layers and the zipper from the right side of the fabric. Sew 1-2mm away from the folded edge.

Congrats! You have now successfully sewn in your zipper. If you are a zipper sewing beginner and would like to see all the steps again in more detail, take a look at the bag sewing tutorial. You can find the zipper sewing instructions in the “Zipper” chapter.

With these simple steps and a little practice, you will sew your zipper in perfectly. Never lose the courage to try out new sewing techniques and improve your skills. So grab your sewing machine and let your creativity run wild!

Want more zipper patterns?


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